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Ably vs AWS IoT

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Why it matters?
Value
Simple usage based pricing Limited  

Ably's pricing is simple and transparent. You pay for the messages, peak active channels and peak connections you use for the month regardless of where your customers are geographically. You can either pay for what you've used at the end of the month, or reserve capacity in advance each month and benefit from a discount.

Whilst AWS provides transparent pricing, understanding clearly what you may pay with Amazon IoT is complex given the factors that affect pricing including total connection time split between devices, message quantities, Device Shadow and Registry.

See Ably's pricing calculator
Pricing that incentivizes you to grow Limited  

Our cost per message and connection goes down as you use more - customers benefit from the economies of scale and paying for what they use. See Ably's pricing calculator.

AWS IoT also offers discounts for greater use, but only at huge scales. Their first price drop starts at 1 billion messages, and no other metrics such as connection time receive discounts.

Estimate how much you'll pay once you grow
Add-ons included at no cost  

Ably’s platform provides considerably more functionality than simple notifications. All users get access to pub/sub over a persistent multiplexed connection, message history, presence, token authentication etc.

Amazon IoT charges for add-ons such as Device Shadow and Registry, along with Rules Engine.

See the features including in our packages
Performance
Global datacenters locations 14 11 geographic regions

As we have datacenters globally, we can ensure that your users always experience the lowest possible latency by connecting to the closest datacenter, and have complete availability by connecting to alternative healthy datacenters when necessary.

Amazon IoT benefits from Amazon’s global datacenter operations which includes 11 geographic regions.

Find out more about Ably's datacenters
Latency based routing Limited

Our latency based routing ensures that users anywhere in the world connect to one of the 14 closest Ably datacenters available to them.

Amazon IoT is offered on a per region basis and is not offered as a global cluster. Therefore latency based routing does not apply.

Find out more about Ably's latency based DNS
Binary encoded messages

Encoding messages in binary format is faster. It reduces bandwidth to send and receive messages, and streamlines the processing time for clients and servers when encoding and decoding messages.

AWS IoT does not support binary encoded messages, although MQTT itself is a binary protocol.

Find out more about our binary protocol
Redundancy and Reliability
Mesh architecture / no central point of failure / self-healing cluster Limited

The Ably platform is designed with no single point of failure and to be self-healing. All our customers benefit from their apps running on all of our datacenters providing resilience, reliability and low latencies globally.

Amazon IoT stores all topic and message information across Amazon’s network of infrastructure in the chosen region. Whilst it is likely that within that region the IoT platform runs with a mesh-like architecture, a single point of failure exists for that region.

Find out more about Ably's mesh architecture
Autonomous datacenters

Ably's servers are located in over 14 datacenters covering 5 continents with each datacenter designed to operate as part of the global cluster when available, but operate autonomously when necessary.

Amazon’s IoT service operates in multiple availability zones in each region.

Find out where Ably's servers are located
Data replicated in multiple regions

Ably stores every message in at least 2 datacenters and separate geographical regions. This ensures that an outage in any datacenter or region cannot result in data loss.

Amazon IoT stores at least 3 copies of the data across multiple availability zones but these will all be within one geographical area. Ably ensure data is replicated across 2 distinct geographical regions thus an outage in an entire region would not put your operations at risk.

Find out about Ably's QoS and message delivery guarantee
QoS & message delivery guarantee Partial

Ably provides guaranteed message delivery and continuity across disconnections. Publishers only receive an ACK when data is persisted in two locations, and subscribers never lose data during brief disconnections as we maintain connection state for each client on our servers.

On the delivery end, Amazon IoT implements a 4-phase retry policy in order to deliver messages when the subscribing endpoint is not available. However, as message publishing is performed over HTTP 1.1, it is impossible to guarantee a message won’t be delivered more than once if the initial publish request is terminated abruptly.

Find out about Ably's message delivery guarantee
100% uptime guarantee

Ably uniquely offers a 100% uptime guarantee to all Business and Enterprise customers. We stand by our 100% uptime promise - if we are unable to meet that goal, we offer refunds.

Amazon IoT does not offer a specific SLA thus if the service goes down / fails then you are entitled to no refunds. Ably are proud of their 100% uptime guarantee and support this for all Business and Enterprise customers.

Find out about Ably's 100% uptime guarantee
Features
Message and worker queues

Data published into Ably's realtime system can be moved into traditional message queues for realtime or batch processing.

Amazon IoT integrates with Amazon SQS (Simple Queue Service) in order to offer traditional message queue functionality.

Find out more about Reactor Queues
WebHooks

Ably's WebHooks provide a means to get messages, channel lifecycle and present events pushed to your servers over HTTP.

Amazon IoT also supports WebHooks.

Find out more about WebHooks
Serverless cloud function invocation Partial

Ably can trigger serverless functions on any third party platforms such as Amazon Lambda, Microsoft Azure or Google Function.

Amazon IoT only offers serverless cloud functions on their Amazon Lambda platform thus reducing the options available to you. Ably is able to integrate across all serverless functions thus utilising the platform that is most suited to your business.

Find out more about Reactor Functions
Presence

Presence allows you to subscribe to events when users or devices enter or leave channels. This is a useful feature for collaborative apps, games and chat rooms.

Amazon IoT allows you to use lifecycle events to keep track of specific devices. However, there is built-in no feature to register a number of devices / clients’ presence on a single channel.

Find out more about Presence
Message history

Ably's message history feature provides a means for clients or servers to retrieve messages that were previously published on a channel.

Amazon IoT does not support message history. Only the latest device shadow can be accessed.

Find out more about our History API
Realtime data firehose Limited

Stream your realtime data published within the Ably platform directly to another streaming or queueing service such as Amazon Kinesis, Apache Storm or Kafka.

Amazon IoT also allows you to send data directly to their own streaming and queueing services, but not other third party services such as Kafka or AMQP.

Find out more about our Reactor Firehose
Reliable message ordering

Ably ensures that messages are delivered to persistently connected subscribers in the order they were published on each channel.

Amazon IoT does not provide this feature and states “There is no guarantee that messages from the AWS IoT service will arrive at the device in any specific order.”

Find out more about reliable ordering
Push notifications

Ably can offer push notifications, as can Amazon IoT through Amazon SNS.

Find out more about Push Notifications
Custom domain endpoint (CNAME)

Ably supports custom domains for our Enterprise customers allowing them to connect to Ably using a CNAME such as "realtime.your-company.com".

Find out more about our custom domains
Client libraries and protocol support
Native client libraries for every popular platform

Ably offer a considerable range of client libraries for every popular platform.

View our client library SDKs
Ably protocol support

Ably's realtime protocol provides an efficient means to reliably and efficiently publish and subscribe to realtime data.

aws-iot supports their own protocol.

See which libraries natively support the Ably protocol
MQTT protocol support

The Ably platform is designed to be protocol-agnostic and ensure protocol interoperability. As the primary protocol used for AWS is MQTT, Ably does support the AWS IoT protocol.

/adapters
Embedded devices

Using our protocol adapters, our customers can use a large selection of compatible embedded client libraries for low energy and other embedded devices. Additionally, Ably supports MQTT enabling a wide range of embedded client library SDKs to be used.

/adapters
White-label browser library

Ably can provide a white-labelled browser Javascript library with a namespace of your choosing and no reference to Ably in the code.

Find out about our white-label libraries
Connectivity
Continuity and connection state recovery Partial

Ably provides continuity for clients that become disconnected for reasons such as going through a tunnel or changing networks. Ably stores the connection state for each client on its servers so that clients that reconnect within two minutes can resume their connection and receive all messages published whilst they were disconnected.

AWS IoT will allow for a client to reconnect following an abrupt disconnect, but will not receive all missed messages.

Find out more about connection state recovery
1st class WebSocket support

WebSockets are widely regarded as the most efficient HTTP compatible transport for full duplex realtime communication between devices.

Amazon IoT provides support for WebSockets with MQTT.

View our supported transports
Fallback to Comet (XHR) and Long Polling for older browsers Limited

Whilst most modern devices support WebSockets, there are situations where the device or the network environment requires use of HTTP transports.

AWS IoT does support HTTP, however a typical MQTT client library, which is commonly used with AWS IoT, will not automatically support fallbacks.

View our supported transports
Security
TLS connection

Ably and Amazon IoT offer TLS connections ensuring that all data in transit is encrypted.

Find out more about SSL/TLS
Token based authentication

Token based authentication ensures your private key is never shared and instead a short-lived token is used to authenticate.

Ably allows configurable policies and an identity to be embedded in a token ensuring you have complete control over what actions your users can perform such as limiting which channels they can subscribe or publish to.

Amazon offers numerous authentication policies.

Find out more about Ably's authentication
JSON Web Token support

Using JWT allows for easy integration with your existing authentication systems, along with ensuring your private key is never shared.

Ably allows for not only Ably Tokens to be embedded within JWTs, but also for JWTs to be signed by Ably API keys and used themselves for authentication.

AWS IoT also supports JWT.

Find out more about using JWT with Ably
Configurable private key permissions

Ably and Amazon IoT provides support for private API keys with configurable permissions including restrictions on channels or operations.

Find out more about API keys
Configurable channel permissions

Ably provides channel rules providing you with the flexibility to maintain control of your channels, such as requiring SSL/TLS or only identified authenticated clients on a channel.

With Amazon IoT you can personalize rules on Topics.

Find out more about channel rules
Encrypted message payloads

Ably's AES encryption allows messages to be encrypted using the provided private key before they are published to Ably. As a result, messages are practically impossible intercept and view for anyone including Ably. For very sensitive data, this ensures you can safely use us knowing your payloads are always secure and opaque.

Amazon IoT also supports AES.

Find out more about Ably's encryption

* All information regarding our competitors was obtained on or before May 2018. It is therefore possible that some of this information may now be out of date. If you believe that any of this information is incorrect, please get in touch with us so that we can correct it immediately.

Migrating to Ably

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    We're happy to offer technical assistance from our engineering team to customers moving across from AWS IoT.

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