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Ably vs AWS SNS

Let us help you discover why Ably is clearly the better choice.

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Why it matters?
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 SNS is complex given the factors that affect pricing including notification delivery type, the amount of data transferred and the region you are using.

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

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.

Amazon SNS also offer discounts for greater use but the complex pricing strategy presents an immediate barrier for comparison.

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

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 SNS is designed only to deliver notifications and does not offer a rich feature set of add-ons as part of that SNS product. AWS does of course a large suite of other products that may or may not integrate with SNS.

See the features including in our packages
Global datacenters locations 16 16 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 SNS benefits from Amazon’s global datacenter operations which includes 16 geographic regions compiled of 44 availability zones.

Find out more about Ably's datacenters
Latency based routing

Our latency based routing ensures that users anywhere in the world connect through one of our 180 edge acceleration PoPs to one of our 16 Ably datacenters. deepstreamHub do not offer this as all traffic is directed to a single datacenter location.

Amazon SNS is offered on a per region basis and is not offered as a global cluster. As such, customers have to decide in advance where the bulk of their customers are and select their closest datacenter.

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.

Amazon SNS does not support binary encoded messages.

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

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 SNS stores all topic and message information across Amazon’s network of infrastructure. However, as you have to decide which region your service will reside in, their service is susceptible to regional failures and is likely to not offer any form of global replication or mesh service.

Find out more about Ably's mesh architecture
Autonomous datacenters Partial

Ably's servers are located in 16 datacenters covering 4 continents with each datacenter designed to operate as part of the global cluster when available, but operate autonomously when necessary.

Amazon’s SNS service operates in multiple availability zones in each region. So whilst each datacenter (availability zone) is autonomous, given customers have to choose which region their SNS service will reside, the service is not autonomous from a global standpoint and susceptible to regional outages.

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 SNS stores at least 3 copies of the data across multiple availability zones but these are all within one geographical area. Ably ensures 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 SNS 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 SNS 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 Business and Enterprise customers.

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

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

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

Find out more about Reactor Queues

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

Amazon SNS also supports WebHooks.

Find out more about WebHooks
Serverless cloud function invocation Limited

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

Amazon SNS only offer serverless cloud functions on their Amazon Lambda platform thus reducing the options available to you. Ably are able to integrate across all server-less functions thus utilising the platform that is most suited to your business. Additionally, SNS cannot trigger AWS Lambda functions. Kinesis or SQS must be used instead to trigger Lambda functions.

Find out more about Reactor Functions

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 SNS do not support presence features.

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 SNS do not support message history.

Find out more about our History API
Realtime data firehose Partial

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 SNS is intended to be a notification service only. AWS does however offer a separate suite of firehose products like AWS Kinesis, however SNS does not stream data into Kinesis.

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.

AWS SNS does not guarantee reliable message ordering.

Find out more about reliable ordering
Push notifications

Ably and Amazon SNS offer push notifications.

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 "".

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
Embedded devices Partial

Using our protocol adapters, our customers can use a large selection of compatible embedded client libraries for low energy and other embedded devices.

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.

Amazon SNS, as far as we know, does not support white-label libraries.

Find out about our white-label libraries
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.

Clients do not connect and subscribe to Amazon SNS for messages. Amazon SNS always pushes messages or data to devices or endpoints. As such, continuity and connection state recovery is not applicable to Amazon SNS.

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 SNS is not a realtime platform designed for pub/sub and thus a persistent connection is not needed.

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

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

Amazon SNS is not a realtime platform designed for pub/sub and thus fallbacks for a persistent connection are not needed.

View our supported transports
TLS connection

Ably and Amazon SNS 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
Configurable private key permissions

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

Find out more about API keys
Configurable channel permissions N/A

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.

As Amazon SNS is not a pub/sub platform and channels are not used, this does not apply.

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 SNS 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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  • Technical migration assistance

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

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