AWS services are NOT cheap at all when compared to running dedicated servers. With a little bit of load balancing, you can have a much faster, more reliable, cluster for a fraction of the price. Currently, I rent quad core machines for about $60 a month. That works out to $0.08 / hour. AWS charges $0.56 for a comparable speed service. It's not just that they can lower prices, they have to to compete with the real world.