- If you are familiar with Linux, it is as easy as configuring any other web server from scratch.
- Maintenance is significantly less. AWS is a managed solution; you look after your software and data, they look after the infrastructure and data centre.
- EC2 processing speed is as they promise, and is burstable. You can choose how much CPU you want access to. Latency is very good; you take advantage of a very well peered network. Extra services such as cloudfront can significantly reduce the latency for your visitors.
- With regards to reliability, we have been using it for nearly a year in mission critical applications and have had no issues; compared with other services we have used before, this is the most reliable. You can set up your use of AWS in such a way that it fails over between data centres, so that even a data-centre wide outage would not affect your application.
Compared with all other services, AWS is easily the most advanced cloud computing environment available.
I cannot compare it with Rackspace, but for non-highend applications, it may simply be a matter of preference.
AWS has a free tier which I encourage you to try if you are curious.