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New Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud

As pointed out by Todd on the mailing list during what should probably be known henceforth as "The Interregnum", the ECS is an Amazon service consisting of virtual servers, running any image that can run on Xen (yes, it's Linux-based -- I posted in the Software forum because you can actually run a Windows image based on QEMU and Fedora).

Amazon provides tools to create and modify the images. Images are uploaded to Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) and activated via an API.

What's cool:
  • Unlimited computing - start as many images as you like.
  • Pay-by-the-hour pricing (also pay-by-bandwidth and pay-by-GB S3 storage).
  • Create custom images; do what you like. It's your virtual box.

What's not so cool:
  • Complexity. You have to configure the images on the fly after you start them.
  • Not so inexpensive as you may think. The equivalent in bandwidth/hours/etc. to my $50/month colo is over $200/mo.
  • Images are weird to build and not so well documented.
  • Everything is dynamic DNS only. Either you use something like dyndns.org to manage the host names or you write your own service. You still need to have a static central server to serve as a launch point from a real domain name.
  • It's still beta, and therefore an unknown quantity. It's not really useful for basing anything serious on yet.

What uses can you think of?

-scott anderson

"Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson..."
New We're planning to move our entire infrastructure to it
It's expected to be out of beta by summer, and the dynamic IP issue is one that's expected to be solved by the time it's rolled out as production worthy. Our CTO is doing work on a file system and manager to deal with much of what's missing to make it truly useful (like configuring instances on the fly..) - and is part of the Amazon Developer's circle complete with an NDA to our company, so I don't know how much I can share. I'll post links to the stuff I know is public a bit later.

The cost of upgrading our aging infrastructure vs EC2/S3 is making it look *really* attractive when you consider we have 3 racks full at a colo here in Denver - which are on 24/7. We figure based on load tracking that we're doing that we'll end up with as little as 3 instances running and can expand infinitely to meet demand.

New Explains alot to me.
Now I understand the whole reasoning.

E-mail me please.
[link|http://www.iwethey.org/ed_curry|REMEMBER ED CURRY!] @ iwethey
Freedom is not FREE.
Yeah, but 10s of Trillions of US Dollars?
SELECT * FROM scog WHERE ethics > 0;

0 rows returned.
New That's good to know about the dynamic IP
How long have you been looking at it?

-scott anderson

"Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson..."
New Uses
EC2 pays off most when usage patterns vary widely. Animation render farms is a good case. Do no rendering today, fire up 100 computers tomorrow to knock off a few scenes.

I'm still waiting for the massively parallel key cracking kit to show up. Need to crack a key fast? Fire up 500 computers for an hour.

Also good for on-demand overload. If you've written a custom load balancer (like I'm doing via mod_rewrite script), you can fob off unexpected load to some EC2 machines on the fly. Useful if you run a site that occasionally gets slashdotted/dugg/reddited.

[link|http://www.blackbagops.net|Black Bag Operations Log]

[link|http://www.objectiveclips.com|Artificial Intelligence]

New Re: Uses
The load balancing bit is immediately useful only if you don't have a central data store and a very dynamic site, I think. Otherwise you have to do some fancy footwork to get a distributed application.

I'd like to see some images other than Fedora actually supported by Amazon. There are a good number of 3rd party images, yes, but of unknown quality and provenance.

-scott anderson

"Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson..."
     Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud - (admin) - (5)
         We're planning to move our entire infrastructure to it - (Steve Lowe) - (2)
             Explains alot to me. - (folkert)
             That's good to know about the dynamic IP - (admin)
         Uses - (tuberculosis) - (1)
             Re: Uses - (admin)

I've spent an unreasonable amount of thought on the line Janet sings in Rocky Horror: "His lust is so sincere". Now, on the surface, that's a big "DUH!" because that's the nature of lust. But wait: Brad has earlier sung about how hot he is for her, and it's pretty clear he's just being conventional. Brad's lust is not sincere.

Now, I could swill green mead and gnaw raw meat with sincere lust. As for kimchee and lutefisk, well, those would be just for effect. And if I'm just going for effect, I might as well wear a tie. And pants.

-- mhuber
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