Amazon EC2

19Sep07

The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) web service provides you with the ability to execute your applications in Amazon’s computing environment.

Although there is no provision for SLA which might be required by big wings, it’s a good service model for computing. Use what you want and pay for it, not more not less. No email and applications to get a server, you want one now, go and provision it and start using it, it’s that simple. Small and big companies can both use this service and reduce a lot of in-house maintenance cost, not in some cases where in you want more control ;).

For using Amazon EC2 one will need to do the following:
1. Create an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) containing all your software, including our operating system and associated configuration settings, applications, libraries, etc. Think of this as zipping up the contents of your hard drive. Amazon provides all the necessary tools to create and package the AMI.
2. Upload this AMI to the Amazon S3 (Amazon Simple Storage Service) service. This gives Amazon reliable, secure access to our AMI.
3. Register our AMI with Amazon EC2. This allows Amazon to verify that your AMI has been uploaded correctly and to allocate a unique identifier for it.
4. Use this AMI ID and the Amazon EC2 web service APIs to run, monitor, and terminate as many instances of this AMI as required. Currently, Amazon provides command line tools and Java libraries, and we can directly access our SOAP or Query based APIs.
One can also skip the first three steps and choose to launch an AMI that is provided by Amazon or shared by another user.

Once the above is done one have an AMI ID that the user can use to start server instances. For better management user will need to write various utilities for keeping information on the DNS for our server instances, so that user can connect to them. To check the status, say that the instance goes down due to some reason and comes back up the DNS for the server instance will change, user need to know the new one to access the server instance.If the DNS changes then all the utilities transferring data to the server instance have to be notified to start sending the data to the new address. Also as the data is not persistence on the server across reboots, if it restarts user will need to develop a mechanism to some how restore data on the server for processing. Amazon again provides a solution by providing Amazon S3 where one can store data persistently and accessing it from anywhere.

Here are some links for more information:

Getting started

Amazon EC2

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One Response to “Amazon EC2”

  1. You could make life a lot easier by going to FlexiScale instead. It’s got loads of features Amazon aren’t even considering offering – like static IP, supporting MS Windows, SLAs … the list’s too long to mention. It’s being launched at FOWA next week.


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