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Programming IT Technology

Amazon EC2 Open To All 64

Posted by kdawson
from the seeding-the-clouds dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Amazon just announced that the beta program for their EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) service is now open to all developers. They have also added new instance types. It appears that you can now get the equivalent of an 8-core machine. Is cloud computing for the masses finally here?"
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Amazon EC2 Open To All

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  • I dunno, what is it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by decipher_saint (72686)
      Marketing lingo for Web Service hosting...
      • by Achoi77 (669484)
        sure, you could use it as that, if you are willing to be $72/mo to have it constantly running.
        • by NickCatal (865805)
          It isn't made to have it constantly running. Best example is if I need to convert 300 video files to .flv files for display on a website. I just load up an image on my EC2 nodes that has FFMPEG on it (with the flv addon) and press go and it will make say 30 nodes to handle 100 each, or 100 nodes to handle 3 each, depending on how fast you want it done (in theory you could have 300 nodes each doing one.) Once your workload is done, everything is written back to your amazon storage account and the node shuts
    • by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @02:53PM (#20999887) Journal
      EC2 allows you to bring up in seconds 10 or 10,000 Xen instances or Virtual Machines of practically any LINUX type (Xen instances).

      Don't compare it to a hosting service where you pay for the month. With this you could script your web site to automatically start up instances on EC2 as demand increased, doing load balancing for example and then as the demand went down you could automatically shut down virtual machines.

      The cool part of this service (and there are competitors) is the ability to bring up VM's on demand for whatever either automated or manually.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Well just to clarify, as a user of the EC2 service for a while, you do not have unlimited access to starting instances. The maximum number you can have running at the same time would actually be under less than 100 to start, I think default may be around 20. Though you can get it raised, it takes special circumstances. In terms of starting instances, when starting up many at once, let's say greater than 30, you will be looking at around 10 minutes to get the majority up, and probably 15 for all of them to b
        • by Freexe (717562)
          That's still a damn sight faster than ordering 30 servers from Dell or Rackspace. We are looking to running them as backup servers in case our main machines come under too much load or break.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Danathar (267989)
          Yea, I should of said "theoretically" as it's obvious that Amazon does not have an unlimited amount CPU's. I'm surprised google did not come up with something like this first.
      • Are their any competitors that you'd recomend?

        -Jason
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by QuickFox (311231)

          Are their any competitors that you'd recomend?
          Sorry to be a pedant but I think you meant "Our their any competitors".
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Jaxoreth (208176)

        With this you could script your web site to automatically start up instances on EC2
        That's awesome. You can handle a Web request by booting Linux on EC2 and running Apache.

        Though it would probably be more efficient to just use a CGI kernel module.
      • by Shag (3737)

        The cool part of this service (and there are competitors) is the ability to bring up VM's on demand for whatever either automated or manually.
        Cool! This is perfect for that botnet I've been meaning to build... ;)
        • by Danathar (267989)
          Factoring out the MORAL issues with using it for such a use, just remember you STILL pay 10cents per CPU per hour and still pay the Amazon S3 storage and transfer rates.

          So that botnet could get quite expensive (and if you are an Evil Black hat, why bother? There are a million unpatched windows systems waiting around on the net for the hat to use).

          And yes....I know you were trying to make a joke. :)
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Competitors ? Who are the competitors ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by inKubus (199753)
      You can actually install any operating system or applications. It's basically a virtual server but you pay hourly rates. So if you do some heavy computing once a month, you can just lease time on a server and not have to buy a server, rack, ups, network gear, etc. They store your image and data for you, up to 1.7TB. It's actually a pretty good idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these?

    hey, you, get off of my cloud
  • by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @02:50PM (#20999835) Homepage
    Is cloud computing for the masses finally here?

    It was already here. [slashdot.org]
  • by UberHoser (868520) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @02:51PM (#20999857)
    "new instance types". AWESOME ! Finally some sweet sweet pally loot drops !
  • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @03:00PM (#20999979) Homepage
    It all makes perfect sense now. Amazon creates the Storm virus botnet. Then it sells computing space. Anyone who tries to compete with them is shutdown by DDSes from the botnet. Amazon ends up owning the entire internet, and leasing it out for profit with suggestions on books about being a good repressed peasant.

    It's like some bizarre take on DC comic's 'Amazons Attack!', only with slightly more porn.
    • It's like some bizarre take on DC comic's 'Amazons Attack!', only with slightly more porn.
      If either Neil Gaiman or Jeph Loeb are involved, I'm in; best comic ever!
    • You realize we have an awful lot of info on you - wouldn't want anything bad to happen would we? Anyway, I like being called Mr. Cloud :o)
  • Weather Forecast (Score:1, Redundant)

    by PortHaven (242123)
    Today's weather forecast for the Amazon region is partly cloudy computing with occasional scattered rain showers. Don't forget to take your umbrella!
  • by bstadil (7110) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @03:14PM (#21000129) Homepage
    If you are interested join the Silicon Valley EC2 user group. Next meeting on the 24'th this month. I think there will be a speaker from Amazon AWS proper More here [meetup.com]
  • $126,934.34 (Score:4, Funny)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @03:24PM (#21000307)
    That is the cost to the economy of all the slashdot users having to waste a minute of their workday to google "Elastic Compute Cloud" because the editor couldn't be bothered to put one sentence in the summary. Yes, I worked it out.

    Thanks kdawson
  • by JavaGenosse (1174861) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @03:41PM (#21000541)
    Been playing with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud more than one year, like its simplicity and great deal of opportunities it provides for businesses and other type of clients. Forum provides good deal of advice and useful information (see http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/forum.jspa?forumID=30 [amazonwebservices.com] ) Resource center has all kinds of tools to get you running in very short period of time, including pre-configured images of operating systems (currently only Linux), called Public AMIs. There's also some good blogs ( http://ihatecubicle.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] ), that provide help on advanced things like persistence to external services (S3, Nirvanix etc). SQS provides messaging facility with simple API, so it's easy to work with.
  • by Synn (6288)
    One huge limiting factor in using EC2 was the lack of solid hardware for back end databases. Looks like that's no longer an issue.

    Now if we could just get static IP addresses, ability the assign PTRs and persistent on disk storage we could completely do away with our data center.
  • by Conficio (832978) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @03:56PM (#21000749) Homepage
    Before we all dream up our cloud nine apps, consider the current shortfalls. * No persistent storage, other than S3. That means all permanent storage has to be re-acrchitected to an S3 key/value interface. Any file/database on the virtual hard drive (160 GB) is gone, when the instance crashes, or you need an external DB server (latency) and lots of cache to make that hopefully perform. * IP address is static as long as the instance runs. When it crashes, the replacement instance gets a new IP. That means you need to run dynamic DNS front ends and do your load balancing somehere else. These two issues make it not as simple as starting a server and installing your Wordpress, bbPHP, etc. While more powerful instance types are nice, what really is needed to make this a simple to use offering is to have instance types with, identified regular file system storage (somewhere on the SAN?) and with assigned static IP addresses. For really powerful distributed content delivery, I'd also like to determine where on the globe an instance will be started, so the transport to the client can be optimized. Just my analysis of where we are.
    • by The Fred (462778) on Tuesday October 16, 2007 @04:26PM (#21001201)
      Since this is a well-known problem, there are of course a lot of people working on solutions. I have recently discovered S3DFS: http://www.openfount.com/blog/s3dfs-for-ec2 [openfount.com]

      A FUSE-based file system that mounts like a normal filesystem but reads and writes to S3.
      • by Conficio (832978)
        Cool, looks like a step into the right direction for low volume info. But I doubt it is the right base to run a database against or even to preserve my logs beyond death of the isntance. I'd liek to see comparitive performance before I'd commit my app to this. In my mind it is a band-aid, albeit a good one for now. The Xen instances should be configurable so that I can have access to the data for some time after the instance dies. Lets even say, I'll get some automatic back up of portions of the file syst
    • I think you are missing a key point. This service is an enabler. The risk profile for launching a new application is reduced because Joe Blow with a great application idea does not have to procure the gear and cage space to make it run. They can start withing the cloud and then plan a move to their own systems if they have the good problem of rapid adoption and growth.

      For application developers I see: lower risk, lower cost. This is enabling. Developers will have less need for large companies and VC's
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Conficio (832978)
        Not sure if I miss the point. Which Joe Blow has knowledge of hwo to build an efficient multi server app with an unusual largely unknown storage back end S2? My point is that the vast majority of entrepreneurs are seeking a standard like environment. Why are mySQL and postgres so popular? Why are WAMP/LAMP, Ruby on Rails and cakePHP the basis for so many apps? Because 99,9% of Joe Blows get it and can handle its complexities. But a database is not feasable on an Amazon cloud. Because when the slice dies, y
  • Only if its to remain free ( for personal use ). If not, its for the elite and corporate world. Neither i would consider 'the masses'.
  • Too bad it's probably heavily patented. We could use some "cloud computing", but hell will freeze over before we support Amazon.
  • Support for FreeBSD images is desperately needed before many of us would consider making the jump. The last I heard is that there is some work going on in FreeBSD 7.0 that will make it easier to run FreeBSD instances on EC2 so Amazon can start supporting it. Anyone else got a more recent update?
  • by slashmojo (818930) on Wednesday October 17, 2007 @03:35AM (#21007085)
    We've been using it for a few months now and its great.

    With a single command we can export computing tasks from our main system to a customized instance at amazon and when complete, import the resulting data. All powered by a few simple bash scripts. We can fire up any number of tasks like this and massively increase our overall processing capacity whenever needed and then shut it all down when not.

    So far, after several months of running multiple instances we've not had a single failure or data loss although even if an instance had died it would make little difference since we can easily just export the tasks again at any time.

    There is also the handy EC2UI firefox plugin to manage your instances..
    http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/entry.jspa?externalID=609&categoryID=88 [amazonwebservices.com]

    Once you get the hang of EC2 you will likely come up with all sorts of computing tasks you can 'out source' from your current systems. Overall I highly recommend it.
  • I have a couple of programs that do various NP-hard optimizations using genetic algorithms. They are very simple (in concept), give excellent results, but are massively inefficient.

    And I've had an idea for another genetic program, where the input is only a few hundred bytes, the output is only a few hundred bytes, (so I/O bandwidth is a non-issue), but it takes many trillions of clock cycles to get from point A to point B. The Amazon system may be an ideal system for me.

    I might balk at buying a new bo

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