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Amazon EC2 Turns 3

by C. Ross Jam on August 26, 2009

I don’t really use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), but I’ve been a quite interested observer since, … well the day it was born. To wit, from the New Media Hack post for Aug 24, 2006:

I didn’t realize it at the time, and many in the blogosphere are having the same incorrect interpretation, but EC2 isn’t supposed to knock out private virtual and dedicated server solutions. EC2 is really for folks who need to build a cluster of machines but don’t have the sysadmin staff, rackspace, and funds for hardware, available. For a mom and pop LAMP server running a lightly used Web site, EC2 is probably overkill. For a small Web startup short on cash and people, EC2 might be an attractive alternative to building your own data center.

Put it all together and you’ve got cheap, powerful computational units (VMs), reliable distributed messaging (SQS), and inexpensive massive storage (S3), all from one vendor, with reasonable (not easy, but reasonable) programmatic APIs. Interesting times.

In celebrating EC2’s third anniversary, Werner Voegels had a good, detailed post about Amazon’s view of cloud computing and how it differs from “private clouds”. The post also served to announce Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPC), which allows for seamless connection of the Amazon cloud with private networks. This will presumably make corporate folks a little less leery of using EC2 since data and process leakage should be abated.

I’m amazed that EC2 is only three years old. Seems like it’s been around forever. The amount of innovation that’s been internally and externally generated by the platform has been incredible.

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