Amazon EC2

As this product was in the news just this past week, I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about the product the issue it had last week.  Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), is a web service that provides a “resizable compute capacity in the cloud” (see Amazon’s description).  What it does is that it allows users to rent virtual computers to run any computer application.  Services like about.me, Reddit, HootSuite, and FourSquare uses Amazon EC2 to run their web applications and were all unfortunate to be affected by last week’s outage of Amazon’s service.  This specific event, although rare, is telling of how reliance in cloud computing alone can be costly to your business.

Amazon EC2 as a product itself is too big to discuss.  What you need to know about it though is that its a service that allows you to rent virtual computers to run your web applications.  This service scales based on the demand of your web app.  For instance, if there are currently many users accessing your web application, EC2 should scale to allow for smooth operation.  Amazon’s pricing structure for this service largely depend on bandwidth, memory, and cpu usage.  Honestly, it’s all confusing.  But if you’d like to know more, check out Amazon’s site for this service.

What happened to Amazon EC2 starting Thursday morning until Friday (April 22nd), according to Amazon was that a networking glitch caused harddrives to automatically create back-ups of themselves which lead to storage capacity getting filled.  More importantly, what happened illustrated the necessity for a “disaster recovery” plan for Amazon, other similar bases, and more importantly your business that relies heavily on these types of services.

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