Thursday, March 27, 2008

Amazon EC2 Gets It Right

I’ve written a couple of articles about the Amazon EC2 service. It’s the Elastic Compute Cloud that lets you build very scalable (and, reliable) web sites "in the cloud", using Web Services created and operated by Amazon.

It’s amazingly good.

And, just got significantly better.

Amazon just announced two significant improvements to the service:

Elastic IP Addresses:
Elastic IP Addresses are static IP addresses designed for dynamic cloud computing, and now make it easy to host web sites, web services and other online applications in Amazon EC2. Elastic IP addresses are associated with your AWS account, not with your instances, and can be programmatically mapped to any of your instances. This allows you to easily recover from instance and other failures while presenting your users with a static IP address.

Availability Zones:
Availability Zones give you the ability to easily and inexpensively operate a highly available internet application. Each Amazon EC2 Availability Zone is a distinct location that is engineered to be insulated from failures in other Availability Zones. Previously, only very large companies had the scale to be able to distribute an application across multiple locations, but now it is as easy as changing a parameter in an API call. You can choose to run your application across multiple Availability Zones to be prepared for unexpected events such as power failures or network connectivity issues, or you can place instances in the same Availability Zone to take advantage of free data transfer and the lowest latency communication.

These two capabilities answer the primary complaints that I have heard about the EC2 service, and I suspect will allow for significant customer adoption in the next 18 months. Static IP Addresses, combined with serving up the proper certificates, should allow for fully secure computing under Amazon EC2.

The guys at RightScale have described Setting up a fault-tolerant site using Amazon’s Availability Zones.

Amazon also announced User Selectable Kernels:
Amazon EC2 now allows developers to use kernels other than the default Amazon EC2 kernels with their instances.

Including:

This release makes the following new AMIs and AKIs (Kernel IDs) available:
AMI: Fedora Core 6 - 32 bit - a stock FC6 release with matching kernel and RAM disk
AMI: Fedora 8 - 32 bit - a stock F8 release with matching kernel and RAM disk
AMI: Fedora 8 - 64 bit - a stock F8 release with matching kernel and RAM disk
AKI: 2.6.18 Kernel - 32 bit - a stock 2.6.18 kernel (can be used with 32 bit AMIs)
AKI: 2.6.18 Kernel - 64 bit - a stock 2.6.18 kernel (can be used with 64 bit AMIs)

Tags: Amazon, EC2, Cloud Computing, Web Services, Static IP, Failover, Redundancy, Brian Berliner, brianberliner

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