“The Cloud” Amazon Style
AWS stands for amazon web services. In essence you can purchase the computing power you need while not having to care about the gory details. Amazon, for a small fee takes care of that for you. This is especially useful for researchers who don’t care about the day to day administration of large clusters of computers, small businesses, or individuals who want a reliable web presence. Here is a quick rundown of how I use linux and the free tier of AWS.
The first one is free… really just try it. Cloud pricing is very complicated. Explaining the benefits of using the cloud can be hindered by this complicated cost model. The roadblock really hits organizations who are used to fixed prices and investing in capital. Rather than have explain it Amazon takes the Costco free sample approach. Try it, if you like it you figure the rest out on your own. Amazon gets away with this because they know their value proposition is so good. The free tier allows entities to get their feet wet, but will not allow them to make anything big enough to be useful. Once you don’t have to change a failed raid drive at 3am anymore or deal with a router packet storm, yeah the service sells itself.
I am a gentoo fanatic when it comes to linux. It appeals to my hacker nature. The free tier of AWS lends itself to gentoo. This wordpress blog is a combination of the micro instances of EC2 and RDS. The cost is almost nothing. With the database functions of wordpress off loaded to RDS, I have a very reliable, cheap way to express myself on the web. I am a fan of custom imaged o AWS I just don’t trust something unless I understand it from the ground up. A gentoo developer/contributer has one of the best blogs for creating a custom image: http://rich0gentoo.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/gentoo-on-ec2-from-scratch/. If you are a centos guy Build a Custom Amazon EC2 Machine Image (CentOS 6.2) . But mostly I’ll be dealing with gentoo in this page.