Let’s take a look at another Cloud computing service provider: Amazon. The company also paid attention to cloud technology and managed to offer some interesting products. At this point of our conversation, you should know what the Cloud is, how it works and in what forms it may exist. You might also have an idea of how a Cloud may help your business grow faster, from the previous post blog about an IBM product. The base product of Amazon in this area is the Amazon EC2, a full cloud computing service which allows users to build virtual machines, manage resources within minutes and access these instances at the “root” level.
There are two very interesting features of this service: one is the fact that you can connect your existing network to the infrastructure from the cloud (through a IPsec VPN connection) and see them as a singular infrastructure and the second one is the fact that you can use computing power on a “stock exchange” principle (as long as you have the highest bid, the resource is yours). Other nice features worth to be mentioned here are:
- Auto Scaling feature allows users to set the environment to consume as much (or less) power as it is needed (so the user will not pay for resources that he will not use);
- VM Import, with Amazon EC2 you can import your existing virtual machines into Amazon’s environment as ready-to-use instances;
- Relational Database Service is a web service that makes it possible to set up, operate and scale a relational database into the cloud. This service presents the user with the whole range of capabilities of a familiar MySQL database;
- Amazon CloudWatch lets the users monitor the resources they are using, so they can generate stats, graphs or alarms;
- Elastic IP Addresses is a feature that allows users to manage the machines through one IP address if the machine is migrated to another Amazon Datacenter for availability purposes;
Amazon offers a very large scale of prices according with the needs of the users – one can use a small environment starting at 0.003$ per hour and increasing to 2.5$ per hour for a high-performance Windows machine. If you are looking for a long term contract, the prices start from about 100$ per year to almost 9000$ for a very complex environment. As expected, Amazon also offers a “Free Tier” package which allows prospectors to see how things work for a period of one year.
.. maybe one of the best features Amazon has to offer is the Mechanical Turk which represents a marketplace where those who need to get tasks done can find and access a virtual community of workers ready to solve their issues. While writing this article we were very surprised to find that there are a couple of IBM products (like Lotus Domino Server, Lotus Forms Turbo, Tivoli Monitoring, Informix Developer and others) that you can buy and use on Amazon EC2 cloud. We find this collaboration between IBM and Amazon very helpful, as you can take advantages of the best products from each company and create a complete custom-made environment. And this will surely positively impact your business.
We’ll be back for the 4th and last part of the Cloud Computing article series.
🙂 See you soon!