Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud

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Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (also known as "EC2") is a commercial web service that allows customers to rent computers on which to run their own computer applications. EC2 allows scalable deployment of applications by providing a web services interface through which a customer can create virtual machines, i.e. server instances, on which the customer can load any software of their choice. A customer can create, launch, and terminate server instances as needed, paying by the hour for active servers, hence the term "elastic". A customer can set up server instances in zones insulated from each other for most failure causes so that one may be a backup for the other and minimize down time.[1] provides EC2 as one of several web services marketed under the blanket term Amazon Web Services (AWS).


[edit] History

Amazon announced a limited public beta of EC2 on August 25, 2006.[2] Access to EC2 was granted on a first come first served basis. EC2 became generally available on October 23, 2008 along with support for Microsoft Windows Server.[3]

[edit] Virtual machines

EC2 uses Xen virtualization. Each virtual machine, called an "instance", functions as a virtual private server in one of three sizes; small, large or extra large. sizes instances based on "EC2 Compute Units" — the equivalent CPU capacity of physical hardware. One EC2 Compute Unit equals 1.0-1.2 GHz 2007 Opteron or 2007 Xeon processor. The system offers the following instance types:

Small Instance
The small instance (default) equates to "a system with 1.7 GB of memory, 1 EC2 Compute Unit (1 virtual core with 1 EC2 Compute Unit), 160 GB of instance storage, 32-bit platform"[4]
Large Instance
The large instance represents "a system with 7.5 GB of memory, 4 EC2 Compute Units (2 virtual cores with 2 EC2 Compute Units each), 850 GB of instance storage, 64-bit platform".
Extra Large Instance
The extra large instance offers the "equivalent of a system with 15 GB of memory, 8 EC2 Compute Units (4 virtual cores with 2 EC2 Compute Units each), 1690 GB of instance storage, 64-bit platform."
High-CPU Instance
Instances of this family have proportionally more CPU resources than memory (RAM) and address compute-intensive applications.
High-CPU Medium Instance
Instances of this family have the following configuration:
  • 1.7 GB of memory
  • 5 EC2 Compute Units (2 virtual cores with 2.5 EC2 Compute Units each)
  • 350 GB of instance storage
  • 32-bit platform
  • I/O Performance: Moderate
High-CPU Extra Large Instance
Instances of this family have the following configuration:
  • 7 GB of memory
  • 20 EC2 Compute Units (8 virtual cores with 2.5 EC2 Compute Units each)
  • 1690 GB of instance storage
  • 64-bit platform
  • I/O Performance: High

[edit] Pricing

Amazon charges customers in two primary ways:

  • Hourly charge per virtual machine
  • Data transfer charge

The hourly virtual machine rate is fixed, based on the capacity and features of the virtual machine. Amazon advertising describes the pricing scheme as "you pay for resources you consume," but defines resources such that an idle virtual machine is consuming resources, as opposed to other pricing schemes where one would pay for basic resources such as CPU time.

Customers can easily start and stop virtual machines to control charges, with Amazon measuring with one hour granularity. Some are thus able to keep each virtual machine running near capacity and effectively pay only for CPU time actually used.

As of March 2009, Amazon's time charge is about $73/month for the smallest virtual machine without Windows and twelve times that for the largest one running Windows. The data transfer charge ranges from $.10 to $.17 per gigabyte, depending on the direction and monthly volume.

Amazon does not have monthly minimums or account maintenance charges.

[edit] Operating systems

When it launched in August 2006, the EC2 service offered Linux and later Sun Microsystems' OpenSolaris and Solaris Express Community Edition. In October 2008, EC2 added the Windows Server 2003 operating system to the list of available operating systems.[5][6]

Plans are in place for the Eucalyptus interface for the Amazon API to be packaged into the standard Ubuntu distribution.

[edit] Persistent Storage provides persistent storage in the form of Elastic Block Storage(EBS). Users can set up and manage volumes of sizes from 1GB to 1TB. The servers can attach these instances of EBS to one server at a time in order to maintain data storage by the servers.

[edit] Abuse

In early July 2008 Outblaze and started to block Amazon's EC2 address-pool due to problems with the distribution of spam and malware.[7]

[edit] References

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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