Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cloud Computing - A case study

Next time you will need computing resources, e.g. a web server, get it from the cloud, it is simple and easy!
This post is not meant to be a full tutorial but only a brief description of my own personal experience playing with Amazon EC2.
For more complete information about working with Amazon EC2 check this or this references or browse here for additional documentation

Step 1: Create an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) account. Pricing and additional information is available here.
Step 2: Download the Amazon command line API tools and/or install the Elasticfox - Firefox plug-in.
Step 3: Set the security keys to allow SSH.
Step 4: Configure the Elasticfox (for example open port 22 for SSH and port 80 for http in my case).
Step 5. I used one of the pre-configured Amazon Machine Images (AMI), therefore starting the machine was immediate.
Step 6: Enjoy the new virtual machine - see screen shots below:

Figure 1: The Amazon Elasticfox GUI.

Figure 2: Connecting to the machine via SSH.

Figure 3: Starting a web server on the virtual machine.

Cloud Computing at its best!

Basic price is $0.1/hour ($2.4/day or $876/year) - Not bad if you take into account the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) - No worries about up-time (UPS) - [that remains to be seen - there were a few unpleasant surprises], backup, cooling, space, electric bills....

Easy user interface together with a reasonable security and cost effectiveness will make Cloud Computing a serious alternative to local data centers in organizations.

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