Wednesday, 6 June 2007

In the queue for the ECC

There have been lots of things going on over here for the past month but nothing really blog worthy, aside from this, having a baby has somewhat curtailed my late night blogging sessions, so this is the first post since May 10th!

We have signed up for the ECC, this is not another odd-ball European thingy but in fact Amazon's new web service christened the Elastic Computing Cloud. The concept is what is known as utility computing in that you create a new Virtual Machine and only pay for the storage and processor time you use. This means that within reason your online application can scale wonderfully from being a dusty corner of the web which no-one ever uses to the latest craze with millions of users in minutes and your server wouldn't crash (as long as your code is well written of course).

We have a little online application which we will very shortly be polishing for general release and this seems like a great opportunity to keep our initial installation costs very low but have the ability to scale quickly to meet the needs of our new users :o) Then of course, when things have settled down, and we know what sort of power we are going to require long term we can make a more informed decision about buying our own hosting kit without having to wade through goat intestines with the help of a good soothsayer.

The spanner in the works of course is that everyone else want to make use of this wonderful new service as well and I have found myself in the queue. This seems to be a rather annoying trend in fact, I queued for Joost, I queued for Google applications for Domains and now I am in another queue. I suppose it allows companies to test their systems without having a big embarrassing launch followed by teething trouble but I want it now :o(

I have looked for alternatives but it seems no one else is offering such a simple, well supported and dare I say cheap service within the means of the average web applications developer. Until now utility computing was in fact the preserve of the scientist wanting to test his quantum theories or analyse what happens in the middle of a cosmic jam doughnut (think SETI) so it seems Amazon are possibly on the cusp of having a runaway success. Every applications developer who doesn't want to ask his boss for a new server and equally doesn't want potentially unstable code on one of his precious live servers will want an account for testing stuff.

I am only surprised that Amazon beat Google to it as its just their sort of thing, I look forward to using the gutility computing cloud in about 2 months (probably for free) and inevitably the Microsoft computing cloud in about 2 years which will be compliant with the utility computing standards which the IEEE will have created and ratified by then but with of course.... Microsoft extensions.

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A view from the rack is the personal blog of an IT manager who works for a pub company - hence beer