a journal of a researcher

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Mini Report on Amazon EC2 and S3 Web Services


You can run a virtual image of your OS in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)

You can storage any amount of data using Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)


EC2 and S3 have Web service interface (SOAP and REST) and they are called Web services by Amazon. Be careful, EC2 assigns dynamic IP. You can also use command line to operate EC2, but not for S3 (seems). S3 is designed for files. You can put a database on EC2, not on S3.


S3: Storage ($0.15 per GB-month), Data Transfer ($0.10 per GB transferred in and $0.18 per GB transferred out … ), Requests ($0.10 per 1,00 PUT or LIST requests …).

EC2: $0.10 for a small instance-hour, Data Transfer ($0.10 per GB transferred in and $0.18 per GB transferred out … ),

Prices Comparison:

If you host a Web site as a small instance in EC2, the basic cost is $72/month. If you have a large amount of traffic for your Web site, you need to throw in more money. For example, 1TB is about $200.

Yahoo can host a small business Web site for $20/month. So, if just hosting a Web site, EC2 is not cheap. But $72/month is relatively the market price of renting a Web server.

Here is an article (http://www.webpronews.com/node/32013/print) for replacing a home backup server with S3. If you count in how much you spend on a backup server, software, electricity in 5 years, you save money and maintenance efforts by switching to S3. Be careful, this article is about backup data, so the traffic cost in this case is minimal.

Some analysis on benefits and when to use:

It seems that the price for storage is quite cheap, but the price for traffic is not cheap. As EC2 assigns dynamic IP, it seems it is not good for hosting a Web site. But some people do agree that the application is more stable than you expected, i.e. you can keep it running forever.

The best thing for EC2 and S3 is the scalability. You can easily increase the capacity of your service by starting more instances at Amazon. There is no limitation on how much resources you can use. And the set up time is very short. Other benefits are reliability, security etc. You can save money by avoiding setting up your own information infrastructure, if you have serious applications. Another way is to use Amazon to deal with peaks, as you can easily switch on and off the instances and you pay according to how much you used.


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