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Amazon Launches EC2 Transaction Based Web Hosting Platform
Ed Kohler
Maybe the reason for Amazon's downtime earlier this week wasn't the shoe sale but growing pains caused by the new services Amazon was working to get out the door.

First, we saw their new aStore custom affiliate store wizard, and now the beta launch of Amazon EC2 (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud): a transaction based web application hosting service from Amazon's Web Services division. Here is how Amazon describes it:

Amazon EC2 is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.

Just as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) enables storage in the cloud, Amazon EC2 enables "compute" in the cloud. Amazon EC2's simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon's proven computing environment. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing you to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you actually use.

It doesn't sound all that different from the thousands of other web hosting plans I see online with one exception: It's transaction based with scalable charges based on storage, bandwidth, and time used.

This seems like an interesting solution for growing businesses since they can outsource capacity decisions to Amazon, who has a serious incentive to keep your content up and running, since that's how they'll get paid. It sounds similar to Opsware (formerly LoudCloud) and services offered from IBM to me. Does anyone know what makes them different?



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