Enterprise Software

Options in the cloud: Amazon Web services

Once understanding what it can do for you, the off-premise cloud is a tough leap for many organizations. In this blog, IT authority Rick Vanover breaks down one cloud in the Amazon offering.

Amazon Web services started offering an off-premise cloud in 2006 for access to a robust infrastructure. Probably the most popular example of off-premise cloud computing with the Amazon offering was the New York Times converting issues dating back to 1851. There were Terabytes of .TIFF files that were put into the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and converted to .PDF files. The end result is data that powers the TimesMachine Web site that provides historical issues of the popular newspaper. Besides EC2, the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) cloud service was used. The data was uploaded to the S3 cloud and then converted to PDF with programs in the EC2 cloud. The entire compute cycle cost less than $250. Consider the cost alternative to doing that in-house?

Beyond S3 and EC2, Amazon Web services offer many other services. One newer addition to the portfolio is the Amazon MapReduce Web service. MapReduce will interact with S3 and EC2 and perform large amounts of processing by a configurable number of similar worker processes. MapReduce uses the Hadoop distributed workload model. The good example is log file interpretation and parsing. Mike Culver from Amazon Web services gives a good video on how to get started with the MapReduce Web service.

So, what can the standard organization do with Amazon Web services? With S3, EC2, and MapReduce, I have some creative ideas flowing. We will need access to a good Web developer for the small applets that will run in the cloud, however. Nonetheless, what if a Web service that you currently run on a Web server internally could be bundled up (into Java for example) and run on a cloud? If you eliminated the licensing, hardware, space, power, and cooling for that system, would it make sense? Pricing for S3, EC2, and MapReduce are pretty attractive.

Still we are faced with the question, where does this fit into my IT space? This is where we can get creative and make a solution that saves on the bottom line.

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About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

4 comments
mattie289404
mattie289404

I think terrorist are very pleased with the american "cloud computing"..now they can hack into companies "cloud" and steal millions and millions of pieces of data with one swoop.

mcooper
mcooper

I can't see terrorists having an opinion one way or another about cloud computing. If anything, cloud computing will increase security. Companies like Amazon have a much larger budget for security than my company has.

doug_hackett
doug_hackett

it does not follow that ,a larger company (like Amazon) has better security just because they have a larger budget. If you commit to their service there is no gaurantee that Amazon (or whom ever) will continue to offer the service or that it will continue at a reasonable price.

darpoke
darpoke

I continue to be stumped at the willingness of people to treat cloud services as some kind of exceptional concept never-before-seen. I'm not exactly pro-cloud: I can't see any benefit to the company I work for, for example, but that's just our business model. We have a fairly small client-facing profile on the web and a public site pretty much covers it, while our large processing needs for video rendering are handled in-house with multicore Mac Pros, clustered if necessary. I just can't see the reasoning behind fallacious arguments against the safety or reliability of cloud services as a notion. There's no guarantee that an office building won't withdraw leases on its offices or hike the prices up arbitrarily in the future - and yet businesses continue to rent office space. This isn't any different.

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