Amazon to the rescue

In his 15 Ways to Tell Its Not Cloud Computing post, James Governor asserts that:

“If you know where the machines areā€¦ its not a cloud.”

I took issue with this in a comment on his post.

And today, Amazon EC2 makes me feel smug:

“Availability Zones give you additional control of where your EC2 instances are run. We use a two level model which consists of geographic regions broken down into logical zones.”

Here are more details on how it works. And Amazon’s feature guide for availability zones.


Filed under Everything, IT Systems Mgmt, Utility computing

2 Responses to Amazon to the rescue

  1. I think you’re both right. If you know “it’s that 2U box in rack 5” then it’s not a cloud. If you know “it’s in Virginia in the same (or different) location as this other box” it could still be a cloud.

    What’s more interesting to me is the unlimited availability of boxes for short periods of time. This means that if you do a rolling upgrade of 10 app servers you don’t actually upgrade, you launch 10 fresh ones and swap them in. You then retire the old ones once you’re comfortable with that decision, whether 1 hour later, 1 day later, or 1 week later. If your master DB pukes, you switch to the slave and fire off a fresh slave so you’re back to replicating. Then you investigate the puking at your leisure and shut the box down when done. It’s this “just grab the next box” that really makes life easier, safer, and a lot more fun!

  2. Thorsten: Agreed. In a way it reminds me a bit of the “~” backup file that emacs creates when you edit a file. Except now it’s not a backup file with the old data, it’s an entire backup machine with the old configuration.