Simon Willison’s Weblog

42 items tagged “ec2”

The excess capacity story is a myth. It was never a matter of selling excess capacity, actually within 2 months after launch AWS would have already burned through the excess Amazon.com capacity.  Amazon Web Services was always considered a business by itself, with the expectation that it could even grow as big as the Amazon.com retail operation.

Werner Vogels # 5th January 2011, 3:13 pm

Bees with machine guns! Low-cost, distributed load-testing using EC2. Great name for a useful project—Bees with machine guns is a Fabric script which fires up a bunch of EC2 instances, uses them to load test a website and then spins them back down again. # 27th October 2010, 11:04 pm

What’s powering the Content API? The new Guardian Content API runs on Solr, scaled using EC2 and Solr replication and with a Scala web service layer sitting between Solr and the API’s end users. # 24th May 2010, 2:08 pm

Automate EC2 Instance Setup with user-data Scripts (via) I knew about EC2’s user-data feature—what I didn’t know is that the Alestic and Canonical images are configured so that if the user-data starts with #! the instance will automatically execute it as a shell script as soon as it boots up (after networking has been configured). # 11th March 2010, 12:31 pm

Since we moved to EC2, the number of unique users has gone up 50%, and pageviews are up more than 100%. To support this growth, we have added 30% more ram and 50% more CPU, yet because of Amazon’s constant price reductions, we are actually paying less per month now than when we started.

Jeremy from Reddit # 7th January 2010, 10:10 pm

Guardian iPhone app. Released today, ad-free, £2.39 for the application, has an excellent offline mode. I helped build the backend web service, which is a Django app running on EC2. # 14th December 2009, 1:29 pm

4store Amazon Machine Image. Instructions for firing up an EC2 AMI running the recently released 4store high performance triple store and loading in 1.14 billion statements collected by crawling the semantic web. # 1st November 2009, 12:12 pm

MySQL backups with EBS snapshots. Assaf Arkin’s 45 line ruby script shows how to lock tables / XFS freeze / create an EBS snapshot / unfreeze and unlock, with hourly snapshots preserved for the past 24 hours and daily snapshots for the past week. Is an EBS snapshot enough to restore your data to somewhere other than EC2 though? # 13th October 2009, 12:34 pm

OpenStreetMap Rendering Database. Amazon have added an OpenStreetMap snapshot as a public data set, thanks to some smart prompting by Jeremy Dunck. # 10th October 2009, 1:05 pm

Tile Drawer (via) The most inspired use of EC2 I’ve seen yet: center a map on an area, pick a Cascadenik stylesheet URL (or write and link to your own) and Tile Drawer gives you an Amazon EC2 AMI and a short JSON snippet. Launch the AMI with the JSON as the “user data” parameter and you get your own OpenStreetMap tile rendering server, which self-configures on startup and starts rendering and serving tiles using your custom design. # 26th August 2009, 9:32 am

Introducing Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). Amazon now let you create a network of private EC2 instances completely isolated from the internet and the rest of the EC2 cloud, then link them back to your home network via a VPN. # 26th August 2009, 8:42 am

Memcached 1.4.0 released. The big new feature is the (optional) binary protocol, which enables other features such as CAS-everywhere and efficient client-side replication. Maintainer Dustin Sallings has also released some useful sounding EC2 instances which automatically assign nearly all of their RAM to memcached on launch and shouldn’t need any further configuration. # 17th July 2009, 10:26 pm

Investigate your MP’s expenses. Launched today, this is the project that has been keeping me ultra-busy for the past week—we’re crowdsourcing the analysis of the 700,000+ scanned MP expenses documents released this morning. It’s the Guardian’s first live Django-powered application, and also the first time we’ve hosted something on EC2. # 18th June 2009, 11:16 pm

EC2: Creating an Image. Here’s the easier way of creating your own AMI: start with a running instance in EC2, then customise it to fit your purposes and create a new bundle (and then AMI) using the ec2-bundle-vol command. # 19th May 2009, 7:50 pm

HOWTO Building a self-bundling Debian AMI. Not as terrifying as you would have thought. Also contains some neat hints as to how some of the more magical parts of EC2 work (like the way your SSH public key automatically ends up in /root/.ssh/authorized_keys). # 19th May 2009, 7:49 pm

aws—simple access to Amazon EC2 and S3. The best command line client I’ve found for EC2 and S3. “aws put --progress my-bucket-name/large-file.tar.gz large-file.tar.gz” is particularly useful for uploading large files to S3. Written in Perl (with no dependencies), shelling out to curl to do the heavy lifting. # 19th May 2009, 11:38 am

New Features for EC2: Elastic Load Balancing, Auto Scaling, and Amazon CloudWatch. EC2 now fulfils the promise of “magic scaling in the cloud” out of the box—CloudWatch monitors performance of your EC2 instances without needing to install any monitoring software, Auto Scaling allows you to configure “scaling triggers” which start up new instances based on information from CloudWatch, and Elastic Load Balancing balances requests across all available instances. # 18th May 2009, 10:07 am

Ubuntu brings advanced Screen features to the masses. Ubuntu 9.04’s screen-profiles package adds a taskbar to screen and emulates the gnome panel. You can even add a widget showing the cost of your current EC2 session. # 28th April 2009, 9:52 pm

Experiences deploying a large-scale infrastructure in Amazon EC2. “At OpenX we recently completed a large-scale deployment of one of our server farms to Amazon EC2. Here are some lessons learned from that experience.” # 10th April 2009, 9:43 am

Amazon Elastic MapReduce (via) Hadoop as a service. Basically a web based GUI around Hadoop—you could roll this yourself on EC2 but for a small markup on regular EC2 prices you get to avoid the extra work setting everything up. Data processing scripts can be written in Java, Ruby, Perl, Python, PHP, R, or C++ and are loaded in to S3 before firing off the job. # 2nd April 2009, 10:25 am

maps from scratch. An idea whose time has come: using EC2 AMIs for tutorial sessions to give everyone a pre-configured environment. # 15th March 2009, 1:20 pm

Introducing the Karmic Koala, our mascot for Ubuntu 9.10 (via) Ubuntu 9.10 will have a strong focus on cloud computing, including tools for easily creating EC2 AMIs and Eucalyptus, an open-source system for running an EC2-compatible cloud in your own data centre. # 21st February 2009, 5:19 pm

Load Balancing in Amazon EC2 with HAProxy. Solid tutorial introduction to HAProxy. # 5th February 2009, 11:12 pm

Manage Amazon EC2 With New Web-Based AWS Management Console. Finally! I’m amazed it took Amazon so long to do this. Managing EC2 instances from a custom Firefox extension was pretty bizarre. It’s a very nice interface, built on top of YUI. Unfortunately you still have to manage your entire virtual server farm using a single shared Amazon account. # 9th January 2009, 9:34 am

How Tarsnap uses Amazon Web Services (via) Useful case study, including some thoughts on SimpleDB. # 14th December 2008, 7:35 pm

Ubuntu and Debian AMIs for Amazon EC2. Exactly what it says on the tin. # 8th December 2008, 6:04 pm

Amazon SimpleDB a complete flop? Terry asks if anyone is actually using SimpleDB (related Google searches indicate not, and I’ve personally not heard of anyone using it despite plenty of usage of S3 and EC2). One factor might be that lock-in to EC2 and S3 is pretty small, but if you rely on SimpleDB you’ll need to rewrite your entire application to escape. # 2nd December 2008, 10:17 am

Trying out Windows on EC2. Phillip Pearson provides the missing documentation. # 24th October 2008, 9:57 am

Windows Server and SQL Server on EC2 (via) Launched today, the pricing includes rental of the Windows license. Regular Windows is 25% to 50% more expensive than Linux, but SQL Server comes in at a hefty $1.10 per hour, which is $9636 per year (nearly three times as much as a Linux server running an open source database). # 23rd October 2008, 3:54 pm

Coming Soon: Amazon EC2 With Windows. It’s not instantly clear if you need to source your own Windows licenses or if the license comes as part of the hourly VM charge. If it’s the latter, I can see this being fantastically useful for both automated and manual cross-browser testing—throw up a Windows VM for just as long as you need to run your tests, running them through rdesktop. # 1st October 2008, 9:16 am