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acme (189)

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Leon Brocard (aka acme) is an orange-loving Perl eurohacker with many varied contributions to the Perl community, including the GraphViz module on the CPAN. YAPC::Europe was all his fault. He is still looking for a Perl Monger group he can start which begins with the letter 'D'.

Journal of acme (189)

Thursday August 24, 2006
06:53 AM

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud

[ #30737 ]

Sun may bill itself as the network is the computer company, but its Sun Grid Compute Utility still isn't live. Amazon really does understand this however and they've just released the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. It's a compute grid based on Xen. They provide some ready-made system images or you can build your own. The virtual machines you run have "provides the equivalent of a system with a 1.7Ghz Xeon CPU, 1.75GB of RAM, 160GB of local disk, and 250Mb/s of network bandwidth". The costs are entirely reasonable: only $0.10 per instance-hour consumed + network and storage via S3.

They provide command-line tools and a good walkthough. The nice thing about virtual machines is that they look like real machines:

# uptime
07:47:24 up 6 min,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.03, 0.01
uname -a
Linux 2.6.16-xenU #1 SMP Mon Aug 14 19:11:10 SAST 2006 i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux
# cat /proc/cpuinfo  | egrep 'model name|cpu MHz'
model name      : AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 250
cpu MHz         : 2405.452
# free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          1700         66       1633          0          3         22
-/+ buffers/cache:         41       1658
Swap:            0          0          0
# df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1             9.9G  763M  8.6G   8% /
none                  851M     0  851M   0% /dev/shm
/dev/sda2             147G  189M  140G   1% /mnt

That's just one VM, but you can have many in your compute cloud (only up to 20 in beta). It's true what programmers say: any problem can be solved by adding a virtualised layer. Bring on the virtual machine revolution!

No, I'm not quite sure why they've abbreviated it to AC2 either. AECC has a certain ring to it...

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  • Had I stayed up another hour, I'd have been in on the beta.
  • I gotta say I'm practically drooling over this.

    If I can just work out a way to write a PITA guest driver for this sucker, we could really have something special.

    My concern is that it's going to be quite tricky to do though, I guess I'll need to find some time and read through the documentation and see how it handles misbehaving virts.

    • This was the first thing (and first person) I thought of when I saw the news. You should write to Amazon; with their committment to Perl, they probably be quite interested in PITA, and possibly getting you in on the beta.