Degraded performance in Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (N. Virginia) or EC2 is down. This brought down Heroku and Reddit together with many others. It kinda serves as a reminder how reliant companies are on Amazon if anything.

What’s worse is that Amazon EC2 console is down too. Amazon says, “We are experiencing elevated error rates with the EC2 Management Console.”

The North Virginia facility seemed more unreliable than other availability sites. I used to run 2 EC2 instances in Singapore (Asia Pacific) for work and they’re much more reliable than this. There was a case where they had to do some hardware migration but that’s mostly minor.

Thoughts on migrating to EC2

One thing that I notice with Amazon EC2 when trying out their micro instances in Singapore (Asia Pacific) is that the round trip takes approximately 250 ms from United States. This made me reconsidered a little about having my instance hosted in the Asia Pacific region since a majority of my visitors remain to be US-based.

I originally planned to use Amazon EC2’s micro instance to do just host a few blogs. Most of my images from the blogs are hosted at Amazon S3 already and I felt like moving everything over to Amazon’s US East facility (North Virginia).

Amazon EC2 offering is slightly cheaper than Rackspace Cloud’s similar offering and is quite attractive. A huge plus would be that I can host it in Singapore but then that’s probably benefiting just me. I can probably blog faster if it is hosted in Singapore but, to be honest, I wouldn’t really want to blog more than my current rate.

Recently Rackspace had some issues with my host machine and my server instance kept freezing up over a month. I didn’t suspect it could be an issue on their side and up the memory in my instance to 1024 MB. When that didn’t help, I almost wanted to migrate to another host — Linode. Now there’s Amazon’s micro instance I’m really spoilt for choice.

Price evaluation of Amazon EC2

I’ve been looking at the pricing of Amazon EC2 (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud) running as if it were a VPS. I intend to run it continuously for as long as possible. I likely only need a small instance as described here.

Specification of EC2 Small Instance

  • 1.7 GB memory
  • 1 EC2 Compute Unit (1 virtual core with 1 EC2 Compute Unit)
  • 160 GB instance storage (150 GB plus 10 GB root partition)
  • 32-bit platform
  • I/O Performance: Moderate

These are some notes I have made for Amazon EC2. All prices are in US dollar and does not include bandwidth costs as those are far too varying.

Amazon web services

I only need the smallest Linux/UNIX instance and the pricing is $0.085 / hour for a server instance in North Virginia, USA without reserving an instance. (There’s going to be one in Singapore next year.)

I can choose to reserve the server instance for 1 or 3 years and pay $227.50 or $350 respectively and pay for $0.03 / hour for a similar instance.

To put the cost into perspective:

For 1 year

  • Without reserved instance: $0.085 * 24 * 365 = $744.60 ($62.05 / month)
  • With reserved instance: $0.03 * 24 * 365+ $227.50 = $490.30 (~$40.86 / month)
  • Percentage saving after 1 year: (744.60 – 490.30) / 744.60 = ~34.1%

For 3 years

  • Without reserved instance: $0.085 * 24 * 365 * 3 = $2233.80 ($62.05/ month)
  • With reserved instance: $0.03 * 24 * 365 * 3 + $350 = $1138.40 (~$31.62 / month)
  • Percentage saving after 3 years: (2233.80 – 1138.40) / 2233.80 = ~49.0%

I’m currently on Slicehost and Rackspace Cloud. They’ve been pretty good so far but Amazon’s cloud computing offering is beginning to look quite tempting.

Amazon Web Services expands to Singapore

This isn’t exactly the latest news but — Amazon Web Services expands to Singapore. Expansion to Singapore would keep Singapore web hosting prices a lot more competitive. Amazon is bringing to Singapore:

  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2),
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3),
  • Amazon SimpleDB,
  • Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS),
  • Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS),
  • Amazon Elastic MapReduce,
  • Amazon CloudFront.

Yes EC2 is coming to Singapore over the second half of 2010. I am considering migrating some stuff over to Amazon due to its pricing.

Amazon web services

Amazon Web Services Announces Expansion into Asia in the First Half of 2010

Amazon Web Services LLC, an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ:AMZN), today announced an expansion of its services into an Asia-Pacific region in the first half of 2010, enabling businesses to deploy compute and storage resources in close proximity to their end-users in the region. Software developers and businesses will be able to access AWS’s infrastructure services from multiple Availability Zones in Singapore in the first half of 2010, then in other Availability Zones within Asia over the second half of 2010. AWS services available at the launch of the Asia-Pacific region will include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), Amazon Elastic MapReduce, and Amazon CloudFront. (Source: Amazon)

Amazon has yet to release the pricing for Singapore but I’m guessing it would cost about USD0.20 per hour. Hosting hasn’t been that cheap in Singapore currently. If they charge less than USD$0.14 per hour for a small Linux EC2 instance, I would start advocating people to switch. Currently in US, Amazon charges USD$0.085 per hour. VPS hosting in Singapore is still kinda expensive for whatever reasons. Running a website really shouldn’t be that costly.

Cloud computing? What the hell is that?

Larry Ellison expresses his opinions on cloud computing. He probably hates the way the word is flaunt around as a medicine that would cure all your computing troubles.

Why Larry Ellison hates Cloud computing

There isn’t a consensus what cloud is and is not. We just go on assuming that it is something like this, something like that. Cloud computing — it’s there because SaaS and Web 2.0 sounds old.