[Thorsten von Eicken:AOTD] EC2, Motherhood, and Apple Pie

by M. David Peterson

Update: Thorsten has followed-up with some interesting comments regarding the current state of the virtualized industry, the problems he's seeing a lot of companies facing, and various obstacles they're running into along the way. Interesting stuff!

[Original Post]
((AOTD == Advice of the Day) == True)

Amazon Web Services Developer Connection : Instances not responding ...

A word of advice, easy to give, hard to follow: design your system so you can relaunch any critical instance!

Amazon has thousands of instances available, just waiting for you to hit the launch button. If a current instance smells bad and your own troubleshooting doesn't resolve it, launch a new one and bring your service up on it. Actually, if it's critical, you should have two running so you'd be left with one while you replace the failing one.

All this should be motherhood and apple pie on EC2 or any other hosting facility, or also in your own datacenter for that matter. Systems fail.

Thorsten von Eicken, Posted: Feb 2, 2008 10:53 AM PST

BTW: Thorsten is one of the smartest individuals I have ever had the fortune of coming to know. *GREAT* guy, and someone in whom if you need help with Amazon Web Services-related consulting, in particular EC2, I would *HIGHLY* recommend getting in contact with his company, RightScale. Just the right combination of open source, open minds, and openly giving more than he/they receive in return, so I believe it's certainly both fair and in-line with the ideals of O'Reilly, and therefore this blog to provide promotion.


2008-02-02 18:31:48
David, thanks for your kind words. There's no doubt in my mind that EC2 is the way of the future, but the pain in getting there is palpable. For folks running 100+ instances there's no question that they have to invest in automation to deal with failures whether they're using EC2 or some other solution. The effort they spend is a given and (hopefully) paid for by the traffic they get. But what's happening right now is that the gap to get to that point is skewed. It used to be that the hardware cost big bucks and the software infrastructure cost big bucks too. Now, with EC2, the hardware cost is zero (pay as you go), but the software cost remains!
We (RightScale) are trying to fill the gap and help companies start small but safe and be able to grow on EC2. We're passionate about it, so while we're building a business we're also trying to help others avoid too much pain.
M. David Peterson
2008-02-02 21:18:04

Thanks for the follow-up! We're living in some interesting times, without a doubt!