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Open Source Cloud Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

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Windows on Amazon, Day 3

I might be Now I'm getting somewhere.

I mostly paused yesterday, read docs, thought, tried to understand how the various pieces fit together, and I think I've got some of the basics down.

1. You don't do a lot of customization of your AMIs, you might tweak up some of the settings for the OS, but don't install too much software in there, because all changes have to be bundled and saved and that's a slow process, and you don't want to do that too often.

2. The work is done in Amazon EBS Volumes. Install your software there, it can be attached to any instance. They're analogous to a hard disk drive in cloud space.

3. Now I'm wondering about costs. I've got the minimal system. It costs 12.5 cents per hour. That means in a 31 day month it will cost: $93 and that's without any storage costs. I'm having trouble estimating how much storage this instance will use. I have a bundle saved in my S3 space, and it's huge. Obviously I'm paying for that. I'll pay something for at least one IP address. Another question for oldbies -- how much should I expect to pay on a monthly basis for the most modest possible server?

4. All the docs say you can't depend on an instance staying up, but how does it relaunch if it goes down? I can't believe that's done manually. How can you build a reliable web service if it goes down unpredictably? (Not that my servers currently don't crash from time time, they do.)

5. I'm guessing you need to access the SOAP interfaces from inside your running instance. I'm going to have to find a concise overview of the interface. I find WSDL to be really hard to parse, would much prefer the equiv of Unix man pages. Have to go looking for that.

6. Wondering if all this is worth it. It must be, it seems, cause so many developers are deploying systems in EC2. How will it compare to what Microsoft announces next week? That'll be interesting to see. I can't get away to go to their conference in LA, but I'll be watching the news as closely as I can.

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