Hey Ning. You guys better watch out. Amazon is gunning for you!
I heard about this last week and was hella impressed.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.
Just as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) enables storage in the cloud, Amazon EC2 enables “compute” in the cloud. Amazon EC2′s simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon’s proven computing environment. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing you to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you actually use.
I wonder how virtual this really is. While you can emulate a CPU you really can’t emulate the transactions per second of a physical hard drive. This is my biggest bottleneck right now actually.
This should be a very viable option for a lot of smaller Web 2.0 applications (assuming you trust Amazon).
I’ll probably blog about this more tomorrow.