A lot of people have been writing about how cool the Amazon EC2 service is -- and it is. On his blog, Mike Nicholls does a particularly good job of explaining the advantages EC2 gives to start-ups and entrepreneurs in cost-effectively and easily scaling their business.
I agree with every word Mike says, but there are is a major issue he does not address. It is that even if you have a cost-effectively scalable infrastructure, the fact remains that you need to build your app in a way that it can easily scale-out across many machines -- and grow (preferably linearly), as needed. This is a particularly big challenge when you are trying to build stateful, low-latency or data-intensive applications (or a combination thereof).
For those who have been following this blog, or GigaSpaces in general, you know that it is exactly that challenge we are addressing with Space-Based Architecture and the GigaSpaces eXtreme Application Platform.
Now, we are marrying the two together -- the scalable cost-effective infrastructure of Amazon EC2 with the linear scalability of Space-Based Architecture, including for stateful, high-performance apps. You can utilize the full benefits of SBA, or just the In-Memory Data Grid.
Dekel Tankel and Alon Lahav in my team at GigaSpaces have been doing a great job on this and just today made available a public AMI (Amazon Machine Image) for the GigaSpaces XAP platform. We're still working on improvements and optimizations, but it is ready for people to start playing around with.
- You can find the GigaSpaces AMI here.
- General description in the Amazon Web Services Solution Catalog here.
- Detailed paper with set up instructions and code examples here (PDF).
We're already working with a couple of beta customers on EC2, including some folks who are building a Web 2.0 social networking type site.
And as Luke Flemmer at Lab49 points out, it's a great environment for testing distributed apps.
So please try it out and let me know what you think (and remember it's kinda beta-ish).