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cloud computing Archive
Google has just started informing developers who use Google App Engine that the service will be leaving preview mode in late September. I’ve included parts of the email received by developer Darren Stuart below. From viewing the new pricing link, it appears that the cloud services offered by Google will now be known as, “Google Cloud Services”.
The biggest change comes to the pricing model in which Google notes, “…this includes lowering the free quotas for all Apps. Almost all applications will be billed more under the new pricing. Once App Engine leaves preview this pricing will immediately go into effect..” Pricing will fall into three tiers: free, paid and premium. The paid plan will be $9/app and the premium plan will be $500/account. It is important that if you use Google Cloud Services/App Engine that you review the pricing because Google notes that the pricing will go into effect immediately once the preview mode is turned off in September.
Some important bits from the email:
- “In May at Google I/O we announced that Google App Engine would be leaving Preview status later this year. As part of Google’s long-term commitment to App Engine, we are also updating our policies, pricing and support model to reflect its status as a fully supported Google product. We plan to roll this out in the second half of September but we wanted to let you know what this will mean for you and your App Engine applications.”
- “App Engine has a 3 year deprecation policy. This policy applies to the entire App Engine platform with the exception of “trusted tester” and “experimental” APIs.”
- “We are introducing new Premier Accounts that will have access to Operational Support, invoice-based billing, and allow companies to create as many applications as they need for $500 per account per month (plus usage fees).”
Google has created an optimization faq to help you streamline your apps to keep the costs down. There is also a billing faq to help understand the new pricing model. Google is also offering a $50 credit if you modify your budget or setup billing on your Google Cloud Services/App Engine account.
On Tuesday morning, hosting service Media Temple was out of service while the company dealt with a DNS resolution issue. Media Temple staff provided an overview of what happened in the comments section of my post.
Now today Amazon Web Services is down — actually only parts of the Amazon Web Services cloud computing offering is down. I use their S3 storage service and that is up and running. As of 9:00AM Eastern, the following message provides the current status related to the downtime, “6:09 AM PDT EBS API errors and volume latencies in the affected availability zone remain. We are continuing to work towards resolution.”
It’s interesting to watch bloggers including Martin Bryant and Mike Butcher only point to the same set of sites (Quora, Foursquare, Reddit and Hootsuite) that use Amazon’s EC2 and are down. There are plenty of other sites that are down including Easybib, a site run by a close friend of mine that is the largest online bibliography site in the world. And Easybib is just one example of time-critical services that are affected. So while it’s easy for us to look at a few social media services that are affected, just think about all of the business, professional and utility services that are also currently down.
Update 10am Eastern – it looks like the problems are expanding – here’s the latest update:
6:59 AM PDT There has been a moderate increase in error rates for CreateVolume. This may impact the launch of new EBS-backed EC2 instances in multiple availability zones in the US-EAST-1 region. Launches of instance store AMIs are currently unaffected. We are continuing to work on resolving this issue.
7:40 AM PDT In addition to the EBS volume latencies, EBS-backed instances in the US-EAST-1 region are failing at a high rate. This is due to a high error rate for creating new volumes in this region.
You can follow the updates around the Amazon EC2 issues on the Amazon Health Dashboard. As with all downtime, please feel free to report in the comments if your site is down due to the Amazon issue.
Earlier today Amazon announced the launch of their Cloud Drive service. Amazon describes the service, “these services (Cloud Drive plus their player apps for web and Android) enable customers to securely store music in the cloud and play it on any Android phone, Android tablet, Mac or PC, wherever they are. Customers can easily upload their music library to Amazon Cloud Drive and can save any new Amazon MP3 purchases directly to their Amazon Cloud Drive for free.”
MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka notes that the launch, “isn’t earth shaking”.
The Amazon Cloud Drive service comes with 5GB of storage at no cost. You can upgrade to 20GB for $20/year, 50Gb for $50/year and up to 1TB for $1,000/year. If you purchase a MP3 album on Amazon, you get a one-year upgrade to the 20GB level for free.
Here’s how to get the upgrade to 20Gb for only $0.69 — purchase the Trouty Mouth Glee album on Amazon. If Glee isn’t your cup of tea, you could purchase a Beethoven album for $0.89. The Glee album is already up to the #6 paid MP3 album on Amazon – let’s see if we can push it to #1!
The upgrade should be instantly added after you purchase an album. Here’s the email I received after I purchased the Beethoven album, “Thanks to your recent purchase of an Amazon MP3 album, you have qualified for a free year of the Amazon Cloud Drive 20 GB storage plan starting today for one year. You can find details about Cloud Drive at: (url removed). This storage plan is not set to renew automatically and will be reverted back to the free 5 GB plan at the end of the promotion. If you have already upgraded your Amazon Cloud Drive account to a paid storage plan of 20 GB or higher when you qualified for this offer, this offer has been saved to your account as a $20 credit toward future Amazon Cloud Drive fees you may incur due to the renewal or upgrade of your existing plan. If you elect to downgrade your plan to a free plan at the time of renewal, your upgrade offer will be automatically applied to the 20 GB plan at that time.”
Continue reading “Here’s How To Get a 20GB Amazon Cloud Drive for $0.69” »
Amazon Web Services has announced the launch of CloudFormation today. No we are not talking about cirrus clouds here. The blog post announcing the launch, written by Amazon’s Jeff Barr, talks about baking and recipes and the difference between a cook and a baker. I guess today if you use Amazon Web Services, you can become a baker.
Becoming a baker means, “you can create an entire stack with one function call.” You setup a template of services and then when you run the job, Amazon will create and setup everything to your recipe. The recipe can include pretty much all of Amazon Web Services offerings including EC2, load balancers, Simple DB, SQS (Simple Queue Service), SNS (Simple Notification Service), etc. The template is written in JSON.
The blog post provides a sample template which “bakes” a WordPress setup on Amazon Web Services. It appears that if your goal is to run WordPress on Amazon, you could use their template, make your specific changes, and be up and running in minutes.
Jeff has another blog post showing how the CloudFormation process works within the admin console. Some of the sample templates include: Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, PHP Hello World and Rails Hello World applications.
One of the things I like about Amazon Web Services (that’s the cloud computing division of Amazon) is how often they add new features and options to the various services under the umbrella of Amazon Web Services. I’ve also noticed a bunch of small UI improvements over the past few weeks. And unlike other cloud computing vendors, they continue to work to lower the prices of their services.
Today Amazon announced the launch of Multipart Upload for the S3 storage service. As an aside, this reminds me of using newsgroups in the mid-1990s where you would download 180 parts to get one image of Cindy Crawford. The Multipart Upload allows you to upload large files in parts and then Amazon puts the pieces together to create the final file. Amazon says this new feature is great for uploading multiple parts of the one file at the same time, ability to pause and resume and upload and also the ability to upload a file of unknown size.
You can find out more about using the new Multipart Upload with Java, .NET and PHP on the Amazon developer documentation site. The Multipart Upload also works with the REST API. If reading documentation isn’t your style, there’s also a demo webcast next week.
Today Amazon has launched a new version of their EC2 server — the “micro instance”.
Amazon’s Jeff Barr explains how the Micro instances work, “Micro Instances (t1.micro) provide a small amount of consistent CPU resources and allow you to burst CPU capacity when additional cycles are available. They are available now in all Regions. You can buy Reserved Micro Instances and you can acquire Micro Instances on the Spot Market. Interestingly enough, they are available in both 32 and 64 bit flavors, both with 613 MB of RAM. The Micro Instances have no local, ephemeral storage, so you’ll need to Boot from EBS.”
It looks like the Micro instances could also be a good option for starting with EC2 as you can always move to one of the larger server offerings if the need arises.
Jeff also notes that the Micro instances could be used for non-traditional uses including:
- DNS servers, load balancers, proxies, and similar services that handle a relatively low volume of requests.
- Lightweight cron-driven tasks such as monitoring, health checks, or data updates.
- Hands-on training and other classroom use.
Pricing for the Micro instances starts at $0.02 (two cents) per hour for Linux/Unix and $0.03 (three cents) per hour for Windows.
Amazon Web Services keeps reducing pricing on their cloud computing services. This past June they reduced pricing on their cloudfront CDN offering. Today they announced a reduction of up to 19% on High Memory Double Extra Large (m2.2xlarge) and Quadruple Extra Large (m2.4xlarge) instances for Linux/UNIX and Windows. These server instances are part of Amazon’s EC2 offering.
From the announcement, “Effective immediately, we have lowered the On-Demand and Reserved prices for High Memory Double Extra Large (m2.2xlarge) and Quadruple Extra Large (m2.4xlarge) instances for Linux/UNIX and Windows by up to 19%. If you have existing Reserved Instances, your hourly usage rate starting September 1st will be lowered to the new usage rate and your estimated bill will reflect these changes later this month. We continuously strive to be more efficient, and are excited to pass cost savings on to you in the form of lower prices.”
To-date I’ve been pleased with my experiences using a variety of Amazon’s cloud computing services. The only area I would suggest for improvement is to create a customer service group that’s as good and responsive as the main Amazon customer service group.