Cross-Region EC2 AMI Copy Comes to Amazon Web Services

Cloud GraphicThe recent shutdown of GoDaddy’s cloud product shows how hard it can be for even a well-funded cloud infrastructure start-up to compete against the behemoth that is Amazon Web Services (AWS). From the biggest names in tech (Netflix, Reddit) to some of the smallest, companies depend on AWS to power their cloud server infrastructure. However, even as Amazon dominates the market, they are not resting on their laurels, introducing new features and price drops nearly every week.

Amazon’s latest announcement is the ability to copy EC2 AMIs across different AWS regions, allowing server administrators to store these server images in different regions. Why is this important? Take the recent outage that took down Netflix and several other large websites. The outage affected Amazon’s US-East region, but many other regions exist across the world, and those regions were still online.

For the small guys that can’t afford a full sys ops team, keeping EC2 AMI images on standby in other regions can allow for a quick failover with minimal cost. You only pay for the size of your AMI images, and can bring servers online only if they are needed. (Databases are another story, and may require some multi-master replication strategies, but that’s another blog post.)

At Hollow Developers, our mission-critical applications are hosted on AWS with a hot backup waiting to go online at a separate hosting company in case of an AWS failure. As AWS offerings continue to increase as prices decrease, the choice of hosting the hot backup in a different AWS region is tempting.  For instance, it is much easier and cheaper to interact in one ecosystem rather than multiple. However, as rare as it may be, an entire ecosystem could get knocked offline/hacked/etc. As always, it will be interesting to watch the cloud infrastructure competitors duke it out over the next few years & hopefully provide even better solutions that can help websites experience the optimal 100% uptime.

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Great Online Marketing

Philadelphia Cream Cheese – I love it – but I also like their new online marketing campaign.  It is titled ‘Pheel the Moment‘, and is one of the most creative use of Facebook that I have seen in a marketing campaign to date.

Login to the page via Facebook, and the app scans your photo albums to create a custom Flash presentation about different ‘moments’ that the algorithm determines might be important to you.  I was amazed at how accurate it was for me – granted, I don’t post much to Facebook, so when I do, it’s fairly memorable.

From an online marketing strategy standpoint, this campaign has the potential to be really effective – the fact that I’m sharing this with an audience with nothing in it for me is illustrative of this.  I don’t like spamming my friends with marketing, so I didn’t share, but I can see how a lot of people would.  Stepping back and approaching this from an advertiser’s perspective, there are a few pros and cons about this particular campaign.

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Location, Location, Location

Another summer is upon us, and with the nice weather, consumers are bound to be getting out of the house more.  If you own a small business, you may be missing out on an easy, cheap method of bringing in these potential new customers.  You may have heard of FourSquare and Yelp, but how much have you paid attention to services like these?  How much of a return on investment can you experience with a little time?  Follow these three easy steps, and it may surprise you.

Step 1. Most services allow business owners to claim their business listings and administer their page.  A collection of these links are below.  Taking the first step is usually quite easy – once you have claimed your business, you can start to engage with current and future customers.  (Limited time?  Start with Google Places – the name is synonymous with search, and gives you a great advantage in Google Search rankings!)

Step 2.  Once your business is claimed, you usually have the opportunity to create a special and post it.  In 10-15 minutes, you can create a special that can be used to attract new and retain current customers.

Step 3.  Continue to cultivate these listings and engage with your customers.

Need some advice?  Hollow Developers specializes in setting up small businesses with websites and helping to manage these location-based services.  Contact us with a short overview of your business, and what you want to accomplish.  We will work with you to establish your online presence and get the customers you deserve.

Claim Your Business

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