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.

Read More

State of the Union

Technology had some hefty mentions in tonight’s State of the Union. While vague about the details of improving the nation’s technological infrastructure, President Obama did show commitment to investing in the future. The United States has slipped in high speed internet availability, and this must be rectified for continued innovation.

One glaring omission was any mention of “net neutrality”. Recently, the FCC laid out their rules for enforcing neutrality on landlines, but allowed wireless carriers to prioritize and delay traffic at their discretion.  As a small technology company, we want to make sure that the big players in the industry can’t overshadow the small companies.  With the current rules, big players may get preferential treatment.  Innovation comes from both big and small companies, and allowing all companies to have the same guidelines for network traffic will ensure that this continues.

Read More