I attended the Amazon Web Services Cloud for Start-Ups & Developers Event in London today, there were several really useful talks and a nice run through of some of the newer AWS technologies. Here are my top three picks from the day:
We got some demos of some very solid and practical auto scaling tools. Set some maximum and minimum system sizes, add some CloudWatch monitoring and you can easily create policies for when to have extra resources spun up or dropped out of your cluster. Very useful, very practical, and all bounded by hard limits (just in case your app becomes sentient I guess! #skynet).
Did you know you can bid for time on unused EC2 instances? I didn’t! Set some instance criteria (small / large, high memory / high cpu, etc), nominate a price you are willing to pay per hour, and when an unused instance is available at that price, AWS will spin it up and run your app. Perfect for apps that chug their way through a queue of jobs. Of course, the instance will spin down as soon as it is required by AWS (for a customer paying full price, for example), so it’s not the right way to run your database layer. However, spot instances are perfect for batch processing that is not time critical – like a payroll run, or image stitching. Can’t wait for the right customer app to come along that could use it – it sounds like fun, and has the potential to save the right sort of app a lot of the cost of its processing.
Great talk by Anthony Rose, the CTO of ZeeBox. Not a lot of detail on how they use AWS, but a great app that adds ‘second screen’ functionality and interaction to your tv viewing. I really loved the concept.
All in all, the afternoon was well worth attending. We use a lot of Amazon Web Services technology here at SHS and Amazon’s armoury is constantly expanding. Today was a great way to stay aware of what is coming from the Cloud.