Thursday, September 21, 2006

Floating through the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud

I have been at it again - OCD. My friend "lent" me his AWS account and I have been obsessively experimenting with Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2. You can provision a Linux instance in a few minutes by choosing from Amazon's default image menu -- which I see growing, or you can build your own private image by either modifying a default image or build a brand new image on your Linux machine.

I love the fact that I can organize a bunch on different images on Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and provision a machine whenever I need to.

My QA team is responsible for testing our SOA/WebServices Gateway with a number of integration points such as Identity Server (LDAP, AD, SiteMinder, ClearTrust, TAM) for Web Service Authentication and Authorization, Database Servers (MySQL, Oracle, DB2, etc.) for Archiving and a number of App/Web Servers (Apache, WebLogic, WebSphere, etc.). And all of this across different versions.

Needless to say, our testing infrastructure is large, complex and expensive. It is going to save us a "crap" load of time & money by storing images on S3 and provisioning the "required" images when needed. I can hear the silence of all those sever fans in our labs now. The noise reduction itself is worth a premium.

And when my Field Engineers have to demonstrate how well our product (Forum Sentry) integrates with the IT assets in a corporate ecosystem, all they have to do is instantiate the clean, tuned, tested components imaged on S3. No more running around the day before trying to install WebSphere, or TAM. I will pay to see someone install some of these components on their demo laptops within a day.

Next steps -- using EC2 WSDL API along with the S3 WSDL API.

Stay tuned, my OCD stems from the thrill of being able to start 10 instance of MySQL with one command (ec2-run-instances).

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