Running Ubuntu 9.10 under Amazon's Elastic Cloud
Amazon EC2 Economics
Amazon's servers are priced on an hourly basis, for every hour the instance is running. The baseline server, otherwise known as the “small” configuration, is basically a Xen virtual machine with 1.7GB of RAM, one core of CPU measuring one EC2 unit (approximately a 1.7GHz CPU) and 160GB of storage. The “large” configuration is 7.5GB of RAM, two cores with two EC2 units each and 850GB of storage. The small instance is $0.085 per hour, and the large instance is $0.34 per hour. Amazon also charges for data sent and received. Incoming data is billed at $0.10 per GB, and outgoing data is billed at $0.17 per GB. Larger plans are available for more compute-intensive applications, but the cost for those is even higher. This means that the average small instance probably will run around $70 per month to operate, and the large instance will run somewhere around $250 per month. Of course, this also depends on the amount of bandwidth consumed. Although the monthly costs are a little on the pricey side, there are no setup fees, equipment maintenance costs or capital expenses needed to run this solution. EC2 isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, but it may make sense for some applications.
How Can I Figure My Costs, Exactly?
It's rather tough to nail down cost for an EC2 instance, as it depends on things like bandwidth. However, there is a small dashboard-like application you can install that can help you track your costs. The package byobu (formerly known as screen-profiles) can help. After apt-getting byobu and running byobu, you'll get a screen session with a small two-line dashboard at the bottom of your terminal window. To add the EC2 information, press the F9 key to bring up the byobu menu, select Toggle Status Notifications, then select the ec2_cost notifier, and press Apply. Then you'll have a neat little running total of the approximate cost for your EC2 instance, as shown in Figure 2. You can see this particular run cost me 40 cents! Byobu has all kinds of other useful little widgets too; check it out if you do a lot of management via a terminal.
Ubuntu EC2 Starters Guide: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/EC2StartersGuide
Amazon AWS Portal: aws.amazon.com
Amazon EC2 Signup: aws.amazon.com/ec2
Amazon EC2 Getting Started Guide: docs.amazonwebservices.com/AWSEC2/latest/GettingStartedGuide
Amazon EC2 API/Management Tools: developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/entry.jspa?externalID=351&categoryID=88
Ubuntu EC2 Image List: uec-images.ubuntu.com/releases/karmic/release
Bill Childers is an IT Manager in Silicon Valley, where he lives with his wife and two children. He enjoys Linux far too much, and probably should get more sun from time to time. In his spare time, he does work with the Gilroy Garlic Festival, but he does not smell like garlic.
Bill Childers is the Virtual Editor for Linux Journal. No one really knows what that means.
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