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Amazon's EC2 Switches from Beta to Production

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 Amazon's EC2 services are no longer offered as beta, but they have been switched into production, Amazon offering a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Windows is offered as beta.

Amazon has recently announced the availability of its EC2 services as production, removing the "beta" label used so far. The main change is the introduction of a SLA which guarantees availability of the service 99.95% of the time. A customer can file a claim if the service drops under the 99.95% threshold, and becomes eligible to service credits. More details on the service level agreement can be found on Amazon's SLA page.

Microsoft Windows and Microsoft SQL Server are made available as beta. Currently, EC2 supports Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server Standard 2005 and SQL Server Express. Windows Server 2008 is not available yet. SQL Server Express, Microsoft IIS and ASP.NET can be used along with Windows Server 2003 without an additional cost, but using SQL Server Standard 2005 costs extra. The license for using Windows is higher than using Linux.

For example, Linux/Unix vs. Windows Server 2003:

Instance Linux/Unix Windows Windows with Authentication
Default $0.1/h $0.125/h $0.25/h
High CPU Extra Large $0.8/h $1.2/h $2/h

There is an additional cost for using SQL Server Standard 2005, while using open source databases with Linux is free:

Instance Windows Windows with Authentication
Standard Large $1.10/h $1.35/h
Standard Extra Large $2.20/h $2.70/h
High CPU Extra Large $2.40/h $3.20/h

Amazon also announced the intent on making the following features available in the near future:

Management Console - The management console will simplify the process of configuring and operating your applications in the AWS cloud. You'll be able to get a global picture of your cloud computing environment using a point-and-click web interface.

Load Balancing - The load balancing service will allow you to balance incoming requests and traffic across multiple EC2 instances.

Automatic Scaling - The auto-scaling service will allow you to grow and shrink your usage of EC2 capacity on demand based on application requirements.

Cloud Monitoring - The cloud monitoring service will provide real time, multi-dimensional monitoring of host resources across any number of EC2 instances, with the ability to aggregate operational metrics across instances, Availability Zones, and time slots.

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