Amazon adds persistent storage to compute cloud

Amazon has rolled out a persistent storage feature that will allow its cloud computing service to host more types of applications.

Amazon has rolled out a persistent storage feature for its EC2 Elastic Compute Cloud, which should allow developers to use its hosted computing services for a much broader range of applications.

The feature, called Elastic Block Store, allows developers to create a storage volume of between 1G byte and 1T byte and attach it to "instances" of applications running in Amazon's cloud. Developers can then detach the storage volume and use it later for other application instances and back it up to Amazon's S3 storage service if they need more durability.

Without EBS, the storage volume is tied to a particular instance and the data lost when the job is terminated, Amazon said. EBS had been in closed beta testing for several months and was made widely available Thursday.

Right Scale, a company that provides tools and services for EC2 users, described EBS as "a Storage Area Network in the cloud." It said it will open EC2 to new usage scenarios, including allowing developers to take traditional relational database applications and move them to the Amazon cloud.

"What does EBS enable? In short: traditional processing on large datasets and reliable storage for many servers," Right Scale said in a blog posting.

Besides database applications, Amazon said EBS is suitable for "many other applications that require running a file system or access to raw block-level storage." It said multiple storage volumes can be attached to the same application instance, and developers can create "point in time snapshots" of volumes if they are backed up to S3.

EBS is priced at US$0.10 per allocated gigabyte per month, plus $0.10 per 1 million I/O requests made to a volume. So, a 100G-byte Web site database averaging 100 I/O requests per second would cost $36 per month, Amazon said.

The company has been working hard to attract more businesses to its cloud services, but recent outages haven't helped its cause. The S3 storage service was down for several hours last month, for example, which left some customers that depend on the service stranded.

Tags persistent storageamazon

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James Niccolai

IDG News Service

1 Comment

WebDesignMiami

1

Kudos to the Cloud Crowd for Re-Inventing the Wheel!

One thing 30 years in the IT industry has taught me is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Another is that the only memory we seem to access is short-term. A third is that techno-marketeers rely on that, so they can put labels like "revolutionary" and "innovative" on platforms, products and services that are mere re-inventions of the wheel ... and often poor copies at that.

A good example is all the latest buzz about "Cloud Computing" in general and "SaaS" (software as a service) in particular:

http://tinyurl.com/6let8x

Both terms are bogus. The only true cloud computing takes place in aircraft. What they're actually referring to by "the cloud" is a large-scale and often remotely and/or centrally managed hardware platform. We have had those since the dawn of automated IT. IBM calls them "mainframes":

http://tinyurl.com/5kdhcb

The only innovation offered by today's cloud crowd is actually more of a speculation, i.e. that server farms can deliver the same solid performance as Big Iron. And even that's not original. Anyone remember Datapoint's ARCnet, or DEC's VAXclusters? Whatever happened to those guys, anyway...?

And as for SaaS, selling the sizzle while keeping the steak is a marketing ploy most rightfully accredited to society's oldest profession. Its first application in IT was (and for many still is) known as the "service bureau". And I don't mean the contemporary service bureau (mis)conception labelled "Service 2.0" by a Wikipedia contributor whose historical perspective is apparently constrained to four years:

http://tinyurl.com/5fpb8e

Instead, I mean the computer service bureau industry that spawned ADAPSO (the Association of Data Processing Service Organizations) in 1960, and whose chronology comprises a notable part of the IEEE's "Annals of the History of Computing":

http://tinyurl.com/5lvjdl

So ... for any of you slide rule-toting, pocket-protected keypunch-card cowboys who may be just coming out of a fifty-year coma, let me give you a quick IT update:

1. "Mainframe" is now "Cloud" (with concomitant ethereal substance).

2. "Terminal" is now "Web Browser" (with much cooler games, and infinitely more distractions).

3. "Service Bureau" is now "Saas" (but app upgrades are just as painful, and custom mods equally elusive).

4. Most IT buzzwords boil down to techno-hyped BS (just as they always have).

Bruce Arnold, Web Design Miami Florida
http://www.PervasivePersuasion.com

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