Q&A: What Do People Use Amazon EC2 For?

Question by : What do people use Amazon EC2 for?
What do you use Amazon EC2 for? Can you earn money somehow by sharing files (not even sure that’s what it’s for) or do you pay Amazon for some service? I’ve just began exploring cloud computing so please keep in mind that I know almost NOTHING about what it is, don’t get in too much detail. I just want to know what people use it for day-to-day and what potential it has for people who want to share files or servers or whatever. Thanks a lot

Best answer:

Answer by Ratchetr
EC2 lets you run 1 or more “computers” in the cloud. Suppose you want a server, a dedicated server, not a shared hosting service. You can go to BestBuy and buy a desktop machine, and try to make it a server. Ok for small ventures, but not for an real business. So maybe you would go to HP or Dell or someone and buy a rack mount server. You’ll spend a bunch of money, and a bunch of time setting that all up, right? But in the end you’ll have a server.

Or, you can fire up an EC2 instance. Instead of having a box with a monitor and a keyboard, you’ll have to connect to it using Remote Desktop if it’s Windows, or SSH if it’s linux. Instead of paying big bucks up front to BestBuy or Dell or HP, you’ll pay Amazon an hourly fee for running your machine.

You can only make money doing it if you already have an idea for making money if you have a server at your disposal. If you don’t have a money making idea, then no…you won’t make money. Amazon will. If you do have an idea for making money, then you would have to do the math to see if EC2 is more economical than the alternatives.

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One Response to “Q&A: What Do People Use Amazon EC2 For?”

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  1. mdigitale says:

    Amazon discovered that a significant amount of their sales occur during the holiday season. In order to adequately meet the high demands for these online transactions, they have invested heavily in various Internet resources (servers, bandwidth, etc.) This is great for Amazon because their website continues to run very quickly even when under heavy use. This means their online shoppers are happy because they don’t have to wait forever for searches to complete, pages to load, etc., etc. Happy shoppers are more prone to stay on your website longer and therefore a better chance of selling more to them.

    Well that is all great during the busy holiday season, but these Internet resources are not free — and most of them are not needed during the rest of the year. What do do? Amazon created EC2 to allow you (or whoever) to rent the use of their servers. This keeps their investment profitable during the “down” time of the year.

    So yes, it is a service that you rent from Amazon. I have never used EC2 as I am involved with another Cloud Platform.

    Who will subscribe to this service? Typically people that have a service of their own where the concurrent user base grows and shrinks in a relatively short period of time. You end up paying for what resources you use as you use them. This means if you typically have 20 people using your service they will all have a great experience and you will be paying next to nothing because generally 20 people do not incur a lot of usage (of course this depends on the nature of your service). However, if tomorrow you expectantly have 100,000,000 users, those users will all have a great experience with your service (if you coded it correctly) and you will pay a much higher bill for their usage (capped at whatever your agreement is)

    This is in contrast to a traditional approach where you might buy (or rent) a dedicated server and the 20 users are enjoying your service, but the server is really capable of serving 500 people… you’re only using a fraction of the resource but paying for everything. Now tomorrow when 100,000,000 people hit your site, your dedicated server is DDOS’d of the network and no one can access it.