Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Power, Limitless Power

Traffic on our auction site is continuing to grow rapidly. Yesterday was its fourth busiest ever and there is only one day outside November 2006 in the top ten. This means that we are forever upgrading, tweaking and generally managing our infrastructure.

It is a chore that I could do without to be frank, and this is one of the reasons that I was so intrigued by Amazon's EC2, "a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud", when I blogged about its Beta launch back in August. You can get an idea of how attractive scaleable, pay as you go, access to effectively limitless capacity would be to Coraider by the fact that Bumblebee Auctions served up more than three times as many pages yesterday than it did on August 25, the day that I wrote my post.

For better or worse however we are effectively a Microsoft operation. I speculated that EC2 might provoke a competitive response from Redmond, but we haven't heard anything yet, which is why I was so intrigued to read on the Amazon Web Services blog that someone has succeeded in installing Windows Server 2003 on an Amazon EC2 instance.

There's a how-to document available here. The hack is based round an open source processor emulator called QEMU. I wonder what sort of performance you get. We may well have a little fiddle about with this. I would love to push our apps out into the cloud if I could be certain we could get reliability and performance. I think it is an idea whose time has come.

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