Looking to spin up a computer in the cloud somewhere but don’t want to spend a bunch of money until you’ve played around for a while? Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud, AWS EC2, gives you a couple of options to start with. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about what EC2 is. I’ve done that plenty here.
First up, if you don’t already have an AWS account, now’s the time. Starting Nov 1, Amazon is offering a free year (with some limitations) of AWS. To get the free service, you must be a new user. Here are some details from Amazon’s page on the free tier service:
To help new AWS customers get started in the cloud, AWS is introducing a new free usage tier. Beginning November 1, new AWS customers will be able to run a free Amazon EC2 Micro Instance for a year, while also leveraging a new free usage tier for Amazon S3, Amazon Elastic Block Store, Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, and AWS data transfer. AWS’s free usage tier can be used for anything you want to run in the cloud: launch new applications, test existing applications in the cloud, or simply gain hands-on experience with AWS.
That’s an awesome deal if you are looking to get started. However, if you are already using AWS and just need to run a dev box or maybe test something out, you can get the micro instances.
A micro instance is a small server, 613MB of Ram, up to 2 ECUs (virtual CPU power) for short durations and storage on EBS.
This isn’t what you would really want to run long term unless maybe you have a small web site or something. Actually, for a small web site, I would host it somewhere and get it a lot cheaper than this. This is really for a short term test or maybe a dev box or two.
The sweet spot on this is the price. Get a linux box for 0.02/hour or a windows box for 0.03/hour. The linux box is $0.48 per day or $14.40 for a 30 day month. That’s crazy cheap for a way to get your hands on some cloud cycles.
If you need a more beefy machine, AWS has lowered prices overall since they got started. You can head over to Amazon to check out the pricing.
It’s a fun time to be a geek isn’t it? 😉