Posts Tagged ‘amazon’

Make your Site Faster with Amazon S3 and a CDN

February 28th, 2013 Comments off

Improve Site Performance

Are you looking for a good way to speed your website up and save money at the same time? If so, you may consider using Amazon S3 with a CDN (Content Delivery Network).  Both of these services use distributed servers to reduce latency and load time.  The Amazon S3 service works as hosting for your websites data, while the CDN caches that data on servers throughout the world to allow for fast access to the sites files, regardless of location.

Faster File Storage

Amazon S3 is the file storage solution that Amazon uses for its own site, which receives amake your site faster with amazon s3n enormous amount of traffic each day.  A greater number of servers allows for more visitors to access a site at the same time.  This is great, especially for those who are located somewhere near the region of the Amazon servers.  But for those people accessing the site from abroad, there may be a bit more latency and a bit less responsiveness from the site.

Worldwide Content Distribution

The way to ensure that data is delivered fast to anyone and everyone is to use a content deliver network to cache files on servers worldwide.  Instead of every single request going through the Amazon servers in one location, files can be accessed from a variety of servers, by a variety of visitors, from multiple locations instantaneously.

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Amazon Redshift – Datawarehouse in the Clouds

February 16th, 2013 Comments off

Amazon announced Redshift this week. Actually, they announced the general availability. They announced that it was coming late last year.

Redshift is the new service that leverages the amazon AWS infrastructure so that you can deploy a data warehouse. I’m not yet convinced that I would want my production data warehouse on AWS, but I can really see the use in a dev and test environment, especially for integration testing.

According to Amazon: Amazon Redshift is a fast, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service that makes it simple and cost-effective to efficiently analyze all your data using your existing business intelligence tools. It is optimized for datasets ranging from a few hundred gigabytes to a petabyte or more and costs less than $1,000 per terabyte per year, a tenth the cost of most traditional data warehousing solutions.

A terabyte warehouse for less than $1,000 per year. That is fantastic. For one financial services firm were I created a 16TB warehouse, the price for hardware and database licensing was several million dollars. That was just startup costs. Renewing licenses per year ran into the 10s of thousands of dollars.

Redshift offers optimized query and IO performance for large workloads. They provide columnar storage, compression and parallelization to allow the service to scale to petabytes sizes.

I think one of the interesting specs is that it can use the standards Postgres drivers. I don’t see anywhere, yet, where they say specifically that this was built on Postgres, but I am inferring that.

Pricing starts at $0.85 per hour but with reserved pricing, you can get that down to $0.228 per hour. That brings it down to sub-$1000 per year. You just can’t compete with this on price in your own data center.

IF you want to scale to petabyte, you need to have petabyte in place. In your data center, that is going to cost you a fortune. Once again, AWS takes the first step into moving an entire architecture into the cloud. Is anyone else offering anything close to this?  I guess Oracle’s cloud offering is the closest, but, as far as I know, they are not promoting warehouse size instances yet.

Did I say it’s scalable?

Scalable – With a few clicks of the AWS Management Console or a simple API call, you can easily scale the number of nodes in your data warehouse up or down as your performance or capacity needs change. Amazon Redshift enables you to start with as little as a single 2TB XL node and scale up all the way to a hundred 16TB 8XL nodes for 1.6PB of compressed user data. Amazon Redshift will place your existing cluster into read-only mode, provision a new cluster of your chosen size, and then copy data from your old cluster to your new one in parallel. You can continue running queries against your old cluster while the new one is being provisioned. Once your data has been copied to your new cluster, Amazon Redshift will automatically redirect queries to your new cluster and remove the old cluster.

Redshift is SQL bases so you can access it with your normal tools. It is fully managed so backups and other admin concerns are automatic and automated. I’m not sure what tools you can use to design your database schemas. Since the database supports columnar data stores, I’m not sure what tools will build the tables. Your data is replicated around multiple nodes so your tool would need to be aware of that also.

You can also use Amazon RDS, map reduce or DymanoDB to source data. You can also pull data directly from S3. All in all, I’m pretty excited to see this offering. I hope I get a client who wants to take a shot at this. I like working on AWS anyway but I would love to work on a Redshift gig.




Amazon lowers EC prices again

February 2nd, 2013 Comments off

Amazon has reduced their on demand EC2 prices. This applies to instances running Linux and is pretty much across the board as far as the type of instance. All M1 (first gen), M2 (high memory), M3 (second gen) and C1 (high CPU) instances are affected.

The reductions average 10-20%.

Here’s a table from the Amazon AWS blog.


  Savings (%)
Region M1 M2 M3 C1 Medium C1 Extra Large
 US East (Northern Virginia) 7.7% 8.9% 13.8% 12.1% 12.1%
 US West (Northern California) 27.7% 9.1% 11.3% 11.3%
 US West (Oregon) 7.7% 8.9% 12.1% 12.1%
 AWS GovCloud (US) 22.3% 9.3% 9.8% 9.8%
 Europe (Ireland) 23.5% 9.1% 11.3% 11.3%
 Asia Pacific (Singapore) 5.9% 2.2% 1.6% 1.9%
 Asia Pacific (Tokyo) 4.3% 2.5% 2.6% 2.6%
 Asia Pacific (Sydney) 5.9% 2.2% 1.6% 1.9%
 South America (São Paulo) 30.4% 20.6% 13.0% 13.0%

They are also reducing data transfer prices. This reduction only applies in region to region data transfers and not to internet connected transfers. So, if you are redundant between multiple regions (say, for failover), maintaining that redundancy is now cheaper. Moving from one region into another region was already free. This is relates to the price you pay for data leaving a region.


Here’s the table from the same post as above.

Region Old Price / GB New Price / GB Savings
US East (Northern Virginia) $0.120 $0.020 83%
US West (Northern California) $0.120 $0.020 83%
US West (Oregon) $0.120 $0.020 83%
AWS GovCloud (US) $0.155 $0.030 81%
Europe (Ireland) $0.120 $0.020 83%
Asia Pacific (Singapore) $0.190 $0.090 53%
Asia Pacific (Tokyo) $0.200 $0.090 55%
Asia Pacific (Sydney) $0.190 $0.140 26%
South America (São Paulo) $0.250 $0.160 36%

The data transfer is not just EC2. It applies to EC2, S3, Glacier, and CloudFront.

Jeff Bezos provides an example savings:

Let’s work through an example to see what this means in practice. Suppose you are delivering 100 TB of content per month to your users, with a 10% cache miss rate (90% of the requests are delivered from a cached copy in a CloudFront edge location), and that this content comes from the Standard or Europe (Ireland) Amazon S3 Region. The cost of your origin fetches (from CloudFront to S3) will drop from $1,228.68 to $204.80, an 83% reduction.


Amazon AWS was pretty much the first and is still the eader, both in functionality and price. I do 99% of my cloud computing there.


PayPhrase Attacks Paypal! News at 11.

October 29th, 2009 2 comments

Ok, now they’ve gone and done it. Amazon just doesn’t know when to quit. Is there a web service they don’t want to own? I josh. I like Amazon and like to see them put new and useful services out there and I am a big proponent of competition. I think competition is good for everyone as long as it doesn’t become predatory.

Now, Amazon has been going after Paypal for a while now with Amazon Checkout. But now, they have made this a super simple, no login, purchase tool with PayPhrase – the easy-to-remember shortcut for paying on and other websites.

According to Amazon,

PayPhrase links your payment and shipping information with a simple phrase that you choose. With PayPhrase, you no longer have to register or share credit card information with multiple web sites.

With Amazon Checkout, my info is stored and some kind of token is exchanged with a vendor so my personal information doesn’t need to be. I like Paypal and use it fairly heavily when paying for things on the internet. I also like Amazon and even have an Amazon credit card. I think I buy something from them at least once a month. Now, I don’t even need to login.

The cool thing about PayPhrase is the control you can put on an account. You can give your kid access and set spending limits and have it send you order approval notifications. Man, I need that for XBox Live! You can use it to give your kids an allowance. Set them up with a PayPhrase using your credit information and then set a monthly limit. Sweet!

There is no way that PayPhrase is as widely supported as Paypal right now. Amazon CheckOut market share has got to be minimal compared to PayPal. Have to see how well it spreads over time. For a developer or merchant already on AWS, it’s kind of a no brainer to include this. They already have some merchants using PayPhrase: DKNY, Jockey, Patagonia,, J&R Electronics, and Car Toys to name a few.

If you sign up, the system will generate a phrase for you. I didn’t like mine as there is no way I would ever remember it. They also list some suggestions but I didn’t like those. Almost every suggestion included the word “bread”. They trying to tell me something? I swear I’ve cut back on the carbs!

It must be at least two words and contain no numbers. This is NOT a password. It is a pass phrase.

Once you’ve chosen your phrase, you also have to enter a pin number (4 digits). When complete you verify your credit card and payment info and then you are the proud owner of a new PayPhrase.

Be interesting to see if they make any kind of a dent in PayPal. This is a service of Amazon Checkout which is a sub-service of Amazon Payments. I don’t believe PayPhrase is an additional fee on top of CheckOut. CheckOut has very reasonable pricing.

Take care,


Categories: cloud data Tags: , , ,

Amazon EC2 Price DEcrease and bigger boxes!

October 28th, 2009 Comments off

AWS Price Decrease

Upcoming Price Changes

Effective November 1, 2009, we will be lowering prices for all On-Demand instances. The tables below show the existing and future On-Demand prices.

How often does a vendor REDUCE their prices, and thereby lowering your bill, without some nasty contract renegotiation? In my experience, never. One more reason to really like Amazon’s web services.

Starting November 1, 2009, EC2 prices are dropping 15% across the board (for linux AMIs). For a small image, that means a drop from $0.10/hour to $0.085/hour, large is going from $0.4/hour to $0.34/hour and the extra large are going from $0.8/hour to $0.68/hour. For a business using several instances (usually in the large and extra-large capacities), this could be a significant savings over time. Think about – a 15% reduction and you don’t have to do anything to get it.

Data transfer and storage stay the same so it’s not a complete 15% reduction in your entire bill. I still think this is a significant poke at Microsoft and others getting into the cloud market. Windows AMIs are being reduced to but at a smaller percentage. For example, the Extra Large windows instance is dropping from $1.00/hour to $0.98/hour.

I need a bigger box!

Amazon has added some new server sizes to the farm. I love the names. Remember double, extra top secret (I think that was from Get Smart). Let’s try these names on for size. Amazon is added in the Double Extra Large High-Memory On-Demand Instance and Quadruple Extra Large High-Memory On-Demand Instance. Say that 5 times real fast.

These puppies are not cheap: $1.20/hour and $2.40/hour, respectively. They are, however, beefy!

High-Memory Double Extra Large Instance

34.2 GB of memory
13 EC2 Compute Units (4 virtual cores with 3.25 EC2 Compute Units each)
850 GB of instance storage
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: High

High-Memory Quadruple Extra Large Instance

68.4 GB of memory
26 EC2 Compute Units (8 virtual cores with 3.25 EC2 Compute Units each)
1690 GB of instance storage
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: High


Take care,