Amazon Announces AWS Storage Gateway

Posted in: Cloud Computing

Today in an email to existing AWS customers, Amazon introduced a service known as AWS Storage Gateway which is an on-premise software appliance allowing customers to easily transfer data from on-premise storage to S3. This service could be used for offsite backup and capacity augmentation among other use cases.

From the email:

We’re excited to introduce the AWS Storage Gateway, a service that provides a new option to securely upload data to the AWS cloud for scalable, reliable, cost-effective storage.

The AWS Storage Gateway connects an on-premises software appliance with cloud-based storage for seamless integration between on-premises IT environments and AWS storage. The service supports a standard iSCSI interface, enabling you to take advantage of cloud based storage without re-architecting existing applications. The AWS Storage Gateway provides low-latency performance by maintaining data in your on-premises storage hardware while asynchronously uploading data over SSL to AWS, where it is encrypted and securely stored in the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

The AWS Storage Gateway enables you to securely upload your data to the AWS cloud for cost-effective backup, storing point-in-time snapshots of your on-premises application data in Amazon S3 for future recovery. Your data in Amazon S3 is stored as Amazon EBS snapshots, which you can restore on-premises using the AWS Management Console.

The AWS Storage Gateway also makes it easy to leverage the on-demand capacity of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for additional capacity during peak periods, as a more cost-effective way to run normal enterprise workloads, or for disaster recovery purposes. You can create Amazon EBS volumes from the snapshots you’ve taken using the AWS Storage Gateway, and attach these volumes to your Amazon EC2 compute instances. Once attached, your Amazon EC2 instances will have access to this data to do any processing or computation.

Pricing for the AWS Storage Gateway is $125/month per activated gateway and comes with a 60 day free trial. Snapshot storage pricing starts at only $0.14 per gigabyte per month.

Here is a video that describes Storage Gateway in more detail.

Degraded Amazon EC2 Instance

Posted in: Cloud Computing

I received an email from Amazon today that I have never seen before. Here it is in its entirety:

Hello,

We have noticed that one or more of your instances is running on a host degraded due to hardware failure.

i-XXXXXXXX

The risk of your instances failing is increased at this point. We cannot determine the health of any applications running on the instances. We recommend that you take appropriate action.

If your instance was launched from an EBS-backed AMI, issuing a stop and start from the AWS Management Console will migrate your instance to new hardware and help avoid any unforeseen downtime.

For more options to stop and start your instance please see:

http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/starting-stopping-instances.html

If your instance was launched from an instance store-backed AMI, you should launch a replacement instance from your most recent AMI and migrate all necessary data to the replacement instance.

Should have you have any additional questions, we offer AWS Basic Support via our Community Forums for free, or Premium Support for one-on-one assistance direct from an AWS Developer Support Engineer at http://aws.amazon.com/support.

Sincerely,

The Amazon EC2 Team

So I dutifully went and followed the instructions and stopped and started (not just rebooted) the specified instance using the EC2 Web Management Console.

PROBLEM: The instance came back up as expected in the Web Management Console, however I could not ping it or SSH to it or connect to it in any way for that matter using my DNS name. I could however connect to it using the Amazon assigned public DNS name. It took me a few minutes to figure it out (all the while my site was down of course), but I eventually noticed that the Elastic IP address assigned to that instance was no longer shown in the instance details view. I went over to the Elastic IP management screen and sure enough that Elastic IP address was shown as not being associated with any instances. I reassigned the Elastic IP address to the instance and a few moments later, everything was back up and running.

CONCLUSION: This scenario is exactly why you need to be using an Elastic Block Storage (EBS) backed EC2 instance for any of your important servers, so in the event that the hardware fails, your actual server image is still safe and can be restored on other hardware. It also proves that while “the cloud” is awesome, it can fail and you need to be prepared for it. Also, one last curious piece about Elastic IP addresses becoming disassociated with instances – not sure if this is related to the hardware failure, or to the stop/start of the instance, but definitely something to keep an eye out for in the future.

Java PaaS Vendor Survey – September 2011 (YouTube)

Posted in: Cloud Computing, Enterprise Java

Amazon Web Services: 15 Ways It Makes Cloud App Development Easier

Posted in: Cloud Computing

Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides one of the most popular infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud platforms around. Since 2006, AWS has provided companies of all sizes with an infrastructure Web services platform in the cloud. With AWS, users can requisition compute power, storage and other services, and gain access to a suite of elastic IT infrastructure services as their needs increase or decrease. In addition, AWS gives developers the flexibility to choose whichever development platform or programming model makes the most sense for the problems they’re trying to solve. Users pay only for what they use, with no up-front expenses or long-term commitments, which makes AWS a cost-effective way to deliver applications to customers and clients. AWS also allows users to take advantage of Amazon.com’s global computing infrastructure that is the backbone of Amazon.com’s multibillion-dollar retail business and transactional enterprise—the scalable, reliable and secure distributed computing infrastructure that has been honed for more than a decade. Although AWS does not have a specific developer program, the company continues to offer new services and offerings that benefit developers. These include Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Relational Database Service and Amazon Elastic Beanstalk. Amazon EC2 celebrated its fifth birthday on Aug. 25. Here, eWEEK looks at the ways AWS makes it easier for developers as they move to the cloud.

via Amazon Web Services: 15 Ways It Makes Cloud App Development Easier – Cloud Computing – News & Reviews – eWeek.com.