AWS EC2: Cloud Computing By The Hour

Equipment for Servers that Use Amazon WorkSpacesAmazon Web Service’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is at the core of the AWS offerings. EC2 provides users the ability to rent, by the hour, virtual computers to run applications. Virtual machines hosted on EC2 are charged based on usage, by the hour.  As the cloud offers “computing as a utility,” companies only have to pay for what they use – similar to other utility bills such as electric or water.

There are multiple benefits to being able to pay for computing power by the hour. Here are a few of them:

Reduced Costs

One of the most striking (and possibly obvious) benefits of cloud computing by the hour is the reduction in costs. With standard, on premise machines, you pay for upkeep 24/7. Costs include the energy bill for running the servers and other components, the HVAC costs for regulating temperature, and maintenance and monitoring costs (including labor). AWS EC2 only charges you for what you use, which can add up to some major savings in the long run.

Say for instance a company needs major computational power during normal business operating hours. If the computer isn’t being fully utilized past 5 pm, then the company is paying for operating and maintenance costs to run the system while the office is empty. If the office is out for a long weekend or an extended holiday break, then it means the company is spending even more on equipment that is sitting idle.

Help With Monthly/Yearly Budgeting

If you know of the average amount of computing power needed each week or each month, you can better forecast and plan your IT budgets. To help businesses plan for their EC2 costs, Amazon Web Services provides a Simple Monthly Calendar. This calculator factors in different instances, EBS volume, elastic IP addresses and other variables to provide companies with average, projected monthly costs. These figures help immensely when it comes time to plan budgets. They assist in avoiding under-budgeting while also eliminating over-allocation of company resources for specific IT projects. More balanced budgets mean more cost efficiencies for companies.

Assistance with In-Office Green Efforts

If your company has green initiatives to reduce carbon footprint and create more eco-friendly business practices, then cloud computing can help. With the cloud, you don’t have to replace equipment every few years (which is also another cost saving benefit) which reduces electronic waste. Cloud computing also reduces utility usage, which besides being a cost saving measure assists with a company’s eco-efforts.

Ability to scale

In a traditional on-premise environment, you have to essentially guess what your usage will be over a period of say 3 years.  This requires you to make a large upfront purchase in hardware that has much larger capacity to handle spikes in traffic when in reality, those spikes may only happen during peak times.  With AWS, you don't have this problem.  When you launch your application on AWS, you can deploy enough servers to handle your demand today (Maybe 1-2 servers) and automatically scale up to hundreds of servers instantly when you need them using AWS' auto scaling groups and load balancers, paying only for the time those servers are running.

Global Infrastructure and High Availability 

With AWS' massive scale, you have the ability to deploy your EC2 instance in your choice of 12 geographic regions around the world.  Within each region, you also have several availability zones which is a data center with redundant power, networking and connectivity.  Each availability zone is connected using fast, low latency, private fiber-optic networking giving you the ability to architect your application to automatically fail-over between availability zones with virtually no interruption.   Replicating this infrastructure on-premise would require a significant investment in hardware and IT staff.

AWS EC2 provides some major cost savings, provides ability to scale, and is more environmentally sound than running full systems on premise. Contact us today to find out how your business can benefit from Amazon Web Services.

About the Author

Nick Underwood

Nick Underwood has over 15 years of experience supporting IT infrastructures for businesses across a broad range of industries.


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