foray into cloud computing. Though some might have been skeptical at the time, Amazon has not only succeeded with EC, but has scaled up the service by leaps and bounds and become the one to beat for hosted cloud services.Remember when Amazon was just this online bookstore? The company has come a long, long way since then. One of the unexpected turns taken by Amazon is its
EC2 was not Amazon's first effort in cloud computing. The company started with its Simple Storage Service (S3) in March of 2006, and followed it up with EC2 in August of 2006. Since then, it's just kept growing and growing and growing. Consider the things that have changed since Amazon first launched EC2:
- AWS had only one availability zone, and one region supported.
- Linux was the only OS supported.
- AWS management consisted of command line tools only.
- AWS supported only 1 instance type.
- Only one pricing model.
Now Amazon has a slick(ish) Web-based management console, and is available in 12 zones across the globe. They've introduced support for Windows, Solaris, and multiple Linux distributions. They've added high performance computing options, 11 instance types, and three pricing models. For managing EC2, they have a set of Web-based management tools, command line tools, and a number of third-party tools for managing EC2.
Just recently, Amazon has added a Memcached-compatible option, added a "government cloud" for the U.S. government, identity services, and a lot more. True, Amazon has had some serious glitches this year with its massive outage in April and shorter August outage in Europe. But, for the most part, it's been a smooth ride.
As I said previously, some were skeptical. ReadWriteWeb? Not so much. In November of 2006, Alex Iskold wrote that "Read/WriteWeb think[s] this is a visionary strategy by Amazon – and it is likely to pay off." Iskold also said he expected that other players like Google and Microsoft would be entering the "WebOS" market. While the WebOS term hasn't taken off, cloud computing is showing no signs of slowing.
Looking back on five years of EC2, what do you expect next? Obviously Amazon is going to continue adding features to EC2 to satisfy enterprise and government customers. But what surprises do you think are in store for the next five years?