How worried is Amazon (AMZN) about Google’s new App Engine? Justifably worried, it seems. Which is perhaps why they’re now courting users of their EC2 server offering with new feature: Essentially, a promise that they’ll back it up, so that data won’t get lost in a crash.
This is a big deal, says BeYou.Tv CEO Kareem Kouddous, who shared his letter for us (reprinted below) and translated for us as well:
We are using EC2 now and this is very good news for us as I’ve had to “hack” together a solution to ensure that the data is persistent and shared across our servers. We use EC2 to stream our media (audio/video) files. This definitely solidifies EC2 as the right solution for us given our current scale and as soon as I get this setup I’ll definitely be sleeping better at night knowing that Amazon is taking care of this…Key point is that “machine crash = hard drive crash” is no longer an issue.
That said, Kareem says, from what he can tell Google’s offering (GOOG) might make him sleep even better if his company grows: “This takes the AWS offering a little closer to App Engine, although there is still a lot of work that needs to be done on AWS to ensure your site scales.”
And most important, for us laypeople: Is this a clear move made in reaction to App Engine? Sure seems like it, says Kareem: “Could very well be that the timing of the letter was in reaction to the appengine news given that Amazon AWS hasn’t prereleased information like this previously (that I can remember).”
Anyone else get one of these letters? Are they enough to sway to keep working with Amazon? Or you eager to jump to Google’s ship as soon as you can? Let us know in comments below.
Full Amazon email text follows:
Dear Amazon EC2 Developer,
Many Amazon EC2 customers have been requesting that we let them know ahead of time about features that are currently under development so that they can better plan for how that functionality might integrate with their applications. To that end, we would like to share some details about a major upcoming feature that many of you have requested – persistent storage for EC2.
This new feature provides reliable, persistent storage volumes, for use with Amazon EC2 instances. These volumes exist independently from any Amazon EC2 instances, and will behave like raw, unformatted hard drives or block devices, which may then be formatted and configured based on the needs of your application. The volumes will be significantly more durable than the local disks within an Amazon EC2 instance. Additionally, our persistent storage feature will enable you to automatically create snapshots of your volumes and back them up to Amazon S3 for even greater reliability.
You will be able to create volumes ranging in size from 1 GB to 1 TB, and will be able to attach multiple volumes to a single instance. Volumes are designed for high throughput, low latency access from Amazon EC2, and can be attached to any running EC2 instance where they will show up as a device inside of the instance. This feature will make it even easier to run everything from relational databases to distributed file systems to Hadoop processing clusters using Amazon EC2.
When persistent storage is launched, Amazon EC2 will be adding several new APIs to support the persistent storage feature. Included will be calls to manage your volume (CreateVolume, DeleteVolume), mount your volume to your instance (AttachVolume, DetachVolume) and save snapshots to Amazon S3 (CreateSnapshot, DeleteSnapshot).
This new functionality is already being used privately by a handful of EC2 customers, and will be publicly available later this year. We will be expanding the private offering as we get closer to launch. Please sign up if you are interested in participating.
We hope this information is useful to you as you plan, design and deploy your applications in Amazon EC2.
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