Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) allows users to rent virtual private servers on which they can run their own computer applications. It makes deploying a website and storing web components faster, easier, and more affordable.
No Investment in Hardware Required
EC2 is a commercial web service from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon.com’s cloud computing platform. Amazon EC2 provides resizable computing capacity by allowing developers to rent virtual servers from the AWS cloud. Using Amazon EC2 eliminates the need to invest in hardware up front, so web applications can be developed and deployed faster.
EC2 allows scalable deployment of applications by providing a web service through which developers can boot an Amazon Machine Image to create a virtual machine, which Amazon calls an "instance", containing any software desired.
Scale Your App in Minutes
Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing the developer to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as web traffic and his computing requirements change. A developer using Amazon EC2 can create, launch, and terminate as many virtual server instances as needed, configure networking and security, and manage storage.
EC2 is also relatively affordable because Amazon allows its users to pay only for the capacity that they actually use—active servers by the hour, hence the term “elastic”. In short, Amazon EC2 is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.
An Impressive Client List
Amazon EC2 boasts an impressive list of clients–everything from start-ups like FourSquare, Pinterest, Etsy, and Airbnb, to global enterprises like Dole Foods, Comcast, Expedia, and Adobe Systems. Amazon EC2 is especially popular with web application companies like Netflix and Reddit.
Security, Redundancy, Versatility
From Amazon’s docs, here is an overview of the features provided by Amazon EC2:
- Various configurations of CPU, memory, storage, and networking capacity for your instances, known as instance types
- Secure login information for your instances using key pairs (AWS stores the public key, and you store the private key in a secure place)
- Storage volumes for temporary data that's deleted when you stop or terminate your instance, known as instance store volumes
- Persistent storage volumes for your data using Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), known as Amazon EBS volumes
- Multiple physical locations for your resources, such as instances and Amazon EBS volumes, known as regions and Availability Zones
- A firewall that enables you to specify the protocols, ports, and source IP ranges that can reach your instances using security groups
- Static IP addresses for dynamic cloud computing, known as Elastic IP addresses
- Metadata, known as tags, that you can create and assign to your Amazon EC2 resources
- Virtual networks you can create that are logically isolated from the rest of the AWS cloud, and that you can optionally connect to your own network, known as virtual private clouds (VPCs)