Amazon AWS EC2 Micro first impression

I have been playing with the EC2 Micro instance for a few weeks now and have been very impressed with the whole Amazon AWS setup. There’s an initial steep learning curve but the whole process and service is really intuitive and incredibly well built.

The latency/speed is beyond anything I have used before after a few configuration tweaks to my Ubuntu 11/Apache setup. It’s hard to properly compare with only running 1 very small site on the instance but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a site load so quickly, even against decent spec UK based dedicated servers.

With the micro instance you get 613 MB memory so once you’ve got Ubuntu 11, Apache and MySQL installed you are creeping up to the memory limit so some tweaks to the Apache config file are required to reduce the amount of memory being used.

Amazon currently offers a free tier which basically gives you a micro instance free for a year if you don’t start going over the reasonable limits. The great thing with AWS is, as your requirements increase you can start up new and more powerful instances within minutes. If you know you are going to get a peak of traffic you can load balance your site across multiple instances in an extremely short period of time then restore it back to normal levels without having to invest in new hardware or long term contracts.

I’d ideally like to be testing the RDS service for the MySQL database but the basic costs would be over £50 a month which is a little excessive for a WordPress blog.