Amazon improves EC2 (by embracing failure)

Amazon just announced two big improvements to EC2:

  • Multiple Locations
    Amazon EC2 now provides the
    ability to place instances in multiple locations. Amazon EC2 locations
    are composed of regions and Availability Zones. Regions are
    geographically dispersed and will be in separate geographic areas or
    countries. Currently, Amazon EC2 exposes only a single region.
    Availability Zones are distinct locations that are engineered to be
    insulated from failures in other Availability Zones and provide
    inexpensive, low latency network connectivity to other Availability
    Zones in the same region. Regions consist of one or more Availability
    Zones. By launching instances in separate Availability Zones, you can
    protect your applications from failure of a single location.

  • Elastic IP Addresses
    Elastic IP addresses
    are static IP addresses designed for dynamic cloud computing. An
    Elastic IP address is associated with your account not a particular
    instance, and you control that address until you choose to explicitly
    release it. Unlike traditional static IP addresses, however, Elastic IP
    addresses allow you to mask instance or Availability Zone failures by
    programmatically remapping your public IP addresses to any instance in
    your account. Rather than waiting on a data technician to reconfigure
    or replace your host, or waiting for DNS to propagate to all of your
    customers, Amazon EC2 enables you to engineer around problems with your
    instance or software by quickly remapping your Elastic IP address to a
    replacement instance.

Datacenters and geographic regions are Single Points of Failure (SPOF) too.  Failure Happens, and it’s far better (and cheaper) to build services that are resilient to failure than to try to prevent them from happening.  This is a big step in the right direction.

Update: RightScale posted an excellent overview of how this works.

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