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Head in the Cloud with Amazon Web Services

Dale recently expanded on how excited we are about the cloud at Safe. (Part 1 & Part 2) This past week I have had some time to explore Amazon Web...

Dale recently expanded on how excited we are about the cloud at Safe. (Part 1 & Part 2)

This past week I have had some time to explore Amazon Web Services technology. With FME 2010 functionality now all identified it is time to start looking towards the next release and thinking about some of the goals for FME 2011 or maybe some deployment options for FME 2010.

As I am the type of person that has to experience technology to truly understand it, I set off with the simple goal of being able to replace my reliance on Virtual technology (VMWare) with Cloud based technology (Amazon Web Services). I am a big user of VM technology and have a collection of about 20 some odd VM’s (called borgs at Safe).

While initially I was focused on FME Server in the cloud as that is our enterprise solution I quickly realized that hey it is also useful to have FME Desktop running in the cloud using a Windows AMI (Amazon Machine Image). I love the job that Amazon has been doing here. I simply created a Windows AMI (using the AWS Management Console) and then connected to it using Windows Remote Desktop. Wow, is that easy! From then on it is a familiar Windows machine! That coupled with a little help from S3Fox (great utility) and I was off to the races, able to easily move any data from my local environment to the cloud.

Two days later and filled with many interruptions I have successfully moved one of my more heavily used VM’s to instead run in the cloud. It was that easy! Amazon and others have done an amazing job. The advantage over a virtual solution is that I can share it with anyone that has an Amazon account or I can access it from anywhere on any machine with internet access. This opens up interesting support/collaboration possibilities as now I can share these easily with anyone anywhere in the world. While in theory this is possible with Virtual Machines, it is much much easier in the cloud. At this point I have only leveraged the basic functionality and have not yet looked into things like Auto Scaling, Virtual Private Cloud, Elastic Load Balancing, or DevPay. To see what FME Server can do in the cloud take a look at what Weogeo posted earlier this week.

While my hands-on experimenting, exploring, and learning about the cloud is in its infancy it has already changed the way that I am going to work. If you have any questions or want to try out some of my “cloud-based” machines let me know. Anyone else with their head in the clouds that wants to brainstorm also let me know. Now where do I get that kewl looking umbrella?

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