January 20th, 2011

classic cylon

playing around with cloud computing

Despite not working (for pay), I'm still very busy. The past couple of days, I've been learning how to use Amazon Web Services – in particular, their Elastic Compute Cloud platform. It has been somewhat of a disappointment. For example:

  • Their web management console doesn't always display active instances, even after refreshing. This could be an IE8 problem; things worked better in that regard after switching to Safari 5.0.3.
  • The documentation is out-of-date, especially with regards to certain aspects of running management commands on the virtual server instances. I had to do many searches of the forums to get current information about how to use certain commands.
  • Likewise, I had to search many forums and experiment in order to get my SSH environment and X.509 certificates properly created and configured.
  • They don't support IPv6.
  • They don't support any BSD Unix distributions.

OTOH, the price is right. For the first year, it's free if you stay under a certain level of resource usage.
But AWS is touted as "the cost-effective IT alternative". I used VMware quite a bit in my last job, and (after going through a learning curve) was able to set up virtual servers fairly easily. There are some companies that offer VMware-based cloud computing services, but they were either more expensive, in beta, or there wasn't enough documentation available online for me to tell if I'd be better off using them. Perhaps after going through this learning curve, AWS will be as easy for me as VMware was, but I'm still disappointed.

I think I am not in a very good mood in general because I was up until 3am last night fiddling around with AWS. In general, I am displeased right now because despite working very hard and trying to plan things out, computer annoyances are still taking up too much of my time.