So Amazon just announced that they will be providing premium support for the web services (EC2, S3, and SQS). They are including a service level dashboard to keep users up to date on issues and the health of their services. This is very exciting news, since it shows Amazon’s commitment to web services and providing a firm foundation for people to build businesses on top of their platform.
There is no reason not to use AMZN’s web services platform if you are building any sort of website. They have made their platform secure, easy to use (and if you don’t think it is easy they now have premium support), and because you only pay for what you use it is very cost effective. In the past when someone has wanted to start a website or build an application you had to commission servers, and you paid the same rate whether they were in use or not. Moreover you had to have a system administrator, or member of your development team, be responsible for monitoring and regulating the health of those boxes. This means you could end up paying for hardware and people that you didn’t always needs. This is especially true for any startup who is just building out their service. Until you have lots of users you are essentially paying for idle resources–which is never a good thing when you are watching every dollar.
Using a web service platform also gives you a lot of free things you can’t get with just using your own boxes. You get things like scaling for free. Need to store more data, just upload to S3–you don’t need to worry about how many boxes the data is on, or what happens when a hard drive fails. Amazon handles all of that for you. This is one less thing for you to monitor (which means freeing up resources to do other things). And Amazon has a whole army of people with pagers watching these things for you–all for about the same cost as the hardware you would end up paying for anyway. While Amazon’s web services doesn’t take away the need for monitoring (and you should *always* be monitoring your end user’s experience with your application), it means you don’t have to worry as much about hardware failures, network outages, data centers losing power, etc. Amazon offers you the commercial level reliability that was once only available to enterprise websites like their own website, Amazon.com. And now that they are broadcasting their uptime one can be more confident building their business on top of their platform.
Needless to say I am big fan of Amazon’s web services and we use them extensively where I work. We have been nothing short of happy with using them, because we can have 100 servers at a moment’s notice, and we only pay for what we use. So if you are thinking of building any sort of new technology on the web, look into one of the web services platforms for your application–that way you will be able to get the most bang for your buck 🙂