A few tips for Amazon

Just got asked about getting started with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and thought may as well put as a blog post as well.

So here they are:
  • Make sure you take support of some kind from Amazon. You need it as sometimes your machine might get a glitch or you just want to ask a few questions
  • Get to know the account team at Amazon. They will give you free technical training and help you out. Once you grow enough they'll also help you change from credit card billing to on account billing. I personally wouldn't worry about trying to alter contract/legal terms and conditions - you'll tie yourself in knots for ages and gain virtual nothing
  • Architect for failure. With Amazon you still need to have redundancy and backups. See my blog post at http://blog.next-genit.co.uk/2012/04/building-for-amazon.html
  • Use their products where possible to reduce work for you. e.g. Amazon Linux (their version of RedHat), RDS (MySQL, Oracle), DynamoDB (a NoSQL database)
  • Start with small instances and make bigger as needed, rather than other way around. Very easy to resize (just needs a reboot) and you will save money. Only exception to this is micro instances which will never give you reliable performance as they just use timeslices that are spare.
  • Use 64 bit so you can scale all the way up if needed. No penalty on cost.
  • Amazon can now do just about anything as they have introduced SSD disks, committed IOPS etc
  • Utilise VPC by default which is their VPN. This can now connect back onto your firewall as a connection by IPSec VPN and they also connect to some data centres directly now. Of course you need to follow good system design and keep systems together that cause a lot of IO between each other.


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