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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Off-shoring into the cloud

We've been using cloud services from Amazon Web Services - Elastic Compute Cloud, EC2; Elastic Block Storage, EBS; and Simple Storage Service, S3 - for nearly a year now. Our first use was to build a replica of our web server that can be pressed into service during an emergency. Since then we've also used the cloud to deploy our search engine technology, and to deploy prototype systems for new web sites we'll be launching.

We recently took our first step into the non-North American cloud when we launched an Amazon EC2 instance in their EU region. This instance isn't hosting a web site or web service, but rather is a first step in making a copy of our holdings "off shore" for disaster preparedness. We're only keeping a copy of the content we make available on the web site, and so we can any issues about confidential or sensitive content.

Copying content into the EU region is significantly slower than copying into the US region in our experience. An rsync job took 10 days to copy our 400GB of downloadable content to our EU instance's attached EBS. If my back of the envelope math is correct, then this means we only averaged about 0.5Mb/s during the copy.

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