Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, more commonly known as Amazon EC2, is Amazon Web Services' (AWS) way of allowing their users to modify the size and capacity of the cloud-based IT environment they use to develop, test, and manage applications and programs.
Essentially, with Amazon EC2 AWS rents virtual computers that they can use to develop and scale (hence the elastic part) their applications before they launch them officially.
What Is Amazon EC2?EC2 encourages scalable deployment of applications. It works by provideing a web service through which a user can boot up an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) that can then be used to configure a virtual machine.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Instances
You can't really anser the question What is Amazon EC2? without talking about the different Amazon Machine Images, or instances (to use the proper AWS terminology).
So, what type of AMI or instance should you use in EC2? This depends entirely on your objectives. Here is a breakdown of EC2 instances.
The CPU of these instances offers basic performance although it is possible to reach peaks in activity that exceed normal levels.
This AMI is recommended for applications that may not utilize the CPU at 100% but nonetheless still require exceptional on-time performance (reduced databases and servers, for instance).
M3 and M4 Instances
These options are ideal if you're looking for stable performance at high capacity, which is necessary of course for applications that need the CPU and memory to remain balanced even under demanding circumstances.
With the M3 and M4 instances, Amazon recommends using Microsoft Sharepoint or another Document Management System that supports encoding processes and heavy traffic.
C3 and C4 Instances
If you're dealing with Intel's high frequency processors E5-2680 v2 and E5-2666 v3 than these instances are your best bet.
These processors are used for performance intensive applications related to analytics processing, high level engineering applications, video processing, and Massive Multiplayer Online gaming (among others).
This is the way to go for applications that use a lot of memory, such as in-memory analytics processing, high performance databases, and large-scale installations of enterprise applications from the likes of SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft among others.
If you're going to be maxing out your graphics resources for video coding, 3D retransmission, automatic learning, and other related applications, then this is the instance to use.
I2 and D2 Instances
These two EC2 instances are optimized for information storage mechanisms like databases or organizational intelligence networks based on Hadoop and other massive storage processes.
With this diverse range of instances, EC2 is quickly becoming a serious contender in the field of cloud computing, right alongside similar cloud-based services for companies offered by Google, Microsoft and IBM. However, not all of these platforms are created equally; there are substantial differences between the capacities and functionalities of these virtual machine services.