So it is clear that I have been impressed by Amazon Web Services and Cloud Computing in general. I remain convinced that virtualization will eventually be the new order of things.
However, I have experienced a few bumps in the road. Firstly, Amazon Support. So far I have been unable to get them to respond to my enquirers. My guess is that unless you pay for support you’ll be primarily stuck with forums and the help docs. This is fine if you know about it up front, and I expect to factor in fees for Silver or Gold support.
Secondly, the Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) appears to be a lot slower than setting up your own MySQL instance. In my benchmarks, using the standard MySQL Benchmark Suite, RDS runs at about 6 times slower. I tried my tests with MySQL running on the same instance and also a different instance and in both cases RDS was about 6 times slower. This doesn’t mean that RDS is unusable and might be perfect for you. But at this point it feels like more tuning is required.
Finally, the whole issue of security. One of the problems with offering such an all encompassing and compelling service is that you basically hold a big flag up to all would be hackers out there. I’m sure that Amazon are better than most companies at providing security for their web services. However, by being so big and so good the threat of being hacked goes up proportionally too. This is the one area I have to get my head around before I recommend we move our enterprise to Amazon. In the meantime I am looking at other companies that use Eucalyptus to provide a private cloud with similar features to Amazon, but with a little more control and anonymity.