AWS recently announced they will be moving to a per-second billing model for several services, most prominently their EC2 compute and EBS storage services. Previously they used a per-hour billing model, whereby if you launched an instance you were charged for a full hour minimum, even if you shut it down 10 minutes later. The changes will go into effect on October 2nd, and also includes the EMR and Batch services. For now only Linux instances are included.
Amazon recently announced their Elastic File System (EFS) service is now available for production use. The service was previously only available in preview mode for a single region, but is now available in production for the US West Oregon, US East Virginia and EU Ireland regions. EFS is a service similar to Elastic Block Storage (EBS) which provides disk mounted storage for EC2 instances, with a couple of key differences.
For those not familiar with it, AWS CloudFormation allows you to create and update any number of AWS resources in an automated and repeatable way. Basically, you can create a JSON template which specifies all the resources for a given “stack,” upload it to CloudFormation, and the service takes care of provisioning and updating all those resources automatically.
One challenge of developing software that will be deployed to virtualized or cloud infrastructure is accounting for the differences between local development, QA and production environments. An exciting new project that aims to address this challenge (among others) is Docker.
From the Docker homepage: “Docker is an open-source project to easily create lightweight, portable, self-sufficient containers from any application. The same container that a developer builds and tests on a laptop can run at scale, in production, on VMs, bare metal, OpenStack clusters, public clouds and more.”