Online retailer Amazon has introduced a service offering computing power on demand to software developers.
The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service has been launched as a limited beta through the company's web services arm. It is designed to make web computing easier for developers.
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The service allows developers to obtain, configure and scale the capacity they need from Amazon's servers through a web service interface. Developers pay only for the capacity they use.
EC2 works in conjunction with Amazon's Simple Storage Service, offering users a combined package for computing and storage across a wide range of applications.
Amazon is charging about 5p for each "instance-hour" used, with a 10p charge per gigabyte of data transferred outside Amazon. Data transfer within the Amazon computing or storage environments is free.
The company said it was offering users "a very low rate for the compute capacity you actually consume" because it was passing on the benefit of Amazon's economies of scale.
The on-demand service also frees users from fixed upfront hardware costs, Amazon said.
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