Online retail giant Amazon has launched a service offering computing power on demand to developers.
The company has been broadening the range of products and services on offer – with an online grocery store opening quietly in June – as competition in its core book, film and music business hots up.
The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service has been launched as a limited beta through the company’s web services arm, pitched at making web-scale computing easier for developers.
The service allows users to obtain, configure and scale the capacity they need from Amazon’s servers through a web service interface. Users pay only for the capacity they actually use.
EC2 works in conjunction with Amazon’s existing Simple Storage Service, offering users a combined package for computing and storage across a wide range of applications.
Amazon is charging $0.10 for each “instance-hour” used, with a $0.20 charge per Gbyte of data transferred outside Amazon. Data transfer within the Amazon computing or storage environments is free.
The company argues that it is offering users “a very low rate for the compute capacity you actually consume” because it is passing on the economic benefit of Amazon’s scale. The on-demand service also frees users from fixed upfront hardware costs.
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