With a new feature announced recently, customers can now place bid on unused computing resources to save costs on EC2!
Amazon EC2, or Elastic Compute Cloud is an online service which lets you "rent" a virtual machine instance and pay an hourly rate, based on the configuration of the virtual machine, and the resources you consume. You can find a large collection of virtual machine images (known as AMI or Amazon Machine Images) which contain pre-configured operating systems. You can then connect to these servers remotely and operate them.
The new Amazon EC2 Spot Instances feature lets you specify a maximum bid price for EC2 instances, which will only the launched if the "spot price" equals or goes below your requested price. Spot prices will vary through out the day, and your instance will automatically terminate if the spot prices go above your bid price.
This surely is a wonderful way to ensure efficient consumption of Amazons resources while giving the users cheaper rates while making more money! Caveats are your appliance might suddenly get shut down, and your applications need to be aware of that and save data regularly.
Besides the new EC2 spot instances service they have also unveiled support for streaming content via their Amazon CloudFront service. They run a Adobe Flash Media Server which is used to server multimedia content over RTMP, instead of HTTP, making for a better streaming experience. It supports the FLV and MP4 formats of Flash with the VP6 and H.264 codecs, and supports dynamic bit-rate streaming. The new service does not incur any additional charges and can be used at the normal Cloudfront rates.
Another new service is Amazon Virtual Private Cloud. With this new service, you can now extend your enterprise network to Amazon EC2 machines, allowing them to be administered like computers in your own network. It bridges your local network to your EC2 machines using a secure encrypted VPN connection, expanding your network to the cloud.