Amazon EC2 – What happens next?

So now you have unbounded programmatic access to computing and storage resources via EC2 and S3. Anybody who has a moderate amount of programming skill (skilled in the art as the patent people say) and has access to a credit card can slap together their own grid in no time at all. More importantly you can resell a grid to a vertical market.

Now a whole plethora of companies have been trying to flog Open Source stacks to corporate America, and to my mind corporate America (and corporate everywhere else) is not ready to take these companies offerings on board for a number of reasons,

  • Certification is no good without delta change detection. Your stack might be good the day it deploys, but is it good after 6 months of production tinkering?
  • Most customers need some kind of customised stack, rather than an off the shelf offering, so configurations proliferate and the costs for both the vendor and the customer escalates
  • None of these guys wants to play nice with the rest, so how do you integrate stacks from different vendors
  • Isn’t Open Source supposed to be free as in beer 🙂

However the whole game changes if instead of offering an installable package you offer a managed EC2 image with all the good juice pre-canned and ready to go, and you manage the customers application deployment on top of that image and then cut a new precanned EC2 image with all the good stuff in one bundle. Tinker away all you want and deltas can easily be identified by comparing the production image with a clean install of the original.

Customisation becomes delta management with everything being a managed delta of a base kit and integration of different stacks can be easily tested because the base infrastructure is already deployed into an image ready for merging.

Expect to see lots of people offering layered services on EC2 fairly rapidly with simple Apache, MySQL and J2EE and ESB instances appearing in short order and more complex three tier and N-tier packages  following on rapidly. Also expect the monitoring and management vendors to offer layer packages that plug straight into these environments.

Can Google trump this?

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