Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud

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See also: Cloud computing
For more information, see: Infrastructure as a Service.

With a start of operations in March 2006, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) allows customers was the first to market. It runs on the infrastructure that runs's electronic storefronts, both for Amazon itself and third parties.

EC2 allows virtual appliances to be built from choices among operating systems, data bases, web servers, etc. Amazon offers a variety of preconfigured stacks called Amazon Machine Images (AMI), such as:[1]

  • Basic Microsoft Amazon Elastic Compute CloudWindows Server 2008]] (32- or 64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2008 with SQL Server 2008 Standard
  • Windows Server 2008 (32 or 64-bit) with SQL Server 2008 Express + IIS + ASP.NET
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 and SQL Server Express + IIS + ASP.NET (64bit); Windows and SQL Server Express image (64 bit)
  • Getting Started on Microsoft Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2003 R2 and SQL Server Express + IIS + ASP.NET (32bit)
  • Microsoft Web Platform - Wordpress
  • Microsoft Web Platform - Media Server
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 and SQL Server 2005 Standard (64bit)
  • Basic Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (32- or 64-but)

  • LAMP Web Starter: Fedora Core 8, 32-bit architecture, PHP5, Apache 2.2, and MySQL
  • Ruby on Rails Web Starter: Fedora Core 8, 32-bit architecture, Ruby, Rails, RubyGems, Mongrel, and MySQL.
  • Fedora Core 4 with Apache Pre-Installed
  • Perl Web Starter: Fedora Core 8, 32-bit architecture, Perl, Mason, Apache 2.0, and MySQL
  • Java Web Starter: Fedora Core 8, 32-bit architecture, Java 5 EE, Tomcat, Apache, and MySQL
  • IBM Tivoli Monitoring 6.2.1 on Linux - 50 Virtual Cores (32-bit); a supplemental resource management and error recovery system

The above are "public" AMIs produced by Amazon. Also available are "community" AMIs, which are customer-contributed and the security of their configurations is not guaranteed by Amazon.

Virtual data center

In early 2009, a customer could organize 1500 virtual appliances into a data center. A number of PaaS and SaaS clouds are known to run over it.


Competition began about a year after EC2's launch, principally from existing managed hosting providers:[2]

  • Rackspace’s Mosso in February 2008
  • Terremark’s cloud in June 2008
  • AT&T’s cloud in August 2008
  • An IBM supported service on EC2 in February 2009
  • Savvis in February 2009


  1. Amazon Machine Images,
  2. "How credible is EC2’s competition?", ShareVM Blog, 8 March 2009