Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)

This looks way cool - the internet service platform of the future, IBM and their 'utility computing' can eat their hearts out. Get around the cost of dedicated hosting by renting machines, dynamically, as needed. It also seems to be really cheap compared to other hosting options. I looked up VPS hosting plans at one of my ISPs for comparison purposes, the cheapest package is $24.95pcm. This includes 40Gb monthly transfer and 4Gb of storage, costing that up on EC2 gives $0.60 for the storage and $8.00 for the transfer. What's not clear to me is how the '$0.10 per instance-hour consumed' is calculated - does this mean actual processing time your instance takes up or that you pay for all the time your instance is loaded even if it's doing no actual computation? (Hopefully, Jeff Barr will explain it &#59;) ) In the latter case you'd be looking at a VPS-equivalent solution, except using a higher spec machine, for less than $10pcm. Even if you're paying for every hour that the instance is running for a whole month that's still only $74.40 (in a 31 day month), giving a total cost somewhere in the region of $85, which is still very competitive. If you just wanted a server for testing and development in this scenario you could probably end up paying less than $20pcm, I think it could be an ideal solution for the burgeoning cadre of Ruby on Rails or even Erlang web developers - cheaper than VPS or Dedicated Servers during the development period but with practically infinite scalability.