Monday, April 25, 2011

The best $5 I've spent all year

I finally started using Amazon's EC2 yesterday. I've been meaning to learn it forever, but assumed it would be time-consuming to get registered, set up an instance, and so on.

Not true. Thursday morning at 10am, I registered for EC2. By 10:30 I had an instance of Drew Conway's Py/R AMI up and running, with several additional libraries installed, and a few GB of data I wanted to crunch uploaded to the server. Very fast turnaround.

Eight hours and $4.77 later, I'd crunched a lot of numbers -- by far my most productive workflow all week. Highly recommend it.


Eric L said...

so that's quite the advert. For the uninitiated like me, what is the point of EC2? What can it do? (Should I pay $4.77 as well?)

Abe said...

EC2 is a cloud computing platform. Computers for rent. In my case, I just wanted to "check out" a high-powered computer to do some heavy number crunching for a day. Why buy a $2,000 PC if I only use it a few weeks out of the year? Other people rent whole grids of EC computers to handle spikes in web traffic, or other large, infrequent computational tasks.