Amazon cloud has been very successful among the healthcare CIOs. We see a trend emerging in which the major healthcare companies are making use of the cloud for their small to mid-level projects. Having said that, the cloud has yet to approach the stage where it comes as a second nature hosting solution during project analysis. So here a little post about what I think of the Amazon cloud!
It is awesome but not simple
If you need resiliency, scalability, flexibility then cloud computing is a good choice because the hardware configurations can be modified depending on how the project changes during its life cycle. For one off projects, it makes sense if you are already doing it. Learning the Amazon tools does take some effort.
Cost-wise, it is competitive with standard hosting providers. It is a pay for use service, but you can purchase reserved instance that will save a good amount of money.
Cloud Requires Planning
You have to really study the environment and plan properly when using the cloud. If they (Amazon) experience an outage in one of their “zones” your servers will be down unless you have developed redundancy into your plan. That being said, you can build just about the most redundant environment that you need — including things we would never need and couldn’t use (replication to Singapore or Brazil for example).
Cloud puts the power in the hands of development by the means of its flexibility. You can build anything you want and don’t have to organize and plan out with anyone except your own team (think about meetings with datacenter people talking about provisioning servers, laying out traffic patterns, etc. — all of that is abstracted from you and control is put into your hands (which also puts the responsibility in your hands).
Development only environment
It is also effective for a development only environment since you pay for only what you use so you can spin up whatever environment you need and spin it down. This is very effective for testing/build server requirements. It can literally cost less than a dollar to do what you need.
Overall, it is a very effective tool for hosting if planned well. I would say it is most important if it matches your resiliency requirements.