Amazon Announces Micro Cloud Servers

The folks at Amazon Web Services sure are busy. Today, they’ve announced a new type of cloud server as part of their EC2 platform: the micro server.

These very small servers are good for things that don’t need a ton of throughput, such as load balancers, CRON-based tasks and proxies. Amazon gives some tech specs for these new machines:

Micro instances provide 613 MB of memory and support 32-bit and 64-bit platforms on both Linux and Windows. Micro instance pricing for On-Demand instances starts at $0.02 per hour for Linux and $0.03 per hour for Windows.

If you ran a micro server all the time, it’d run you roughly $15 USD, which isn’t bad for a server that you can set up to do quick tasks and (auto)scale as needed using Amazon’s CloudWatch service.

One of the things to know about these servers is that there’s no local storage offered as part of them, which is probably a big reason the cost per hour is so low. Instead, you set up an Elastic Block Store, which is basically a disk image you setup that lives in your S3 storage account. The nice thing about this is that the block doesn’t go away when you turn off the instance. With Amazon Elastic Block Store, you only pay for what you use. Volume storage is charged by the amount you allocate until you release it, and is priced at a rate of $0.10 per allocated GB per month Amazon EBS also charges $0.10 per 1 million I/O requests you make to your volume. So be aware there may be some additional costs when using EBS with the micro server.

All in all, a pretty interesting offering by Amazon. The commodity price of these servers is falling fast – $0.02 an hour at Amazon, $0.015 an hour at Rackspace. Pretty amazing.