[FoRK] Re: Prices are so low because we buy in volume (Sun Grid vs. Amazon EC2)

Ken Meltsner < meltsner at alum.mit.edu > on > Tue Oct 10 12:16:02 PDT 2006

Luis pointed (in private -- thanks) that I screwed up the decimal
point: it's $1800 for 2 years of computation, not $180.  Not nearly as
impressive, but still quite good.  If we take $1800 as our budget for
2 years worth of computation*, I'd guesstimate that you'd need to buy
hardware at about $1000 per instance-equivalent**.  And this is only
if you assume that you could use 100% of the time -- given the likely
"peakiness" of running your own compute farm, Amazon is still a good

* Including power, hardware, cooling, rent, racks, planned outages, etc.
** Perhaps as 1/4 of a top-of-the-line dual Xeon 3 GHz, etc. system?


On 10/10/06, Ken Meltsner <meltsner at alum.mit.edu> wrote:
> As an alternative to doing my real work, I've been looking at Amazon's
> Elastic Compute Cloud service -- a pay-as-you-go approach to
> computation.  At $0.10 per "instance hour", it compares quite
> favorably to Sun's Grid Compute Utility ($1/cpu-hr).  Even if there
> are extra charges for storage, and even if Sun's CPU's are a lot
> faster than the "1.7 GHz Xeon" equivalent promised by Amazon, this is
> a huge price difference, especially since I thought Sun was
> low-balling the price to get established.
> Thoughts?  EC2 sounds quite cool, and will probably be a good
> alternative to building your own compute farms -- I know of one group
> in Milwaukee that wants to build a CG rendering farm for use by local
> creative types - since it will be hard to beat 10 cents/instance-hr,
> even if labor is donated.  Near as I can tell, if you ran flat out for
> two straight years, Amazon's service would cost less than $180, and I
> can't imagine that you can find equivalent hardware + space + power
> for that price.
> Ken Meltsner

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