Facebook Elastic Compute Cloud

I was never a big fan of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). I did not see a real need for it and it doesn’t even fit into retailer’s business model. Amazon EC2 “enables users to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, not hours or days”. But the growth of majority of web applications can be handled by additional hardware and faster connectivity. And even though the occasional traffic spikes caused by Slashdot or Digg can turn any site inaccessible for a day or two I am not sure it can justify a paradigm shift in the hosting platform.

But after spending a few weeks on Facebook I’ve completely changed my mind. You don’t need to build a user community on Facebook. Your users are already there and if you are lucky or smart (or both) enough to catch their attention with a new application you can see a dramatic increase in web traffic overnight. Being able to “obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction” may actually be your only option before the users go somewhere else.

Does it mean that Facebook should buy EC2 from Amazon.com and integrate it more tightly with the Facebook Platform? I believe so. It would make a lot of sense…

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