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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2011
I bought this book expecting to learn how to move my website into the cloud. I already had a vague understanding of Amazon's AWS, and was looking for a straightforward explanation of the best practices and methods for moving away from a standard hosting setup. However, this book provided NONE of that.

Get this book if you want to learn more about each of the major components of AWS, and write PHP scripts to do simple operations. But do NOT get this book if you're looking for practical advice on how to host a web site on AWS. For example, there's no discussion about using SSL certificates within AWS, only a couple of paragraph about public IP's and directing your DNS entries to it, nothing about any considerations for Apache, Tomcat, Jetty, or other servers. The coverage is pretty much 98% all about how to do the very basic operations with AWS.

Summary: You can learn everything this book presents for free on the Amazon's AWS website. If you're looking to move an existing website to AWS, this book won't really give you any help unless you don't even know what AWS is.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2010
My teams in two companies have now built solutions that used AWS and the Amazon Cloud Solution including systems that serve users with millions of page-views and mobile solutions serving the US, Mexico, China, Taiwan, Korea, ....

I WISH I HAD HAD THIS BOOK FOR THE TEAM!

Amazon's documentation and support is excellent, but Jeff Barr has put it all together in a precise, complete, and well documented roadmap.

Have you been intimidated by cloud computing and hosting your solution in the cloud? Don't be. Jeff leads you through the process step by step.

The previous review is right on - you """don't (need) to be a VC funded Silicon Valley start-up, or a Top 1000 website to take advantage of the power, flexibility and cost savings found in cloud computing."""

Although not just anybody can do it (such as my 84 year old mother) Jeff has done an outstanding job making it easy. If you are a reasonably web-savy mid-level PHP familiar programmer (my mother is not) you'll be up and running building highly scalable cloud-based solutions in hours. It's easier than fixing pizza....

Oh -- and if you have multiple programmers running around and want to keep a copy of the book for yourself - buy more than one copy. Someone already borrowed mine which means it will be MIA for at least a month.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2010
This is the "official" Amazon EC2 and S3 book, and it does a fantastic job of covering the basics.

If you've been intimidated by cloud computing and hosting websites on the cloud, fear no longer! This book will walk you through everything you need to know to transition from dedicated servers or shared hosting accounts and into supper affordable cloud hosting where you can rent servers for just pennies per hour and instantly go from 1 server to 20 and then back to 1 as dictated by traffic.

If you're still leasing servers for hundreds of dollars a month each, if commissioning a new server takes days rather than minutes, if you pay through the nose for bandwidth, if your site or web applications can't handle sudden traffic spikes then this book is for you. You don't to be a VC funded Silicon Valley start-up, or a Top 1000 website to take advantage of the power, flexibility and cost savings found in cloud computing. Anybody can do it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2011
This is definitely a good starter for developer to understand AWS-services. Too bad it is not updated with the latest offerings while I understand that the innovation speed is going fast.
The point I found annoying was its markup (on the kindle it looked all as links but were none, bold annoys you when reading long text,etc) in combination with a technical way of explaining whats happening. I expected more a general introduction but mostly it was too much strict about what you needed to make it all work. Their was too little depth (for example some extra chapters about region syncing or other higher level tips/tricks) during the story.

I think with blogs and aws.amazon.com you will find as much info about AWS during the time you will read this book, but can be interesting to PHP developers that wanna make their API to use AWS in their services. I really missed the higher level chapters to complete the book more and justify its price.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2010
I thought this book was well written. It is organized in a logical fashion, and it's obvious the author loves his work. Sometimes that's not apparent in more technical tomes. Mr. Barr does a great job balancing the time spent explaining and the time walking through examples so I think both top-down and bottom-up learners will get a lot of use out of this book. I'm not a programmer by trade, just someone that likes to tinker and knows enough about programming and web services to be dangerous. After reading the book and going through the example code projects, I now feel comfortable in my ability to analyze when a particular AWS is a good fit for a problem, and how to best utilize it's strengths. There's not much more you can ask for from a book on this topic.

Since this book is written for newcomers to AWS (like myself), I'm hoping/pleading Amazon will push some basic updates to those of us with Kindle versions. I'm not asking for anything big, but as an example the often-included 'cloudfusion.class.php' is now 'sdk.class.php'. Can people find it on their own? Sure - if I did, anyone can :) But now that cloudfusion has been rolled into the official SDK, it'd be an easy fix for the author/publisher/Amazon to push that change to the Kindle version. I don't expect weekly updates - I get that the book will be outdated relatively quickly, and another edition will likely roll out - but since this book is aimed at relative newcomers and the fix is pretty painless to extend it's useful life, I'd just offer it up as a suggestion.

This doesn't distract from how good the book is - if you follow the examples you'll have a great understanding of how AWS works and how to utilize it by the time you are through.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Where George Reese's Cloud Application Architectures is the theoretical what-will-happen when I host in the cloud book, Jeff Barr's is the prefect compliment. It is a very hands-on guide to using Amazon Web Services specifically, from spinning up EC2 instances, using instance store versus EBS rooted AMIs, snapshotting your volumes to backup, and even coverage of EBS with RAID.

Tto really drive home how very quickly this space is evolving, the book is two months old and already there are new services available through Amazon Web Services such as the Route 53 DNS solution. Incredible.

Still I would definitely recommend this book. Granted you can learn a lot from the AWS docs online, as they are quite good, but this book provides lots of creative examples, including a lot of PHP code using the Tarzan library to interact with AWS.

A couple caveats though. This book is very amazon-centric, so you're not going to for instance learn how to use haproxy as an alternative to the AWS loadbalancer solution, or how to host MySQL instead of simpledb. Still with the AWS logo in the corner, you're probably already expecting this. And those things considered, I thought this book was a very readable and technical introduction to the entire suite of AWS offerings.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2010
I found this book to be a very good introduction into the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud Computing platform. I'll admit to be being a little bit overwhelmed by AWS' offerings; i.e., Cloudfront, S3, EC2, SimpleDB, SNS, SQS, etc. This book pretty much clears everything up about AWS in understandable and clear language. It gave me plenty of ideas of how and what I could accomplish in using AWS; i.e., a website, an application platform, private computing resources, and more...

And thanks to Amazon's (recently added) generous 'free tier', my EC2 micro instance is now up and running on AWS! So far, I have not encountered any charges, although this is with light usage on my part. With free utility computing resources at the AWS' free tier, you can actually try out most of the exercises in the book with no (or little) charge.

The CloudFusion exercises as used in the book are slightly 'outdated'; it is now the 'official' AWS SDK and is renamed as such. So, some slight changes may be needed in the code. (Is there an errata online for this book?) This book does assume some intermediate PHP knowledge. There is an overview on cloud computing itself and an overview on Amazon's array of cloud computing services, which I found it to be very useful.

Overall, a 5-star book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2010
I'm only about fifty pages into this book but thought I'd post a warning for those who, like me, took the subtitle "Amazon Web Services Made Easy" literally. While this looks to be an excellent work for those who have lots of experience setting up websites, it is by no means a beginner's guide. At a minimum, you need to be a middlin' expert in PHP and have a pretty good grounding in XML, CSS, and other languages, too or you're up a creek. It's not the author's fault; in review he says several times that you need these skills but, to my detriment, I glossed over these warnings. All I was looking for was a guide to setting up a simple website using the Amazon system. Being of the age when I prefer books to online guides, I'd hoped I'd found what I'd been looking for in "Host Your Website...," but no.
The book probably deserves five stars. If I can finish it, I'll likely go back and give him an additional two.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2011
Jeff's book is certainly a standard! Written by Amazon's evangelist for the PHP developers. I rate it with 4 out of 5 stars mainly because it's still based on an older PHP API and some of the newer technologies are not covered, such as Amazon's Route 53 DNS service, Micro instances and the SNS integration with the management GUI.
(see my review of "Middleware and Cloud Computing" for details since I bought both books together).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2010
Very good book, that shows also for beginners, how to set up a website with Amazon EC2, RDS, S3 and CloudFront!
Understandable for everybody.
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