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Programming Amazon EC2 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1449393687
ISBN-10: 1449393683
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Survive your Success

About the Author

Jurg van Vliet graduated from the University of Amsterdam in Computer Science. After his internship with Philips Research, he worked for many web startups and media companies. Passionate about technology, he wrote for many years about it and its effects on society. He became interested in the cloud and started using AWS in 2007. After merging his former company, 2Yellows, with a research firm, he decided to start 9Apps, an AWS boutique that is an AWS solution provider and silver partner of Eucalyptus, together with Flavia. Give Jurg a scalability challenge, and he will not sleep until he solves it—and he will love you for it.

Flavia Paganelli has been developing software in different industries and languages for over 14 years, for companies like TomTom and Layar. She moved to The Netherlands with her cat after finishing an MSc in Computer Science at the University of Buenos Aires. A founder of 9Apps, Flavia loves to create easy-to-understand software that makes people’s lives easier, like the Decaf EC2 smartphone app. When she is not building software, she is probably exercising her other passions, like acting or playing capoeira.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (March 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449393683
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449393687
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Because this is a short book, I'll write a short review. Programming Amazon EC2 (PAE) explains how to use certain elements of Amazon Web Services to deploy applications in Amazon's cloud infrastructure. The discussion centers on the authors' experiences deploying live, production Web sites (like Kulitzer) using AWS. I found this approach refreshing and novel, because it reads like a playbook for recreating similar infrastructure for the reader's own purposes.

PAE regularly explains how to accomplish tasks using the AWS Web interface, but crucially (for me anyways) the book also generally shows the same processes using command line tools on Linux. Because I find it easier to read CLI instructions than follow screenshots of Web sites, I appreciated the text-based approach. PAE also helps the reader understand the reasoning behind Amazon's release of various AWS offerings. It's clearer now the problems Amazon was solving internally, which drove the delivery of new capabilities to customers.

My main problem with PAE is the almost total lack of security considerations. I say "almost" because the word "secure" does appear on p 87: "One advantage of SimpleDB here is that it's ready to use right away. There is no setup or administration hassle, the data is secure..." Sure it is! The authors also mention using Access Control Lists to permit Internet users to use Web applications, but otherwise there is no discussion of the risks of relying on cloud infrastructure. Reading recent news should be enough to remind the reader of these issues.

Overall, you will like PAE if you're looking to see how another small company jumpstarted their business by deploying applications in AWS. For future editions I would like to see discussions of security plus comparisons to other cloud offerings.
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Format: Paperback
Programming Amazon EC2Programming Amazon EC2 is a hands-on guide to use of Amazon's cloud platform, with a focus on showing the reader how to approach the various components of the EC2 ecosystem. The authors state early on that the goal is to give the reader "a sense of all AWS functionality", so you will not find any one area explored in extreme detail.

The text generally achieves its goals. After a brief history of EC2 at Amazon, it moves quickly into establishing the necessary tools environment and then connecting to a new machine instance. This is not a cookbook, and some mundane yet critical details (e.g., setting permissions on your key files to 400 when running on Linux) are skipped; these are not fatal omissions, but they may hamper your experience if you are not seasoned on your platform of choice. Also, most examples are geared toward the Linux (Ubuntu) environment, so you will need to be able to translate those commands and concepts to your chosen environment. Once the machine image has booted, this text will assume that you are fully competent to administer the operating system of that image, including package installation, editing configuration files, etc.

Overall, good breadth of information in a relatively quick read, although you will need to follow along and try the examples with your chosen image/environment/application to really see a return on time invested.

Disclaimer, I was provided access by O'Reilly Publishing to an electronic copy of this book for review purposes.
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Format: Paperback
This book gives a great and broad overview of Amazon EC2. Even though It is a complex platform, it is explored in a straightforward and practical way. The most important services are explained with enough detail to quickly start trying them. Using as examples the web apps they've put in production, the book goes from an initial and simple deploy, then through scaling and load balancing, refactoring, decoupling and finally decreasing downtime and managing uptime efficiently.

One of the strongest points of this book is the authors' real-world usage of EC2: every recommendation, tip and best practice is based on day to day experience. While the web administration console is covered and used for some taks, many others are done with the command-line tools, as one would do with in a real production environment. When reading the scripts one can appreciate what is really going on. Some useful third party tools are also described.

Keep in mind that this text requires some technical background. You will not find here how to install or setup a Django or Rails environment from the ground up. But this is actually a good thing for people like me who already work with deployed apps and want to move them to the EC2.

The only downside to mention is not really the book's fault. EC2 is constantly being improved and new services are being added all the time, and third party tools and services are constantly popping up, so some sections can look incomplete in the future. A website for the book could be a good complement.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before you get your hands into the Amazon Cloud, this book is a must read. This should be a required manual (or sorts) especially if you're thinking about skipping the free documentation available on the Amazon Web Services site.

Even before you buy this book, you can be sure that the author, Jurg van Vliet, knows AWS concepts very thoroughly because this author has also developed an iPhone and an Android app for AWS, called "Decaf". Decaf uses native AWS API calls to interact with your AWS account. Search for this author on YouTube and you'll find an interview describing this book.

This book may be slightly outdated now as the cloud space is constantly changing (read: improving). However, the core concepts around the EC2 that are covered in this book are still the same. This book gives you a great start into the core EC2 (and AWS) concepts that you must understand before you get started with EC2. For example, this book explains the differences between EBS-backed and S3-backed instances in such detail that I could not find in the EC2 documentation. This book also provides you details instructions on how to get the command-line tools set up.

A prerequisite for this book should be that you do need to have some basic understanding of programming and/or scripting. For this book (and for EC2 in general), you should also have some system administration experience (Linux or Windows). This book will not show you how to host your site on AWS but it will show you how to get started toward that goal. AWS is much more than a hosting solution so if you're only looking to host website, you may be disappointed by the contents of this book.

Currently this is the only book that covers AWS (and EC2 in particular) in this much depth.
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