I’m kind of surprised Amazon doesn’t get more coverage for the fantastic web services they are producing. I guess a lot of the “missing” coverage is because it’s not stuff that’s easy to talk about or flashy but I also think they are making some of the more interesting moves out there and building an impressive package, it’s a gutsy idea on Bezos’ part to go in that direction.
It’s been around for a while but I’ve had a couple of separate discussions in the last few weeks with developers using The Elastic Compute Cloud and they are all very impressed with the ease of use and the flexibility of the service. Once your application backend can work within that system, you can switch server copies on and off, paying only for the time each virtual server is running, it makes getting Dugg or any other type of traffic surge a lot easier and cheaper to deal with.
The latest service to launch is Amazon Flexible Payments Services and offers a finely tunable platform to let any web app offer very advanced payment functionality. Fees are super competitive and they take into account the differences between credit card payments and bank account debits instead of keeping the difference. I’m looking forward to reading about how developers are using this.
With S3 (storage), EC2 and now FPS, it’s possible to build a completely virtual web application without any real physical servers, maintenance contracts or financial backend contracts, you can create a server “up in the cloud”, replicate it if needed, store client files and manage financial transactions all “up there”. I’m sure there are still factors making real physical server farms valuable but for some the cloud setup will work and for others it will make for a great testing/startup platform they can move from and use as needed.
Developers who can master these services and setup applications with such a cloud-based server package should get some real world work out there to show off and start offering their experience, there’s bound to be a lot of takers now and in the near future. I think proficiency with these tools is the next big job/contract offer hot item.
S3 seems pretty amazing indeed… and SO cheap!
Regarding Flexible Payment Service, I’m in the final steps of building an application using Paypal’s Websites Payment Standard… it’s free to setup and has no monthly fees.
I might give Amazon FPS a try, though, but Paypal is fine; it can even send POST data to an URL of your choice so you can activate the subscription instantly…
i also think amazon is one the biggest innovators in the web. but i heard they have given up all promotion and marketing spendings and instead invested all the money into (free) shipping. Jeff bezos did the move in 2002 if i remember well. it’s quiet marketing, but in the end, it looks they are the winner.
about flexible payments, it’s much better for me than Paypal and Google Checkout, because mainly of the flexibility (duhh). You can get into micropayments (charging a few cents for instance), it can also manage subscriptions, and you still get reasonable fees at the end. the big problem though is that you have to have a US bank account. freshbooks was invented to use the service in the beta and the amazon team had to “hack” the API, but someone from freshbooks emailed me they are still contemplating about using it because they feel it’s a bit like duct tape engineering.
(freshboks is based in toronto)
also they only have 2 datacenters, in the US, and they had a (very brief) outage this year. but i’d agree its the best storage/hosting service you can get for the moment.
Heri, just to clear something up: We didn’t have to hack the API. We’re working through some issues with the need for a U.S. bank account, etc. etc. that are essentially bureaucratic in nature.