Friday, December 16, 2011

Amazon EC2 - Failing the promise... again

I have a couple of instances on EC2 that I use to host my website, and a bunch of files. They were scheduled for a mandatory reboot for an upgrade. Guess what, they didn't come back up cleanly. Imagine my surprise, except, I wasn't surprised, I was anticipating this. I've worked with EC2 enough to dread a host reboot, mandatory or otherwise. It's a pain in the ass, and a crapshoot if the system will come back up or not. To add insult to injury, a reboot assigns a new IP address. If other systems in your configuration are using that system for something, which has an internal IP address, so unless you have your own BIND set up to deal with that, you're using host entries, the host, if it comes back up, is not at the same address it was before. It's great. Not. You can build a VPC of course, which I have thankfully, so the damage wasn't too bad. I figured out that the "upgrade" had caused my /etc/fstab to be "upgraded" and Linux was attempting to mount my EBS as ext3, but it was actually ext2, so it wasn't mounting. Other providers are providing increasingly compelling options for cloud hosting. The lure of EBS is starting to diminish as other providers are offering bigger disk allocations than they used to, sometimes dynamically. Not only that, but the performance of EBS has been pretty dismal, along with the instances themselves, so I'm not really at big EC2 fan at this point. Current contenders: Rackpace Linode Linode has a good system, but it's instances are bit pricey. has a nice system that more customizable, and the prices are pretty good, but I can't get a good bead on the exact terms of the contract, wether the billing is by hour, or by month, or how it exactly works. Rackspace's cloud offering is really great, BUT, lacks any kind of dynamic disk assignment last I checked. They have a good range of instances to suit all needs, far better than Amazon for small use systems. Just that darn disk allocation issue. I have loads of data acquired over the years, but my website doesn't get much traffic at all, so I don't need a big honking machine. claims to have the underlying disks on RAID 10, but if they are, then they must either be overloading nodes pretty hard, or they just have crappy hardware. I ran a bonnie++ benchmark, and it was downright awful. Yet again, caught between a rock and a hard place on hosting, SO annoying.

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