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In the .com boom of the 1990s, companies building a presence on the nascent commercial web bought servers and put them in data centers. In many cases, this costly approach was a necessity.
Fast forward to today. Some of the most popular sites on the internet -- run by large, established companies and young startups alike -- don't own servers, and they've never set foot inside a data center thanks to cloud services like Amazon AWS.
According to a report from research firm DeepField Networks, Amazon's AWS cloud now powers 1% of the internet. If this number is anywhere close to accurate, it's a stunning figure, particularly when one considers that Amazon started as an online retailer of books.
But Amazon's cloud ambitions are huge, and in an effort to grow its cloud even more, Amazon today launched the AWS Marketplace, a one-stop shop for AWS customers to, with a single click, purchase and deploy cloud servers running the software they need.
When it comes to the cloud, Amazon has fast become an 800 pound gorilla thanks to Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Sure, it's had some problems, but thanks to the breadth and depth of its offering, and its pricing, Amazon continues to be the go-to choice for many companies looking to put their applications in the cloud.
In late 2009, Amazon introduced a new way for AWS customers to purchase its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service: spot instances.
Instead of buying an instance outright at a fixed price, the price of a spot instance is determined by supply and demand.
So long as your bid for the instance is above the current spot price, you have a fully functional Amazon EC2 instance at your disposal.
When it comes to building high-performing web applications, there are plenty of tools that developers can employ to improve efficiency and reduce unnecessary resource utilization.
Caching is typically one of those tools, and in the market for caching solutions, the open-source Memcached is, for many developers, sort of like a trusty old hammer.
Originally developed for use on LiveJournal, Memcached is still used by some of the internet's largest sites, including Facebook.
If one trend has captured the hearts and minds of internet executives, entrepreneurs and developers alike over the past several years, it's cloud computing. And when it comes to market leaders, at the front of the pack is Amazon.
Its suite of offerings, known as Amazon Web Services (AWS), has attracted some of the most prominent consumer internet services, including Twitter, as well as a slew of up-and-coming startups looking for the ability to scale in their early days without Facebook-like funding. Through its cloud, companies can do everything from run resource-intensive applications to send high volumes of email.
Amazon is flying high. While the online retailer is still pulling in the vast majority of its revenue from retail, it has also become one of the biggest players in the cloud computing space.
And Amazon's cloud is only growing in size. Yesterday it announced that it will be launching a new relational database as a service called Amazon RDS and a new range of high-memory instances of Amazon EC2.