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How to run OfficeClip Instance on the Amazon EC2 Cloud

by SK Dutta 9. March 2011 17:51

Many of our customers have requested to host their installed version of OfficeClip outside their company. In this article we present a simple way to host OfficeClip on the Amazon EC2 cloud. OfficeClip uses Windows 2008 Datacenter OS and Sql Express 2008 image on the Amazon EC2 cloud. Running OfficeClip on the amazon EC2 cloud will provide you with the following benefits:

  • You can run the installed version of OfficeClip on a dedicated server.
  • There is no need to install OfficeClip, the installation is already done for you and you can just configure and run it.
  • You have the flexibility to increase or decrease the machine resources based on your needs.
  • It is cheaper than many dedicated or virtual servers you can find in the market.

When running OfficeClip on Amazon cloud, you need to be careful about your running resources. The meter will keep running for all used or allocated resources, so unused resources lying around will pick up cost in no time!

We have provided step by step procedure on how to start a new instance of OfficeClip on the Amazon EC2 cloud:

http://forum.officeclip.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=189

Pricing considerations for running OfficeClip on Amazon EC2

OfficeClip can run in many different modes in Amazon. Depending on your workload and requirements you can select an instance type. For details please see: http://aws.amazon.com/windows/

  • We recommend small instance for most OfficeClip installations. This will cost you $0.12 per hour. If you sign up 1 year (for $227.50) or 3 years (for $350) the hourly price will fall down to $0.05 per hour (this is called Reserved Instance). For example for a 3 years contract (Reserved instance) the price of the small instance is $350 fixed price + $36 per month (24 x 30 x 0.05)
  • Amazon also charges for the EBS Drive(Elastic Block Storage), OfficeClip uses 30GB of disk space for OfficeClip Instance at $0.10 per GB per month. So it will be $3.00 per month (30 x 0.10).
  • Amazon also charges for disk access and it costs about $0.10 per million of I/O request. We have not measured this load yet but we estimate that this should not exceed $3.00 per month as long as other programs are not loaded in the server.
  • There are some ways to reduce this cost:
    • Instead of Small Instance you can choose to run OfficeClip on Micro Instance. This will cost less than half the small instance but it may affect speed at which OfficeClip runs. We tried to run OfficeClip on the Micro Instance and did not see any significant degradation (with a single user logged in!).
    • Amazon also has an auction system called Spot Instances where you can bid for the instance price and the instance will be allocated whenever you win the bid. However, Amazon will remove the instance if someone, at a later time, bid more than yours. We found Spot Instances to be good for short term testing.
  • Note that you must close or terminate all unused assets (instances, volumes etc.) as amazon bills for every active assets hourly.

 

Photo Courtesy turtlemom4bacon

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Comments (4) -

John
3/11/2011 6:00:18 PM #

Don't you have to pay for bandwidth also? I think Amazon charges for bandwidth @ $0.10 per GB on a sliding scale.

SK Dutta
3/11/2011 6:10:00 PM #

Yes you are right. My mistake! amazon charges for inbound traffic at the rate you mentioned. The outbound traffic is free for the first 1GB. Please visit http://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/calc5.html to calculate your bandwidth.

Please note that for regular OfficeClip application, the bandwidth consumption is not too high (unless you are uploading or downloading files a lot)

Jonathan Bailey
3/14/2011 3:11:51 PM #

Do you have any more information on running this on a micro instance. Will it work? if so how much will be the cost. You have touched upon this but I need some more information before deciding.

SK Dutta
3/14/2011 3:41:22 PM #

Micro Instance provides only 613MB of RAM (aws.amazon.com/.../), OfficeClip works with Sql Server Express (which itself can use upto 1GB of RAM), so normally it seems that OfficeClip will not work with AWS Micro Instance.

The good news is that I have tried running various OfficeClip applications in a Micro Instance and it ran fast and fine. That is not to say that there will *not* be slow down as soon as more people starts accessing it (or more data). How much slowdown? nobody can say! but I think you may be surprised with the speed as .net does quite a bit of caching.

The OfficeClip Micro Instance would cost anywhere from $12 to $24 per month (depending on if you are using reserved instances), we plan to run OfficeClip on Micro Instance for our next beta test release and I will report it here.

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