I recently attended a cloud computing meetup in Melbourne hosted by an Amazon Web Services evangelist. I'm usually quite sceptical of the content of such meetups - I've met my share of salesmen from big vendors in my career - but the community aspect of such a meeting was too tempting to ignore. There was about 35 developers in attendance, mostly rubyists and sys-admin types. In all it was a productive session which had me thinking, when will I put this to use?
It turns out, one of the systems I've previously built has been languishing in neglect because of expensive and unmanageable Java hosting. I used to host a Virtual Private Server (VPS) for about 90$ (AUD) a month. This hosted a Tomcat Server, MySql, mail server and my website (PHP). I found this to be quite an expense, given the demo was rarely accessed - as it is specialised software. Also I had the hassle of cleaning up the data so that prospective clients found a professional demo ready for their use. This also needed to allow for long term trials so cleaning up the database every hour wasn't feasible.
It is a tribute to the maturity of Amazon's Web Services that it has been able to meet my requirements. I am in the process of chronicling the challenges I faced in creating this on-demand demo service.