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Programming Amazon EC2 Paperback – 17 Mar 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (17 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449393683
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449393687
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.3 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 387,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Book Description

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About the Author

Jurg van Vliet graduated from the University of Amsterdam in Computer Science. After his internship with Philips Research, he worked for many web startups and media companies. Passionate about technology, he wrote for many years about it and its effects on society. He became interested in the cloud and started using AWS in 2007. After merging his former company, 2Yellows, with a research firm, he decided to start 9Apps, an AWS boutique that is an AWS solution provider and silver partner of Eucalyptus, together with Flavia. Give Jurg a scalability challenge, and he will not sleep until he solves it—and he will love you for it.

Flavia Paganelli has been developing software in different industries and languages for over 14 years, for companies like TomTom and Layar. She moved to The Netherlands with her cat after finishing an MSc in Computer Science at the University of Buenos Aires. A founder of 9Apps, Flavia loves to create easy-to-understand software that makes people’s lives easier, like the Decaf EC2 smartphone app. When she is not building software, she is probably exercising her other passions, like acting or playing capoeira.


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Howard on 28 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was initially quite impressed and excited with this book, and to be fair, it helped get a couple of elements up relatively quickly (notably S3 and cloudfront related things, but these are not the rocket science). I picked it because I needed to get up to speed quickly and it was the most recent publication on the topic, plus I generally like O'Reilly technical books.

It covers most of the AWS elements with a couple of newer exceptions, in a relatively easy straightforward "adult" tone (no stupid joking around) I'm using the EC2 sections right now which have not answered all my questions unfortunately.

I feel the content is a bit mixed up throughout the book and doesn't flow as well as it might. It seems to jump between disparate examples without sufficient (generalised) explanation of architecture choices and such like. This "jumpiness" detracts from the overall appeal for me.

I continue to dip in and out of the book which says something positive about usefulness and it is more approachable than a lot of the amazon technical docs. I will say this - in terms of high level familiarisation with the diverse and often complicated number of services offered, it does succeed, but I ended up going much deeper with the amazon technical docs rather than with content in the book itself.

But I can't quite put my finger on why this book doesn't quite hit the mark for me. I'm an experienced sysadmin/developer and may be I was expecting something a bit more heavyweight than is contained in the 150ish pages, perhaps I am not the intended audience
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By xyz574 on 20 Aug. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book in one sitting on a single plane ride. Strengths:
* Dives straight into practical details of working with EC2 rather than waffling over cloud
* Straightforward language, doesn't succumb to cloud-mania.

Weaknesses:
* Doesn't go deep enough into the hard parts of EC2 applications (redundancy, spanning apps across zones)
* Long/verbose code samples which fill a lot of paper but don't add much and probably should have been a separate download.
* A bit web-centric, assumes the typical EC2 horizontally-scalable Rails type application.

This is a useful book if you are picking up EC2, if only because it is light enough to get out the way in very little time. However, once you've devoured this you will need to seek out deeper information elsewhere.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Short book based on author's experiences 30 April 2011
By Richard Bejtlich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Because this is a short book, I'll write a short review. Programming Amazon EC2 (PAE) explains how to use certain elements of Amazon Web Services to deploy applications in Amazon's cloud infrastructure. The discussion centers on the authors' experiences deploying live, production Web sites (like Kulitzer) using AWS. I found this approach refreshing and novel, because it reads like a playbook for recreating similar infrastructure for the reader's own purposes.

PAE regularly explains how to accomplish tasks using the AWS Web interface, but crucially (for me anyways) the book also generally shows the same processes using command line tools on Linux. Because I find it easier to read CLI instructions than follow screenshots of Web sites, I appreciated the text-based approach. PAE also helps the reader understand the reasoning behind Amazon's release of various AWS offerings. It's clearer now the problems Amazon was solving internally, which drove the delivery of new capabilities to customers.

My main problem with PAE is the almost total lack of security considerations. I say "almost" because the word "secure" does appear on p 87: "One advantage of SimpleDB here is that it's ready to use right away. There is no setup or administration hassle, the data is secure..." Sure it is! The authors also mention using Access Control Lists to permit Internet users to use Web applications, but otherwise there is no discussion of the risks of relying on cloud infrastructure. Reading recent news should be enough to remind the reader of these issues.

Overall, you will like PAE if you're looking to see how another small company jumpstarted their business by deploying applications in AWS. For future editions I would like to see discussions of security plus comparisons to other cloud offerings.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Good, broad overview for experienced sysadmins 15 Mar. 2011
By John Brady - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Programming Amazon EC2Programming Amazon EC2 is a hands-on guide to use of Amazon's cloud platform, with a focus on showing the reader how to approach the various components of the EC2 ecosystem. The authors state early on that the goal is to give the reader "a sense of all AWS functionality", so you will not find any one area explored in extreme detail.

The text generally achieves its goals. After a brief history of EC2 at Amazon, it moves quickly into establishing the necessary tools environment and then connecting to a new machine instance. This is not a cookbook, and some mundane yet critical details (e.g., setting permissions on your key files to 400 when running on Linux) are skipped; these are not fatal omissions, but they may hamper your experience if you are not seasoned on your platform of choice. Also, most examples are geared toward the Linux (Ubuntu) environment, so you will need to be able to translate those commands and concepts to your chosen environment. Once the machine image has booted, this text will assume that you are fully competent to administer the operating system of that image, including package installation, editing configuration files, etc.

Overall, good breadth of information in a relatively quick read, although you will need to follow along and try the examples with your chosen image/environment/application to really see a return on time invested.

Disclaimer, I was provided access by O'Reilly Publishing to an electronic copy of this book for review purposes.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Great Book 29 Jun. 2011
By Marco Mustapic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book gives a great and broad overview of Amazon EC2. Even though It is a complex platform, it is explored in a straightforward and practical way. The most important services are explained with enough detail to quickly start trying them. Using as examples the web apps they've put in production, the book goes from an initial and simple deploy, then through scaling and load balancing, refactoring, decoupling and finally decreasing downtime and managing uptime efficiently.

One of the strongest points of this book is the authors' real-world usage of EC2: every recommendation, tip and best practice is based on day to day experience. While the web administration console is covered and used for some taks, many others are done with the command-line tools, as one would do with in a real production environment. When reading the scripts one can appreciate what is really going on. Some useful third party tools are also described.

Keep in mind that this text requires some technical background. You will not find here how to install or setup a Django or Rails environment from the ground up. But this is actually a good thing for people like me who already work with deployed apps and want to move them to the EC2.

The only downside to mention is not really the book's fault. EC2 is constantly being improved and new services are being added all the time, and third party tools and services are constantly popping up, so some sections can look incomplete in the future. A website for the book could be a good complement.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Informative read and useful guide 3 April 2011
By Joeyvandijk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Expecting a book with examples and insights, this book has given me all information I expected. You will read why certain services are made but also where they are most useful by given real-world examples. Between the lines you will get valuable tips about best practices/warnings. While planning to use Python the book focusses on Ruby/PHP/Java but still reading the code makes it clear enough what I will need to do in another programming language to make AWS work for me.

Well done writing, and these are the books you will need to get a good insight in new technology but is also useful while implementing ideas onto AWS!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Invaluable Information 25 Dec. 2011
By Michael - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm starting to read a little bit more about Amazon Web Services. It all seems pretty great. I'm surprised that it's new to me as it's been around since 2002. I've been reading Programming Amazon EC2 by Jurg van Vliet which is a pretty informative book. I've been learning about all of what AWS has to offer, which from what I've understood so far is practically invaluable, whether it be the infinite storage that Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) offers, or Amazon SimpleDB as a NoSQL option, their Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) which I think is also an amazing service thats offered... and their Auto Scaling ... and Cloud Front CDN. I can't believe all of this is new to me. Boggling my mind. Anywho... It's yet another step to move into the distributed server technology world. This is an extremely informative read and it's actually very nice to have on my Kindle app on my Android and iPad because it allows me to highlight and go back to specific things on a whim. For a mere $27, I'd recommend purchasing this.
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