Archive for September, 2010

EC2 Micro Instance announced by Amazon

September 9, 2010 Leave a comment

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Amazon announced today launch of  “Micro”  instance.  As per AWS team, this is to  fulfill the needs of customers who have asked   for a lower priced instance type that could satisfy the needs of their less demanding applications. Micro instances are optimized for applications that require lower throughput, but which still may consume significant compute cycles periodically. Micro instances provide a small amount of consistent CPU resources, and also allow you to burst CPU capacity when additional cycles are available. Specifications for micro are as follows,

Instance Type:      t1.micro

Memory:     613 MB

Processing Power :      Small Amount of Consistent CPU.  Up to 2 EC2 Computing Units (for short periodic bursts)

Storage :                 Elastic Block Storage (EBS) alone.

Cost: $0.02 per instance hour for linux/unix usage,  $0.03 for windows usage

Amazon EC2 Small vs Micro Cost Comparison
Amazon EC2 Small vs Micro Cost Comparison

Cost Comparison :  Small vs Micro

Amazon small instances costs 0.085 USD per instance-hour.  The new Micro instance  costs 0.02 USD per instance-hour.  Its a great cost saving for someone who is evaluating amazon ec2 cloud technologies for educational, technical evaluation purposes, or to run low

resource intensive  specialized  applications.  For someone who is considering running specialized applications  for long term, Micro Reserved instance would save great deal of cost on top of this.


  • Inexpensive
  • Good  for  EC2 evaluations, educational purposes
  • Good for Low bandwidth/processing appliances such as dns servers, load balancers,  network appliances
  • Good for Low traffic websites. Better than opting for a shared web  hosting plan


  • Supports EBS  (Elastic Block Storage)  only.  This is a disadvantage as you’ll have to shell extra for the storage
  • Burstable processing power may be inadequate for running a medium traffic applications which need consistent performance. Rackspace small instance, which costs lesser than  ec2 micro,  is comparatively faster with respect to processor speed according to some  benchmarks available.

EC2 Micro instance is a good news  for the one’s who have been waiting for a low cost, low powered instance to get started with and run small applications and scale up as and when needed.  Also useful for startups which are cash strapped to get online with their apps quickly. However, one should also evaluate other cloud providers such as Rackspace before making a choice.


Ubuntu 10.4 “Lucid Lynx” Review

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

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This is a huge improvement over past versions of Ubuntu.  Gone is the dreadful orange/brown theme of yesteryear.  In is the new, super smooth dark look and feel. The new look of Ubuntu is classy.  Elegant. Refined. I would call it far more pleasing to the eye (in an “ahhh, that’s soothing” sort of way) than Windows 7 or MacOS X 10.6.  Of course that is a purely subjective thing, but that’s my take after sitting in front of all of these operating systems every day.  Ubuntu 10.04 is just plain easier on the eye.  Almost… calming. There have, of course, been some controversy around the new look.  Specifically the fact that the window buttons (close, minimize, etc.) have now been moved to the left side of the windows.  This… has made some people cranky. I, myself, was one of those people.  I disliked the change.  But I am now used to it and consider it not a big deal.  It certainly isn’t a deal breaker.  In fact there are already tutorials for how to move those buttons back to the right hand side.

Nixie Pixel\’s Ubuntu 10.4 Review


But what about beyond the desktop? How does Ubuntu 10.04 actually run? First and foremost, boot time is astounding.  I was surprised to see the winning result  for ubuntu boot time on a poll to be  30-59 seconds. Most Linux distributions are striving for that magical 10 second number and Ubuntu 10.4 is incredibly close. My recent installation of Ubuntu 10.04 was coming in at around 15 seconds. The addition of Samba pushed that number to a whopping 23 seconds. Now that is time from bios post to actually having a usable desktop – not just seeing the desktop and waiting for everything to finish loading so I can use it.

And just how is it once it is up and running? It is  Fast. Stable. In fact, I would be willing to say this is the most stable Ubuntu I have used. I have yet to witness a single glitch, hiccup, or crash. And I have been beating the heck out of this installation. I guess the best thing to say about Ubuntu 10.04 under the hood is that it is about as solid a desktop Linux release you will see. There have been some changes made including the switch from starting daemons from /etc/init.d/ to DAEMON start/stop/restart where DAEMON is the name of the daemon you are wanting to start. But all of those changes were made in the name of making Linux even easier.

Integrated Social Networking and Media

Lets talk for a moment about the new “Me Menu”.By default it sits in the upper right hand side of your screen.  And, from there, you have quick access to your instant messaging accounts (via Empathy, my favorite little IM client). That, by itself, is nice.  Not earth shattering.  But handy enough to be worth while.But you’ll also notice a “Broadcast Account” option there.  From this one spot you can post updates (simultaneously) to Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed and more. WOW !!

Once set up you will also receive message alerts from these services in the form of nice looking system notifications.  Plus, with the pre-loaded Gwibber, you can directly interact with all of these services. This takes Ubuntu from being a totally acceptable platform for interacting with social media  to become the platform for interacting with social media.  The other platforms don’t even come close.

It is simple, elegant and very well designed.

Ubuntu Software Center

I’ve often lamented  about the lack of a good, easy to use software store application for modern Linux distributions.  This is, I feel, one of the biggest things that can be done to further Linux as a desktop platform.  And with Ubuntu 10.4   it’s not here yet. But it’s getting closer.  With this release, the ubuntu software center  has become my favorite way to find and install new software.  It’s fast.  The user interface is clean and easy to navigate.  Finding new applications is incredibly easy.  Certainly a huge improvement over solutions such as synaptic and cli based apt.

The public plan was that the ability to purchase commercial (non-Free) software via the Ubuntu Software Center with the Ubuntu 10.10 release later this year.  And, if their progress with 10.04 is any indication, they seem to be right on track.

Revamped Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One,  Canonical’s online file storage service (similar in many ways to services such as DropBox) has been integrated far more tightly in this new release. It now auto-magically syncs your contacts, Tomboy notes and bookmarks across all of your Ubuntu powered machines. And, of course, it still provides 2gb of free storage for every Ubuntu user.  (For $10 per month you can upgrade  to 50gb of storage, syncing with mobile phones and Windows/Mac desktop applications). In my testing (using the free version of Ubuntu One) this worked astoundingly well.  Syncing of data was incredibly fast and getting setup was a snap. Will I be switching away from DropBox (which I have been a loyal customer of for some time)?  It’s looking that way.

The Ubuntu One Music Store

Continuing on the theme of expanded Ubuntu O ne services, Canonical has introduced the Ubuntu One Music Store. The prices are reasonable (typically seeming a little cheaper than iTunes), and the files are all provided in DRM-free MP3 format. In an interesting twist, when you purchase songs from the Ubuntu Music Store, those songs are download directly into your Ubuntu One online storage.  Which makes all of your music available on all of your Ubuntu-powered PC’s without needing to manually re-download or copy over your music. Which is, I must say, fairly awesome.  Plus, the store seems to work great.  Good speed.  Good sound quality.

Long Term Support (LTS)

10.4  is a LTS version, which means Ubuntu will officially support it for 3 years, untill April 2013 and release updates , pataches and security fixes. This is specially useful from the enterprise deployments.

Canonical has done a wonderful job as always with  ubuntu 10.4 LTS aka Lucid Lynx .