Amazon EC2 offers IBM apps by the hour

One of the best known cloud hosting providers, Amazon Web Services (, is now letting its users pay by the hour to run IBM ( applications on its Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, better known as EC2, without licenses or long term upfront commitments.

Amazon's Thursday announcement follows a February announcement of a partnership between Amazon and IBM to provide software developers pay-as-you-go access to development and production versions of IBM Information Management database servers, IBM Lotus content management, and IBM WebSphere portal, as well as middleware products, all running on Novell's SUSE Linux on Amazon EC2.

As a product of Amazon's February agreement with IBM, development AMIs were made available at the IBM's developerWorks website, and lets users bring their existing IBM licenses to Amazon's cloud. This week, however, Amazon made hourly pricing for the production versions of each product available.

According to Amazon developer evangelist Jeff Barr, the new payment structure opens up new opportunities to developers. "Because products like the WebSphere Portal Server and IBM Lotus Web Content Management Server can now be accessed on an hourly basis, you can now think about deploying them in new ways," Barr wrote in a company blog.

"If you are running a big conference or other event, you can spin up an instance for the duration of the event and only pay a couple of hundred dollars. If you need to do more than one event at the same time, just spin up a second instance. This is all old-hat to true devotees of cloud computing, but I never tire of pointing it out!"

AMIs are available in both US and EU regions, and can incorporate EC2 features such as Elastic IP Addresses and Elastic Block Storage. Amazon EC2 users, however, cannot run IBM apps on "Reserved Instances," which debuted in March, unless the user already has an IBM license, then they can install and run the software themselves and pay the usual EC2 rate or a "Reserved Instances" rate.

The hourly prices for Amazon EC2 running IBM range from $0.38 for running DB2 Express to upwards of $6.39 for running WebSphere Portal Server and IBM Lotus Web Content Management Server. Full pricing is available on Amazon's Amazon EC2 running IBM webpage.

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