Amazon EC2 runs Whorunsgov.com
Amazon has built an amazing product that allows new technology products to innovate and scale with minimal capital investment. We have come a long way from when only big money could buy the infrastructure required to launch a new technology product.
On July 25, 2008 I was asked to architect and solution the technology infrastructure for a new Wiki we were planning to develop and launch coinciding the Inauguration of the new president. The site, WhoRunsGov.com, provides detailed profiles of the folks who matter in Washington DC. I term it as a Wiki 2.0 site because it allows for submission of content and updates by users to be vetted and edited before it is posted on to the site.
Cost: The fact that it was an R&D project, we needed to keep the initial investment as low as possible. To meet that goal, I was convinced that we should build the site with open source technology and host it on the cloud. Having closely following the evolution of Amazon Web Services since 2007, it was the obvious choice for hosting the site. Jeff Barr of AWS kept me up to date on all the cool stuff they were doing. Thanks Jeff!
Time to Market: Our dev and prod sites were up and running in days. Incredible!
Scalability: We initially built the site on a medium server and then upgraded to a large server before launch. The flexibility of scaling the infrastructure up or down at will is of incredible value when one just does not know what the traffic will look like.
For now, I am convinced that I could not have made a better decision! I will write another post about our experience after a few months have passed.