It’s certain that “cloud” is a buzzword that gets overused in my industry. It’s a very… fluffy word. Or perhaps a very dark word depending on what the weather is like at any given moment (and/or whether or not said cloud is composed of sentient machines). But I ran across an article a few day ago that wowed me, so I felt the need to pass it on.

It seems that recently there were a group of cancer researchers who used Amazon’s EC2 infrastructure to run some tests related to drugs that could be used to treat cancer. You can find the original article here. There were a few takeaways from this article for me. First and foremost was “OMG $4,829 per hour is a lot of money.” Although compared to the cost of doing these calculations with hardware they owned instead of rented would have cost significantly more. The second takeaway was the realization that this is truly an awesome time to be involved in the tech industry. Virtualization technology is such that tens of thousands of cores can be spun up without ever talking to a human being. Then those virtual machines can be spun down, and you just pay for the time they were working.

How amazing is that?

I can imagine that there are people in the industry, professors and the like, who would have given an arm or leg to have access to these kinds of resources on a whim in the 60’s or 70’s. Just… amazing.