EC2: Amazon Adds Monitoring, Load Balancing for Cloud-based Servers
Moving further into the hosted world just as they promised to late last year, Amazon Web Services (news, site) has announced the release of a handful of new tools for the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Wanting users to spend less time and energy on the “muck” that is operational burdens and system admin, the new tools focus specifically on enabling visibility into the health and usage of AWS resources, enhancing application performance, and giving wallets a little break.

On Auto-Pilot

Last time we discussed Amazon’s efforts to gain traction in the hosted applications market the company had just announced AWS Management Console. Amazon claimed the console simplified the process of configuring and operating applications in the AWS cloud. Utilizing the tool, users would reportedly be able to get a global picture of their cloud computing environment thanks to an easy point-and-click Web interface. Along with the announcement came hints to a slew of other things cooking in the Amazon kitchen.

Today, those plans have been realized and are available in the form of three new features:

Amazon CloudWatch: This tool tracks and stores a number of per-instance performance metrics including CPU load, Disk I/O rates, and Network I/O rates. The metrics are rolled-up at one minute intervals and are retained for two weeks.

Because the metrics are measured inside Amazon EC2, users don’t have to install or maintain monitoring agents on every instance.

Auto Scaling: This feature defines scaling policies driven by the metrics collected by Amazon CloudWatch. Amazon EC2 instances will scale automatically based on actual system load and performance. The service maintains a detailed audit trail of all scaling operations as well.

Elastic Load Balancing: This feature allows users to distribute Web traffic across Amazon EC2 instances residing in one or more Availability Zones. Additionally, users can use Health Checks to ascertain the health of each instance via pings and URL fetches, and stop sending traffic to unhealthy instances until they recover.

Maturing and Money

Like we said earlier this year, it’s great to see AWS maturing. And as we’re sure you’re all aware, skyward is a promising direction. The new features are reportedly among the most requested by AWS customers, so if you’re one of them, give yourself a little pat on the back for contributing.

Amazon CloudWatch and Elastic Load Balancing are reportedly available on a pay-as-you-go basis with no up-front fee, minimum spend or long term commitment, and Auto Scaling is free to Amazon CloudWatch customers.

For more information on the new offerings, check out the detail page here