Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) is a web service that allows users to rent virtual computing capacity on which they can run their applications.

To use Amazon EC2, you simply:

  • Choose a pre-configured image or create a custom image
  • Configure the various security and network settings
  • Select a hardware performance level and OS
  • Start, stop and monitor as many instances of the image as required using the provided APIs or various management tools
  • Determine which locations to run in and whether to use dynamic or static IP allocation
  • Add optional persistent storage to the instances
  • Pay for the resources actually used, such as the hours an image is running, or the bandwidth used
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