NASA’s use of Amazon’s AWS is interesting. I knew that NASA had a private cloud so I didn’t expect them to use AWS. I’m guessing this is a good example of using the cloud to augment capability quickly when you don’t have enough (cloud bursting) and take advantage of services that are too costly to build yourself. NASA was able to quickly setup needed AWS EC2 services to prepare and serve images and then take advantage of Amazon’s huge network footprint to cache images on the edge of the net to serve images and other science data to a massive set of customers around the globe.
Here are a couple of quotes from InfoWorld’s article I picked up:
JPL is using a wide gamut of AWS tools and services, including EC2, S3, SimpleDB, Route 53, CloudFront, the Relational Database Service, Simple Workflow, CloudFormation, and Elastic Load Balancing. This array of services is vital not only to the mission's research objectives but also to public outreach, as images recorded by the rover are made available almost immediately via JPL's Mars Science Laboratory site
"We can provision a supercomputing cluster in the cloud that would qualify as one of the top 500 in the world" at a cost of "a couple hundred dollars an hour," he said. "Think of the possibilities."
References & Related
- The Mars Science Lab Home Page
- InfoWorld’s Article on NASA’s use of AWS
- Exploring Amazon’s Cloud IaaS & PaaS
- Chris Claborne