In the beginning was the floppy disk and all was well with the world. No software was ever installed that did not come from a floppy, even if it took 30 disks that required manual changing. Some of those people had used paper punches and teletypes before and they never missed a chance to tell you about it! So a floppy was “high speed data transfer” to them.
Then came the CD-ROM, a single disk to store dozens if not hundreds of floppies and for a time, Software Installation Nirvana was achieved by all. With all the extra space, software became more and more bloated but hard drives were growing at a faster and faster rate so nobody cared.
Finally, the Web appeared on the horizon and the concept of downloading software and installing it rather than using any kind of medium was revealed to a breathless world. Vendors and users who had just achieved Software Installation Nirvana just while ago were now at a Higher Level of Nirvana, Level Two. Level Two doesn’t use any medium at all, just light itself carrying pulses along fibers!
Just when we thought that we had reached the ultimate level of Nirvana, an online bookstore and retailing giant started something called a “cloud” in which Level Three can finally be revealed. In this brave new world, you don’t install software at all – you spin up a virtual machine with the software already installed and preconfigured, with absolutely nothing else on there that you don’t need!
This gives vendors WAY more control over the environment our software is used in and eliminates a vast number of issues that always arise with different version of the OS, the browser, the .NET framework, yada yada yada. It gives users all the power they need at their fingertips in a few minutes, to be easily shut down when no longer needed. This, you must admit, is Level Three of Software Installation Nirvana!
We now have something like the original circuit cards that came in the PC except these are dedicated application servers and not hardware components. Starting with a bare bones, stripped down version of Windows guarantees not only fast boot up times but reduced storages costs. Then who cares if you are two versions behind the latest browsers and whatnot – you know that what you are giving the customer works “out of the cloud” and has been tested. But if you install it on the user’s machine, all bets are off! Back to Level Two, sorry - come back when you are ready!
Cloud Lab is a lot like that – the same core technology stack and base AMI can be configured to run a classroom, an online meeting or a development and test lab. It’s super svelte construction guarantees the fastest possible boot up times using your selected CPU instance (small, medium, large, x-large). Real men always choose x-large, of course, so that means a user with a netbook will have a machine at their disposal that would require a hulking noisy tower and a cooling power supply!
This is Level Three Software Installation Nirvana, available today on EC2 – don’t use a floppy, don’t use a CD-ROM, don’t even download it! Instead, find the AMI and spin it up!
Cloud Lab – how Windows® is run on the cloud