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EU lets Amazon EC2 in!

In a move that will extend the Web's biggest cloud to encompass much of the globe, the company that began as an online bookstore is opening its commercial server hosting platform to the EU.

The basic Amazon EC2 cloud services platform is now open to customers in the European Union. While this will bring Amazon's managed hosting alternative closer to potentially thousands more customers, they'll be paying slightly higher fees than in the US.

Instance charges -- the flat rates for each guest operating system hosted within the EC2 cloud -- will be 10% higher for EC customers than for those in the US. Prices will range from 0.11 cents (in US currency) per hour for the smallest virtual CPU to 0.88 cents per hour for the highest capacity virtual CPU, compared to 0.10 cents and 0.80 cents, respectively, in the US. Data transfer rates, however, will be identical, with input rates at 0.10 cents per GB, and declining output rates starting at 0.17 cents per GB for the first 10 TB, down to 0.10 cents after the first 150 TB.

Under the EC2 system, a customer either builds a virtual machine instance (what Amazon calls an AMI) or copies one from a library of AMIs custom-built to perform certain tasks. For now, European customers will have the Linux- and Unix-based AMIs available to them, which were the basic types Amazon offered while EC2 was still in beta. EC2 emerged from beta late last October, with the intention of adding Windows Server 2003-based AMIs soon thereafter.


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