I spend a lot of time these days spinning up NFV (Network Function Virtualization) environments. Several months ago, I needed to spin something up really quickly. I chose to use my personal Amazon AWS account for convenience. I spun up all the assets I needed, ran a few tests, then destroyed (or so I thought…) everything. I expected to receive the first month’s invoice from Amazon. I was surprised, however, to find that invoices kept coming for several months. It turned out that I had created some of my EC2 instances with availability settings that had AWS automatically re-create them after I deleted them. EC2 zombies!
Deleting the EC2 instances for good was tricky. I ended up needed Amazon support to take clean everything up for me. I thought, “There must be a simpler way to manage this stuff!” I’m happy to report that there is!
One solution that I have been playing with for the last 3 weeks is Ravello Systems. You can find their website here:
Ravello offers an intuitive drag-and-drop interface for creating VMs that are ultimately hosted on either Google (optimized for cost) or AWS (optimized for performance) cloud services. Ravello’s prices are low, and when you start an application you set a timer. After n hours, kill this thing! No surprise invoices. (You also have the option to let the application run forever…)
The 5-VM configuration, above, optimized for performance (aka hosted on Amazon) costs just over $2 per hour. And only for the hours it runs. There is a minimal charge for storage–pennies per day.
Ravello is a simple, low-cost option for building cloud apps.