FreeBSD on Amazon EC2 cluster compute, and the Cloud

FreeBSD on Amazon EC2

Colin Percifal announced back in December 2010 that he had managed to make FreeBSD run on Amazon EC2. There were some quirks and some work-rounds needed, but it worked.

FreeBSD ran only on the ‘small t1.micro’ instance, but it wasn’t working on the ‘cc1.4xlarge instances’ (8 cores of 2.93 GHz Nehalem, 23 GB of RAM, two 840 GB disks). Colin announced that this is now working: FreeBSD Amazon EC2 Cluster Compute.

Personally, I don’t like the idea of keeping any (personal) data and files in the Cloud, but it’s great news that FreeBSD runs on Amazon EC2. After all, FreeBSD is lean, agile and flexible,  so it should be able to run on almost anything.

The Cloud

Talking about the Cloud, the idea is nice, but it is dangerous, for security and availability reasons, to be dependent on a 3rd party cloud provider, whether it be Google, Amazon, RackSpace etc.

The following are some links to recent events showing how unreliable and insecure cloud providers can be.

Though these issues, vulnerabilities and problems have been dealt with and fixed (esp. the Tarsnap problem was handled very well), trusting and relying on ‘the cloud’ should be a decision that is well considered. Even Tarsnap, a service run by Colin, a highly regarded FreeBSD security specialist, had a security problem!

No company, however big it is, however much knowledge and experience they have, is able to offer 100% uptime and guarantee 100% data security.

Private Clouds could be the golden middle way, e.g. ownCloud, OpenStack, Eucalyptus. Cloud technology but run and managed within a / your company.


  1. who says

    I would think that by using cloud technology locally defeats the purpose of cloud computing which is outsourcing the expense and expertise of running your own cloud infrastructure?

  2. Leonardo says

    “Personally, I don’t like the idea of keeping any (personal) data and files in the Cloud, but it’s great news that FreeBSD runs on Amazon EC2.”

    How could you sustain a blog ( if you don’t like the idea of keeping any data on INTERNET? The only difference between the “Cloud” infrastructure and the normal hosting services is that on Cloud concept the infrastructure is sold as a service (IaaS), and in this case the end user of this service is a sys admin.

    I’m just trying to understand if your concern is about the concept as a whole or the idea of hosting files on the internet itself.

  3. Gerard says

    I was more meaning keeping personal files and documents in the cloud, e.g. having spreadsheets with personal and financial info on Google Docs or any other service.

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