Anyone who's ever tried to get financing or leaseback for machines knows what a pain it can be and how difficult it can be to qualify. EC2 makes all that pain go away, you can have 1 or 20 servers and scale up or down at a moment's notice. It's really more financial tech than datacenter magic.
I wonder if some kind of standardization for how to deploy virtual nodes and storage is going to develop. Presumably if there are other companies that are going to jump into the virtual datacenter market their APIs aren't going to look examctly like Amazon's.
I heard that Amazon's EC2/S3 service is getting a lot of calls from law enforcement because it's being used to host kiddie porn and file sharing services. Apparently being able to set up storage and compute farms from a web form with a credit card on in someone else's datacenter is pretty appealing to folks who don't want to get caught for what they're hosting.
Of course you expect this sort of thing, it's just a cost of doing business, like running a big forum system.Any big ISP or community site has dedicated staff to handlethe law enforcement requests and to police the userbase.Interesting that you have to do this sort of thing even to run a virtual datacenter product.