One of a number of services offered by Amazon is their “Elastic Cloud Computing” (EC2) service. This in effect allows you to take a snapshot of a server configuration and then run it up any time you want without having to worry about which physical machine you are using or where it is. You only pay for the time that you are actually running the server. This tends to be less expensive for services that are only used occasionally. There are in many cases also issues of backup, software licensing and security of connections to other computers on an internal network. Using it 24×7 would work out to be quite costly on a per annum basis.
We are increasingly using Amazon EC2 internally for training and demonstration and it has been suggested that we could usefully offer a demonstration environment to customers for a day or whatever.
For a few users it might even be advantageous to consider moving their operational service onto EC2, although a number of issues would need to be investigated and resolved.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions on whether this would be helpful, please do leave a comment. If you use your Talis Decisions service infrequently enough to make EC2 an attractive operational option, please talk to your account manager