[IPython-User] On-demand IPython clusters service?

Harry Percival harry@resolversystems....
Tue Aug 30 08:49:49 CDT 2011

Hey IPython fans,

Do you think there would be any interest in a service that provides
on-demand IPython clusters on fast EC2 instances?

We're working on a web-based Python development environment called
PythonAnywhere, and we're looking to see if there are ways we can help
users with big data / number crunching / science requirements.  We've
got some reasonably good technology for spinning up Amazon VMS with
isolated Python execution environments, complete with all sorts of
useful packages (scipy etc).

I'm imagining a service where you go to a website, select a few options
- no of processes, processor speeds, RAM - click go and you get some
connection strings to hook up your local IPython shell (or our web-based
shell) to a controller & engines that we've spun up for you...   We would 
then charge a slight markup on Amazon's price.

The challenge will be to show where we add value - after all, anyone can
do this stuff for themselves, spin up their own instances and so forth. 
Partially the idea will be to solve a few problems so our users don't
have to - configuring a server with IPython, ZMQ, scipy, and all the
rest isn't too hard, but it's not quite a walk in the park... so we can
save people a few hours there.

Another area where we'd want to distinguish ourselves is in ease of
getting data in and out... On PythonAnywhere, we integrate with Dropbox
and Github... We could provide some nice friendly hooks for pulling in
data from S3 buckets too...   Also, we could charge by the minute, or by
the second, instead of Amazon's by the hour...

As you can see this idea is still in its infancy!  Still, your thoughts
are eagerly solicited - if you think you could use it, do tell us more
about how and what for... If you think it's a stupid idea, let us know
that too, and why! 

If we do go ahead with a beta of the service, we'd offer it for free at
first, and we'd offer any beta testers some kind of incentive - free
amazon time during the beta, and then maybe 6 months at cost price when
we go live...

-- Harry Percival Developer harry@resolversystems.com +44 (0) 20 3051
2751 PythonAnywhere: A Python development environment in your browser
<http://www.pythonanywhere.com/> 17a Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RD,
UK VAT No.: GB 893 5643 79 Registered in England and Wales as company
number 5467329. Registered address: 843 Finchley Road, London NW11 8NA, UK

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