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Jeff, this idea makes perfect sense, especially in the context of virtual machines. Rather than thinking of it iteratively, I can even imagine it happening concurrently--after all, each server instance is independant from the others. Why not just get a few hundred working at the same time.

My old company Surgient in Austin has built applications that take advantage of virtualization for software testing:

John K

Jeff, I'd wonder about the affect of virtualization on the performance measurements. Maybe not as much for CPU bound stuff, but certainly for I/O and networking.

Peter N Lewis

This could also easily be done live in any server set that is based on more than one instance on Amazon EC2. Instead of all your instances being identical, when they start up, have them vary their configuration somewhat by tweaking the config parameters to some place in the available config space, and then periodically (daily) report both their performance and their config parameters. Pretty soon a pattern should emerge showing which parameters best optimize the site under real world conditions.

Mark Wilcox

Out of curiosity - when is EC2 going to be open for wider use?

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