Amazon EC2 allowed developers to create and bundle their software into Amazon Machine Images - Pre-packaged Pre-configured Filesystem. Developers were then able to share their AMIs with friends and family (no kidding) and even with the general public.
Now with our brand new "Paid AMI support", they can set their own price and earn perpetual commission. This adds a whole new business model to Amazon EC2.
For example, A Ruby on Rails Developer can now configure the entire stack (Nginx, Apache, Mongrel, MySQL and all the open source goodies that "simply works"), set its price, say $0.15 cents/hour and $0.12 /GB-up and $0.21 /GB-down and fire away. While Amazon EC2 gets the same old traditional $0.10/hour, $0.10/GB-up and $0.18/GB-down, the developer (AMI-creator) gets the difference (in this case, $0.05/hour, $0.02/GB-up, $0.03/GB-down) credited back to his account from whomever who instantiates that image.
The AMI-creator can set any price for the AMI depending upon the software that is loaded or as compensation for the work and time he has put onto making it and AMI-consumer simply purchases the AMI just like he purchases more tangible items from Amazon.com.
Now lets think a little harder to see what can we do with it. Imagine all the possibilities. You are more than welcome to brainstorm (in the comment section of this post). A few that come to my mind are:
- Monetizing 'Software As A Service' - John Doe has a web app (say CRM software, Blogging Software) that consumers, in the past, used to install, configure, optimize. Now it comes "factory-installed". John can deploy and create a Paid AMI, run some numbers and set the price and consumers can simply pay for the "service" over and above the hosting charges.
- Monetizing your Configuration Setup - John Doe has provided some migration, automation and upgrade utilities over and above already configured Apache-Tomcat.
- Monetizing your Optimization Setup - John Doe has developed a smart hack that bumps up performance for Rails/Tomcat/WebSphere in a particular configuration setting or configured and opmitized instances that work as a MySQL cluster.
More ideas are always welcome!