Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) forms a central part of Amazon.com's cloud-computing platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), by allowing users to rent virtual computers on which to run their own computer applications. EC2 encourages scalable deployment of applications by providing a web service through which a user can boot an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to configure a virtual machine, which Amazon calls an "instance", containing any software desired. A user can create, launch, and terminate server-instances as needed, paying by the second for active servers – hence the term "elastic". EC2 provides users with control over the geographical location of instances that allows for latency optimization and high levels of redundancy.
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