Amazon Web Services (AWS) today opened during its re:Invent conference with an announcement that should make Apple fans giddy: the company is bringing the Mac mini to its cloud. These new EC2 Mac instances, as AWS calls them, are now available in beta preview.
The cloud based Mac Mini’s won’t be cheap, however. It’s important to note these are not virtual instances. What you’re getting here is full access to your own dedicated device that you’re not sharing with anybody else.
Unlike with other EC2 instances, whenever you spin up a new Mac instance, you have to pre-pay for the first 24 hours in order to use these new instances. After those first 24 hours, prices are by the second, just like with any other EC2 instance AWS offers today.
AWS will charge $1.083 per hour, billed by the second. That’s about $26 to spin up a machine and run it for 24 hours.
Aside from being accessible in the cloud and integrating with AWS Nitro Systems for speedier networking, David Brown the VP of EC2 states these are completely unmodified Mac Mini’s with Bluetooth and WiFi disabled.
It helps, Brown said, that the minis fit nicely into a 1U rack. You can’t really stack them on shelves — you want to put them in some sort of service sled [and] it fits very well into a service sled and then our cards and all the various things we have to worry about, from an integration point of view, fit around it and just plug into the Mac mini through the ports that it provides.
It would seem the target audience for now will be developers who require cloud-based testing and development for their iOS and Mac applications. The Mac Mini also allows remote desktop access, so developers and geeks will get a fully functional Apple OS experience in the cloud.
The new Mac Mini’s provided by AWS will run on Intel i7 hardware; the template being deployed provides 6 physical CPU’s and 12 logical cores with 32 GB of memory. Using the Mac’s native networking options, AWS takes it a step further and integrates those components with their AWS Nitro Systems for faster networking and storage I/O.
The new Mac Mini cloud desktops will be similar to any other elastic compute resource provided by AWS; the virtual Mac Mini’s will integrate and work with AWS Block Storage and the virtual desktops can be given public IP addressing alongside security or firewall rules.