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This question is a little more general than the title implies. I haven't been exposed to almost any server related code, so I hope you can be gentle with your replies.

What I want to know, really, is what kind of server I want, or need for a particular task. Here is the hypothetical task: I have an iPhone app, everybody on the app participates in a bunch of "text message" like conversations. So I can look at all the different conversations going on, and add my comments to any conversation. The conversations will also be broken down by category.

What is the appropriate way to both store, and retrieve this information (and update, etc)? Will I need an EC2 server in conjunction with S3 storage? Should I even bother with the cloud? Essentially, how would I access this information?

Sorry for such basic questions, I am learning as I go here. Any point in the right direction, even if it's not an answer, would be greatly appreciated.

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For anyone stumbling into the same issue, I found an Amazon SDK that's of great use: – Paul Apr 1 '11 at 3:54

Generally you would want to decide how you are hosting your server side code. Changes are you would want to write a rails application as a back end.

You don't really need to worry about EC2 or S3. You probably want something a little higher up. Check out for a great way to host ruby on rails applications. Rails makes it relatively easy to write server applications and Heroku will set you up with a database, web server, etc.

If you just want a way to store data in the cloud you could take a look at something like MongoHQ which is a cloud database. You could interface directly via the iPhone but generally this is a bad idea.

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