I want to be able to schedule some simple EC2 EBS backed instances (already configured) to start at 8am and stop at 4pm. This is only time I'll be using my integration server.

Is there a simple services (paid or not) that I can use to handle this. All I found so far is to buy a cheap VPS at linode or somewhere and install ec2 tools and schedule via crontab, but what a PITA that is to. On the other end is something enterprisey like Rightscale but not my idea of simple.

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    Don't you have a machine, perhaps at your office, that is on at 8am and off at 4pm that you can use to run the ec2-* commands? They are very cron-friendly. – crb Jul 7 '10 at 14:54
  • You might be able to do this with AWS Auto Scaling. It's possible to do time-based scaling. – ceejayoz Feb 10 '12 at 18:36

You're going to need to set up said service on a machine you control - do you really want your AWS credentials in the hands of some 'crontab-only' kind of site?

If you want something a bit nicer than plain ol' crontab, I recently read an article that suggests Hudson has some advantages.

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We're a new startup that builds Virtual Lab Environments using EC2. Our solution allows you to define policies for all machine launches, which includes a defined lease period for usage. At this stage no-one has asked for a solution that also launches machines at a pre-defined time, but it sounds like a relatively small addition to our app (and something others would find useful). If you're interested take a look at http://LabSlice.com to get a sense of how we extend EC2. Send me a contact email from there about the changes you want to the app and we can continue discussions to help meet your exact needs.

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You should consider using cloud computing management softwares, as it's usually the type of problems they solve. You will be able to find a free or paid version depending on what you really need. Here are two examples:

  1. RightScale: They provide a free account, with some nice features. You may want to consider the paid plans to fully enjoy the product, specially because you'll receive good on-boarding support.
  2. Scalr: I work there. Scalr is open-source, so you can download the source code and it won't cost a penny. Otherwise, if you don't want to install it yourself, you can test all the features during a month. Then you'll pay according to the number of servers you manage. Compared to RightScale, Scalr is more "out-of-the-box" and doesn't require on-board trainings.

To learn more about how RightScale and Scalr works differently, you can read our wiki. Finding the best product will depend on what your are looking for.

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