We do use Amazon EC2 for our public website. We used to use it for our public demo but have recently moved that down to our server room because we wanted more control over the hardware. Amazon EC2 is great but is a little expensive for a faster machine. To use Ignition in Amazon EC2 you can only really use a large or x-large instance which is around $4000-$5000 a year per instance. It was cheaper for us to buy a server and run it locally.
With that said, we keep our website in the cloud for the uptime. The reason people really like Amazon EC2 is because they don’t have to worry about the hardware or have to rely on a local internet connection. Amazon maintains that and guarantees a certain uptime.
To answer your question, yes we do like Amazon EC2. We use an Ubuntu server AMI and are really happy with it. I wouldn’t choose a different one. I recommend using a Linux AMI over a Windows one strictly because of the cost. It is pretty expensive to run a powerful instance on Windows. However, if you are not familiar with a Linux server and commands, Windows can be a better fit. I happen to like Linux and am very familiar with Linux commands. For me, it is really easy to SSH into my Linux machine in the cloud.
I don’t think the Micro instance will work for a demo machine. The problem is memory. We used a small instance originally for our demo machine in the cloud and quickly ran out of memory. Ignition likes to use a full GB of memory. We had to set our demo machine to a large instance and it worked well but was expensive to keep running.
Amazon EC2 would be a good fit for you to run a database application on. We had our CRM system (done in Ignition) in the cloud for a while but ran into a few latency issues for large amounts of data transfers so we moved it in house. You can store the database in Amazon’s elastic block storage which is fast and easy to backup. They also have facilities to move the backup to S3 (file server) which is reliable and fast as well.
They now have a new service called RDS which is a relational database server. I haven’t played with it but have heard great things about it. They make it really easy to backup and it is reliable. I don’t know if you have connect to RDS from Ignition as a database but if you could it would be a good solution to the store and forward into the cloud.
Long story short, Amazon’s cloud services are great but you have to weigh the pros and cons of using them. You have to take into consideration uptime and cost of running the server in the cloud per year. Hope this helps you get started.