AWS Extends Enterprise Reach from the Cloud

Mike Vizard
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Network Evolution Key to Driving Cloud Expansion

Amazon Web Services (AWS) significantly expanded its enterprise ambitions today with the addition of a new document-sharing service and a significant expansion of the tools it provides organizations to build and manage mobile applications.

Speaking at the AWS Summits 2014 conference in New York today, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels says the cloud service provider is deliberately targeting three of the thornier issues in enterprise IT. The goal, says Vogels, is to reduce not only the cost of providing these functions, but also the amount of time and effort it takes to deliver them.

The new Amazon Zocalo document sharing and collaboration service, for example, not only allows users to share and synchronize files, but also make sure those files are encrypted at rest and in transit, says Vogels. In addition, Vogels says Zocalo, now available in a limited preview edition, provides integration with corporate directories such as Microsoft Active Directory. This allows users to access data using the credentials they already have, provides access to audit logs, and gives the ability to apply governance policies against data that is stored in the Amazon S3 service.

Priced starting at $5 per user month for up to 200GB of storage, Amazon Zocalo is also free for any customer that makes use of the Amazon WorkSpaces desktop as a service (DaaS) offering.

On the mobile front, AWS is also making available additional tools aimed at simplifying the development and management of mobile applications.

Amazon Cognito, for example, manages user identities and makes it easier for developers to synchronize data between their application and the AWS cloud. Amazon Mobile analytics provides access to tools that allow developers to more easily discover and track events. AWS also enhanced its software development kit for building these applications with support for connectors to additional backend AWS services. AWS also updated its fully managed Amazon SNS push notification service to allow developers to schedule when they want to send messages.

During the event, Vogels noted that one of the paradoxes of cloud computing is that IT organizations suddenly gain access to thousands of servers running more applications than ever that also wind up generating more log files than most IT organizations can possibly cope with.

Vogels says that in order to be successful in the cloud, IT organizations need to relentlessly measure how both systems and applications are performing. The problem, says Vogels, is that log collection and processing is painful.

To address that specific issue, Vogels showcased Log for CloudWatch, a tool that automatically aggregates logs across AWS compute instances and then provides IT organizations with the tools needed to effectively monitor and analyze those logs. Log for CloudWatch is designed to leverage Amazon Kinesis managed service for real-time processing of data and the AWS Redshift data warehouse in the cloud to allow log management to scale to millions of records per second, say Vogels.

AWS is clearly making a concerted effort to pull enterprise IT onto its cloud. The degree to which that will occur depends both on how much data IT organizations decide to manage internally and the number of other options they decide to employ in the cloud. The one thing that is for certain is that AWS is determined to make sure that whatever other option they may choose, it will prove to be more expensive than using AWS.

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