Startup announces SaaS solution to manage Amazon Web Services resources

2nd Watch's 2W Atlas enables IT professionals to quickly create, deploy, and monitor cloud architectures

2nd Watch, a Seattle-based startup, made a fair amount of noise at the recent AWS re:Invent show in Las Vegas, announcing 2W Atlas, a SaaS application that is deeply integrated with cloud products offered by Amazon Web Services.

The company builds, deploys, and manages AWS-based IT operations for enterprise customers. In particular, 2nd Watch assists customers in evaluating the economics of moving IT operations into AWS; designs and builds highly reliable and scalable AWS-based enterprise IT platforms; and provides software tools and management services that enable enterprises to deploy, manage, and optimize cloud-based IT operation infrastructures.

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Matt Gerber, executive vice president of sales and marketing at 2nd Watch, told InfoWorld that 2W Atlas "is the first solution of its kind to visually harness the robust features of the AWS cloud. Today, IT organizations are asked to deploy infrastructure faster and at a lower cost, but still maintain IT corporate governance standards. 2W Atlas creates a bridge to accomplish these goals through a visual SaaS application that allows IT departments to quickly create, deploy and monitor approved cloud architectures."

The purpose of 2W Atlas is to provide organizations with increased peace of mind when moving to the public cloud. It does this by solving the IT governance and cost management challenges associated with migrating to the cloud, as well as alleviating the complexity of managing enterprise-scale deployments.

"IT departments today lack integrated governance solutions that enable them to combat some of the issues preventing enterprises from moving to the cloud, including data breach risks, unauthorized access to networks and uncontrolled spending," said Gerber. "Furthermore, IT professionals are being asked to deploy cloud infrastructures as quickly and cost effectively as possible. Yet most lack the in-house expertise to build and manage a cloud deployment, let alone do it fast and on budget."

In response to that challenge, 2W Atlas provides a compelling interface that gives IT administrators a visual representation of their cloud infrastructure. By delivering instant insight into what's been deployed and how, enterprises can pinpoint configuration challenges, make changes instantly (instead of within weeks), and can dig into cloud formation scripts to see if an architecture was changed. This improves the performance and enhances the security of public cloud deployments.

2W Atlas also integrates with the company's cloud billing and management software, 2W Insight. This helps simplify the costing and management of AWS resources by providing running cost estimation prior to deployment, and delivers resource allocations and chargebacks by project, business unit or user.

The company has also taken things one step further by integrating 2W Atlas with AWS CloudTrail, Amazon's new user visibility and resource tracking service. Organizations can now use the 2W Atlas visualization solution to get instant alerts when changes are made to key cloud infrastructures, such as security groups.

According to the company, the integration with AWS CloudTrail will allow administrators to log changes that are made to AWS services and evaluate them against known cloud deployments. The normal changes are simply added to the log, but critical changes are bubbled up as an alert in the 2W Atlas product to make sure that critical infrastructure changes are tracked and made auditable.

As 2013 comes to a close, companies will need to decide between investing more money in privately owned data centers and moving applications to public cloud infrastructures like Amazon. It's obvious where 2nd Watch and its investors are placing their bets.

What does your company have planned in 2014? More private data center spend? Or is it looking to the public cloud?

This article, "Startup announces SaaS solution to manage Amazon Web Services resources," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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