Amazon out to prove Web Services has enterprise chops

Companies with customer-facing Web systems should adopt cloud services immediately, Web Services CTO Werner Vogels says

There is still a misconception that Amazon Web Services exists to sell the company's excess server capacity, but that is not the case, CTO Werner Vogels said during a keynote at Cebit.

"There is a myth out there that when Christmas comes, suddenly, all of the foundations under your building will be gone ... that is obviously not the case," said Vogels, referring to Amazon's high-volume sales during the holidays.

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During his speech, he showcased the customers that are using Amazon Web Services, with the aim of persuading skeptics that his company offers a viable option.

For example, also at Cebit Software AG announced ARISalign, which offers business process management as a service using Amazon Web services' cloud computing. Time-to-market and tight control over costs were among the reasons Software AG picked Amazon, Vogels said.

Also, the growth of Amazon's cloud can be seen in the number of objects stored on S3 (Simple Storage Service). The number grew from 54 billion at this time last year to more than 100 billion, according to Vogels.

Bigger scale lets Amazon Web Services offer lower prices than competitors, according to Vogels. The latest price cut was Feb. 1 for outbound data transfer.

Lower cost for both infrastructure and operations is the first attraction when companies start looking at moving systems into the cloud, but the ability to add or decrease computing capacity as needed soon takes over as the biggest advantage, Vogels said.

Some enterprises are more enthusiastic about cloud services than others -- Web site and application hosting companies, as well as media distribution companies are jumping right in, he said. Other applications that make sense to move to the cloud are testing and development, backup, disaster recovery and large-scale data analysis, according to Vogels.

However, there are companies that take a more long-term approach to cloud services and start by making all new IT systems ready for the cloud, he said.

Vogels also took the opportunity to push Amazon's VPC (virtual private cloud), which integrates a company's existing IT infrastructure and the cloud, which makes it particularly attractive to enterprise customers, according to Vogels. Companies can build a walled garden in the cloud using VPC and connect it to the data center using an encrypted VPN (virtual private network), he said.

VPC was announced almost six months ago and is still only available in beta, according to Amazon Web Services' site. Vogels didn't provide any details on when VPC would exit the testing stage.

He assured the audience that Amazon Web Services is focused on security, which is another big issue when it comes to cloud computing.

"We would not be in business if we did not consider security our top priority," said Vogels.

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