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8/25/2009
06:42 PM
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Amazon Launches Private Cloud Service

Customers will create a VPN to bridge Amazon to their existing IT infrastructures and use their existing security systems to protect data.

Amazon Web Services, hoping to address some of the security concerns of cloud computing, on Wednesday launched a new service for creating private clouds. The Amazon Virtual Private Cloud provides business customers with their own, "isolated" computing resources in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, accessible by a virtual private network.

Amazon said customers will be able to use their existing security services and firewalls for their private clouds. Amazon VPC will have no long-term contracts, requires "minimum" upfront investments, and customers will only pay for the resources they use, Amazon said in a statement.

The offering is designed for companies looking to expand parts of their IT infrastructure onto a cloud computing platform, to benefit from the reduced costs that come from sharing hosted computing systems.

Using a few API calls, customers will be able to create an isolated network, specify an IP address range, and launch the Amazon cloud into that network.

They'll then create a VPN to bridge Amazon to their existing IT infrastructures. Existing security and networking technologies will apply to any traffic moving between a customer's private clouds within the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and the public Internet, Amazon said.

Concerns about security and control are causing some businesses to move cautiously with cloud computing, or avoid it altogether. Amazon hopes the new offering will address those concerns and attract businesses that view private clouds as a more viable alternative to public ones.

Among a survey of 500 software developers conducted by research firm Evans Data, developers cited data recovery and security as major concerns about cloud computing. Forty-one percent said they had no plans to develop applications for the cloud or deploy existing applications to the cloud. But of those already involved in cloud development, a greater percentage were developing for private clouds instead of for public clouds. Half of the developers surveyed using Amazon EC2, which has thus far been public, have said they were doing so experimentally or for prototyping an application, not to run a business critical application.

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