Amazon Expands Cloud Computing Services

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The move is seen as an effort to make cloud computing more attractive to businesses and organizations that might be worried about security and control issues when using "public" cloud computing resources such as Amazon Web Services' own Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) services.

Businesses can move applications such as ERP and CRM, e-mail and collaboration software to a private cloud using Amazon's Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) service. Users can access those resources and systems still running within a company as if both were running within the company's data center. EC2 services also can be added to the mix.

Customers will be able to use their existing security systems, such as firewalls, with the VPC service. The new service connects internal IT systems with cloud services using a VPN based on IPsec Internet Protocol security standards.

The new service reflects Amazon's "aggressive approach to the cloud," said a report from analyst Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research, a Hampton, N.H., industry research firm. "VPC shows that Amazon wants to dominate cloud infrastructure services not only for Web-facing applications and IT services for startups, but also for enterprise cloud computing, the prime target of established IT vendors," the report said.

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Amazon Web Services will charge the standard Amazon EC2 compute and data transfer charges for the new service, plus 5 cents per hour for the VPN connection. The beta is limited to one VPC per account. "For customers, VPC provides 'headroom,' the ability to expand computing capacity as needed, to be paid for only when used," the Technology Business Research report said.