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Amazon AWS is #2 ranked solution in top Infrastructure as a Service Clouds and PaaS Services. IT Central Station users give Amazon AWS an average rating of 8 out of 10. Amazon AWS is most commonly compared to OpenShift:Amazon AWS vs OpenShift. Amazon AWS is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 71% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 26% of all views.
What is Amazon AWS?

Amazon Web Services (AWS), is a collection of cloud computing services, also called web services, that make up a cloud-computing platform offered by Amazon.com. These services operate from 12 geographical regions across the world. The most central and well-known of these services arguably include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, also known as "EC2", and Amazon Simple Storage Service, also known as "S3". Amazon markets AWS as a service to provide large computing capacity more quickly and more cheaply than a client company building an actual physical server farm.

Amazon AWS is also known as Amazon Web Services, AWS.

Amazon AWS Buyer's Guide

Download the Amazon AWS Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

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Archived Amazon AWS Reviews (more than two years old)

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AR
Associate Director at Microland Limited
Real User
Helps us to provide clients with a cost-effective, end-to-end solution

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is an end-to-end cloud solution and design.

How has it helped my organization?

As a service vendor, we have helped clients to achieve faster "go to market" on their products, and have provided highly flexible cost-effective system management solutions.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of this solution are Compute, Security, Database, Media, Management, and Governance.

What needs improvement?

This solution would be improved with the inclusion of hybrid Kubernetes management.

For how long have I used the solution?

Seven years.

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is an end-to-end cloud solution and design.

How has it helped my organization?

As a service vendor, we have helped clients to achieve faster "go to market" on their products, and have provided highly flexible cost-effective system management solutions.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of this solution are Compute, Security, Database, Media, Management, and Governance.

What needs improvement?

This solution would be improved with the inclusion of hybrid Kubernetes management.

For how long have I used the solution?

Seven years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Conrad Fernandes
Lead Cyber Security and Hybrid Cloud Engineer at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Real User
A secure solution for commercial data analytics and storage

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for this solution is commercial cloud computing, analytics, and storage.

How has it helped my organization?

We have seen an improvement in our infrastructure, as the code makes it very easy to deploy quickly to AWS.

What is most valuable?

The features that we have found most valuable are IAM, KMS, and Security Groups for customizable security. Cloud formation for well-defined blueprints is also useful.

What needs improvement?

An easier way to determine estimated costs quickly would be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for this solution is commercial cloud computing, analytics, and storage.

How has it helped my organization?

We have seen an improvement in our infrastructure, as the code makes it very easy to deploy quickly to AWS.

What is most valuable?

The features that we have found most valuable are IAM, KMS, and Security Groups for customizable security. Cloud formation for well-defined blueprints is also useful.

What needs improvement?

An easier way to determine estimated costs quickly would be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Amazon AWS. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
552,305 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Ahmed Poshi
Vendor Management | Business Development at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Optimizes our customer's TCO, They can scale up and out at any time.

Pros and Cons

  • "Their technical support is really good. I am very satisfied."
  • "There's not much room for improvement but that being said, they can improve the overall process of the overall product features and backend."

What is our primary use case?

I use this product for hosting business applications like SAP on the AWS infrastructure. We have some new customers in Egypt and out of Egypt. This solution is magnificent. 

How has it helped my organization?

In our company, Amazon provides us with a lot of help like training for our staff. They always support us with any service or any solution. The security updates is perfect. and also supports for customers.

What is most valuable?

There are many benefits to AWS. For our customers, it optimizes their TCO. In terms of  computing, they can scale up and out. 

What needs improvement?

There's not specific things for improvement but that being said, they can improve the overall process and features of the product and to enhancement the stability.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's stable enough. In terms of actual numbers, it's 99.99% stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is really perfect. I can make any scale anytime, whether I scale out or scale up.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is really good. I am very satisfied.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Amazon is the leader in the public cloud categories, it has the largest market shares. I ask our customers why they're not using it. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a 9.5 out of ten. It's the leader in the public cloud and a leader in the market. 

I would recommend it to any customer using another solution. I would offer it as an alternative to another similar solution like IBM, Google and Azure.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Osama Mustafa
Cloud Expert | DevOps | Oracle Consultant at confidential
Consultant
Top 20Leaderboard
It provides full IaaS and PaaS for any company with a perfect price

What is our primary use case?

Hands-on experience with more than five implementation projects, working on different projects that are related to cloud with different vendors. AWS features exist to make your life easier.

How has it helped my organization?

AWS provides full IaaS and PaaS for any company with a perfect price, with features that exist in this vendor I don't see in any other vendor.

What is most valuable?

  • Lambda.
  • Alex development edge.
  • CloudFormation.

All of these features I've used heavily provide the best solution for any client.

What needs improvement?

  • I would like to see Lambda (code storage management), which means being able to increase our code storage limit through support.
  • Another example which is Simple Queue Service (SQS) event for Lambda: to be able to see support for SQS message events with Lambda.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Regarding to my work i am dealing with different cloud vendor all the time, but i never switch one solution to another.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

AWS pricing Reasonable & affordable by any business size, Small, Medium or large. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

None

What other advice do I have?

None

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Ajay Mendez
Founder at a tech vendor with 1-10 employees
Real User
Pay-as-you-go allows us to scale up as needed, giving us a lot of agility in our IT

Pros and Cons

  • "With the pay-as-you-go model, we don't have to predict future IT needs. We can just scale up as we want. That helps with a lot of agility in deploying stuff in our IT infrastructure."
  • "They release new solutions almost every quarter and you don't get that kind of innovation from an enterprise company."
  • "The AWS documentation is written in a way that is not very intuitive. That's an area they can improve."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is that we run all our IT on it. The performance has been okay so far.

How has it helped my organization?

With the pay-as-you-go model, we don't have to predict future IT needs. We can just scale up as we want. That helps with a lot of agility in deploying stuff in our IT infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

  • It's pay-as-you-go.
  • It has a breadth of solutions for databases, data mining, AI.
  • They release new solutions almost every quarter and you don't get that kind of innovation from an enterprise company.

What needs improvement?

The AWS documentation is written in a way that is not very intuitive. That's an area they can improve.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is really good. We have not had downtime so far.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Ours is a new company and we decided to go with AWS right from the beginning.

The most important criterion when selecting a vendor is their ability to help us get started as soon as we can. From the time we decide to deploy something to the time when the application is deployed, we look at which vendor will help us reduce that time.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I think the pricing becomes a problem as the IT organization grows. They need to give better pricing when companies grow.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at all the cloud platforms. AWS had more breadth in the services they offered.

What other advice do I have?

Look for what is required to deploy the apps in your particular organization. For example, if it's AI-driven then probably Google is a better cloud to go after. If there are a lot of Microsoft applications or if developers or the IT staff were trained in Microsoft software, then Microsoft Azure is a better fit.

I would rate AWS an eight out of 10 because it helps companies get started fast.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
RR
Co-Founder & Chief Evangelist at WonderLend Hubs
User
It offers durability, high availability, fault tolerance, and a high TCO benefit

What is our primary use case?

IaaS, PaaS, and a wide range of AWS services, including Aurora Postgre. We use this for two solutions that we provide to our clients. Channel Management automation Digital Lending Hub

How has it helped my organization?

We are an ISV. AWS helped us to dramatically transform our business model into a cloud based subscription service.

What is most valuable?

RDS (Relational database service), specifically Aurora. It offers durability, high availability, fault tolerance, and a high TCO benefit.

What needs improvement?

The rate of new services and features released by AWS has dramatically accelerated. AWS should provide even more support and engagement to accelerate adoption.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What is our primary use case?

IaaS, PaaS, and a wide range of AWS services, including Aurora Postgre.

We use this for two solutions that we provide to our clients.

  • Channel Management automation
  • Digital Lending Hub

How has it helped my organization?

We are an ISV. AWS helped us to dramatically transform our business model into a cloud based subscription service.

What is most valuable?

RDS (Relational database service), specifically Aurora. It offers durability, high availability, fault tolerance, and a high TCO benefit.

What needs improvement?

The rate of new services and features released by AWS has dramatically accelerated. AWS should provide even more support and engagement to accelerate adoption.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Fran Maita
Analyst at 1980
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
This solution features ease of use and market adaptability

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution features ease of use and market adaptability."
  • "The cutting-edge design is valuable."
  • "The use of this tool should be extended to Google and Apple operating systems."

What is our primary use case?

This tool is indispensable, and must be taken into account when designing. It is the best platform on the market today.

How has it helped my organization?

Our organization has benefited tremendously with Amazon AWS since its implementation as we race to find new digital marketing strategies.

What is most valuable?

  • Cutting-edge design
  • Ease of use
  • Market adaptability
  • Accessibility
  • Creator guarantee

What needs improvement?

In the next editions, the use of this tool should be extended to Google and Apple operating systems.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Trends are stable in Amazon AWS.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No specifics relating to scalability can be given.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have never used a tool like this, and since its implementation I have seen great results. 

What was our ROI?

The return on investment is positive in terms of short-term results. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Before choosing you can read other opinions and opt for the best tool that has aesthetic value and focus that is on par with Amazon AWS.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was evaluating other avant-garde options but none were better than Amazon AWS.

What other advice do I have?

It is a platform of high quality and commercial versatility. It is of the best that exist in the market.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JC
User at Ti Consultores SAS
User
IaaS with easy management and rapid implementation using Python Django Mezzanine

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is a corporate web page with e-payment eCommerce and personalized functions for digital marketing and other functions.  

How has it helped my organization?

Rapid implementation using tools that I specifically know: Python Django Mezzanine and several other libraries are compatible with these technologies.

What is most valuable?

IaaS with easy management, but training is required in a more personalized way. There should be required free training from the vendor and more personalized.

What needs improvement?

More complete, specific training for many of the technologies, specifically with Python Django and the CMS (Mezzanine).

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is a corporate web page with e-payment eCommerce and personalized functions for digital marketing and other functions.  

How has it helped my organization?

Rapid implementation using tools that I specifically know: Python Django Mezzanine and several other libraries are compatible with these technologies.

What is most valuable?

IaaS with easy management, but training is required in a more personalized way. There should be required free training from the vendor and more personalized.

What needs improvement?

More complete, specific training for many of the technologies, specifically with Python Django and the CMS (Mezzanine).

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user859389
President at Advanced Computation and Storage LLC
User
Overpriced solution which we use to run small instances for our back office applications

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is to use the solution for running many relatively small instances for back office applications and various other business important applications.

How has it helped my organization?

It did not improve our organization.

What is most valuable?

There are no particular 'features' which stand out. 

What needs improvement?

The pricing could be adjusted to provide more advantages versus current on-premise solutions for business applications.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

AWS is much too expensive compared to current on-premises solution for this type of work. AWS IaaS is a very generic service, which is extremely overpriced.  

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is to use the solution for running many relatively small instances for back office applications and various other business important applications.

How has it helped my organization?

It did not improve our organization.

What is most valuable?

There are no particular 'features' which stand out. 

What needs improvement?

The pricing could be adjusted to provide more advantages versus current on-premise solutions for business applications.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

AWS is much too expensive compared to current on-premises solution for this type of work. AWS IaaS is a very generic service, which is extremely overpriced.  

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user843717
Senior TV and Media Consultant at Ericsson
Vendor
A cheap alternative to having to build your own labs. Needs more transparency on what is persistent towards novice users.

What is our primary use case?

Web server hosting of a simple LAMP setup using Linux, Apache, and MySQL. Quick, cheap proof of concept solutions. 

How has it helped my organization?

No need for an on-premise infrastructure. It provides immediate access to vast resources at a relatively low cost and allows for setting up cheap PoCs.

What is most valuable?

For testing, it is a cheap alternative to having to build your own labs.  Provisioning and resource administration include billing dashboards, which are very extensive.

What needs improvement?

Not enough experience to really comment on this.  In some areas, more transparency on what is persistent towards novice users. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Trial/evaluations only.

What is our primary use case?

Web server hosting of a simple LAMP setup using Linux, Apache, and MySQL. Quick, cheap proof of concept solutions. 

How has it helped my organization?

No need for an on-premise infrastructure. It provides immediate access to vast resources at a relatively low cost and allows for setting up cheap PoCs.

What is most valuable?

For testing, it is a cheap alternative to having to build your own labs.  Provisioning and resource administration include billing dashboards, which are very extensive.

What needs improvement?

Not enough experience to really comment on this. 

In some areas, more transparency on what is persistent towards novice users. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Trial/evaluations only.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
I help CTOs/Managed Service Providers save 7%-55% on AWS bills with AI. at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Much faster than other solutions at a super low cost

Pros and Cons

  • "Some of the introduced one-year and three-year reservations helped us reduce costs early on. With time, we learned how to minimize our at REST capacity, allowing us to scale up and scale down in near seconds."
  • "Serverless computing: This can be more cost-efficient just regarding computing resources than renting or purchasing a fixed quantity of servers, which involves periods of underutilization or nonuse."
  • "They are mainly generalists without access to the operating system. As such, they can provide container level insights,not necessarily at the application level."
  • "Somehow Amazon associated their marketplace as a place to find images of various installs (preconfigured software) and was late in the game enabling and promoting SaaS-based solutions. Thus, the AWS marketplace has near zero awareness in the mind of the prospect to find solutions to various problems plaguing them."

What is our primary use case?

In recent years, we have use AWS primarily for its serverless capabilities. It has the ability to scale up from one to 10,000 vCPUs for a few brief seconds. The vCPUs perform intensive calculations with deep learning (artificial intelligence calculations), which is not possible via traditional computing approaches.

How has it helped my organization?

AWS helped us reduce costs from CapEx to OpEx. Some of the introduced one-year and three-year reservations helped us reduce costs early on. With time, we learned how to minimize our at REST capacity, allowing us to scale up and scale down in near seconds. 

What is most valuable?

Serverless computing: This can be more cost-efficient just regarding computing resources than renting or purchasing a fixed quantity of servers, which involves periods of underutilization or nonuse. It can even be more cost-efficient than provisioning an autoscaling group, because even autoscaling groups are typically designed to have underutilization to allow time for new instances to start up.

Also, a serverless architecture means developers and operations specialists do not need to spend time setting up and tuning autoscaling policies or systems. The cloud provider is responsible for ensuring that the capacity meets the demand.

What needs improvement?

AWS Marketplace: Somehow Amazon associated their marketplace as a place to find images of various installs (preconfigured software) and was late in the game enabling and promoting SaaS-based solutions. Thus, the AWS marketplace has near zero awareness in the mind of the prospect to find solutions to various problems plaguing them. 

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

They are mainly generalists without access to the operating system. As such, they can provide container level insights,not necessarily at the application level.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used AWS for the last eight years since 2010. Previously, we used various VPS, dedicated servers, and Amazon's solutions, which were crude but a promise for something beyond the traditional infrastructure options. 

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

No vendor team was necessary.

What was our ROI?

We are reducing costs year-over-year.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Much faster than other solutions at a super low cost.

One of the best-kept ways to reduce costs is to develop it on serverless technologies with AWS Lambda, SNS, DynamoDB, and S3. Business example: By deploying our websites on Amazon S3 instead of the traditional Apache web servers, we eliminated many of the compute costs. Our WordPress site is served by a static S3 bucket. One of the benefits of this is our sites are superfast, especially with CloudFront. CloudFront makes the S3 hosted sites available across the world in milliseconds, reducing network hops and costs similar to that of Akamai. 

Just imagine the headaches associated with Apache web servers, MySQL databases, and Nginx reverse proxies? 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: AWS marketplace vendor.
Ayush Mehrotra
Network & Server Engineer at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
Real User
We can spin up the server anytime and have root access to it

Pros and Cons

  • "We can spin up the server anytime and have root access to it."
  • "We can easily upgrade and downgrade the Instance."
  • "It has the technical support features, but they need to be improved. It has lots of users, but they need to be managed accordingly."

What is our primary use case?

We hosted our website in the Amazon AWS. This is very easy to use and the user-friendly dashboard. 

How has it helped my organization?

Amazon AWS has improved our organization. It has all the features which we need. We can spin up the server anytime and have root access to it. We built our website and hosted the Amazon server. We also set up the RDS database, which has the capability to help the MySQL queries. The user interface is very user-friendly, and you can assign Elastic IP anytime. Overall, this is the best IaaS for hosting the website and the database.

What is most valuable?

  1. Spin up the server when we need it: We can spun up the new server. 
  2. Elastic IP: Sometimes, our website gets hacked with malware and it is easy to change the IP of the Instance.
  3. Snapshot: We can easily create a snapshot in Amazon AWS, then restore it.
  4. RDS: Manages all the database queries.
  5. Instance upgrade and downgrade: We can easily upgrade and downgrade the Instance.

What needs improvement?

Technical support: It has the technical support features, but they need to be improved. It has lots of users, but they need to be managed accordingly.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

One of the best things in Amazon AWS is you are billed for the service you use. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user787548
Founder with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Accessing apps on AWS via my iPhone is awful. We use it, because it improves the speed for us to access vendors.

Pros and Cons

  • "It improves the speed for us to access vendors."
  • "Accessing apps on AWS via my iPhone is awful."
  • "AWS for API, or Seller Central, is no improvement from what we had (our internal tools we designed to update accounts, change customer network profiles, monitoring, MRTG graphs, etc), when AWS should be blazing."

What is our primary use case?

To access systems of partner/vendor companies, we maintain an instance to transfer data to our instance, then privately back to us. Basically, a BRAS, B-RAS or BBRAS device.

How has it helped my organization?

It improves the speed for us to access vendors, etc. AWS is extremely slow over the internet. Where we have GigE fiber over dedicated OC48 links, and when ping times to Dallas, TX from San Francisco is 30ms RTT on average, AWS is always 20ms higher. To AWS East, it is 70-110ms RTT, and the data transfer almost seems throttled. So I spun up an instance, made a BRAS image, like how DSL customers access the internet, and set up a peer with AWS to transfer data privately, then publicly from our instance to the AWS IP of our vendor, or partner and it has improved response times dramatically. The average API access latency was 250ms, horribly slow - already authenticated, etc. 

We also use it for our Amazon Seller Account and Amazon Vendor Account, where Amazon's systems run. Amazon recently moved their systems to CloudFront, but AWS DNS is awful slow. So the BRAS helps with the DNS as well.

What is most valuable?

Bidding on instances with dynamic pricing. So, I can do something that is not critical in terms of speed, like a production system, but testing and bid at an uber low price, and I will usually get what I want.

What needs improvement?

The network is way overloaded. Comcast is overloaded. So between the two, it sucks.

I am used to Level (3) or Verizon/Alter.net AS701 with fabulous ping times and throughput, where I click something and it works. 

It is the problem with the nomenclature of SDN [software defined networking] as engineers today do not understand networking, TCP/IP, or anything. I was 18 during the .com bust, but I remember accessing tools, as I worked for a Global ISP NTT, which owned Verio, the largest webhost at the time. We had Dual OC-3's to our office, when our office was just a remote NOC, but we had cloud computing before it was nomenclature. We accessed customer data, and had tools to do things quickly, instead of logging into routers, IDS, IPS, switches, and server. If it was a repetitive task, it would be via a browser, and the browser accessed a txn server rather than run cron jobs every 15 minutes. I will say that AWS for API, or Seller Central, is no improvement from what we had (our internal tools we designed to update accounts, change customer network profiles, monitoring, MRTG graphs, etc), when AWS should be blazing. 

Accessing apps on AWS via my iPhone is awful. Apple is behind the times in speed, battery, and even the screen, but it is aesthetically pleasing, so it wins. Android devices by Samsung are superior, but I use iPhone because that is what we use in Silicon Valley, which is on Verizon's LTE Advanced (LTE-X is their coined term) network, and the latency is great, 20-30ms, speeds of 40 Megabits/s, symmetrical are quite common, and sometimes I see 150/150 Megabits/s.  

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When they first moved Amazon Seller Central to AWS CloudFront from AWS, I would see connections to Hong Kong and Singapore. Maybe I was sent there because the USA East was overloaded. I do not know. So, we started using Verisign for recursive DNS, and to host our own domain name(s), and I noticed, it fixed the problem. Every ISP and DNS server, either Unicast like Level(3) 4.2.2.1-4.2.2.6, Google 8.8.8.8, NTT was the best performer 129.250.35.250/251, Comcast was garbage, while on Comcast network 75.75.75.75, Verizon was good (FiOS [consumer and SMB], and Enterprise which is what we have aka MCI aka UUNET/Alter.net AS701/AS702/AS703), and SprintLink AS1239 was good.  However, we just tested Sprint, and Verizon. Verizon provides backup services for us, actually tertiary, we provide our own secondary.  So I signed us up with Verisign with DDoS protection, made Verizon secondary, and the feed server from us, feeds VeriSign and Verizon. That fixed the AWS CloudFront location issue, which to me, shows how poor AWS DNS is.

We would get responses that are AWS Hong Kong, even when they moved to CloudFront to speed up Seller Central (I complained to corporate via a letter FedEx'ed to Amazon). I asked for a private MPLS link, which we would pay for, and we were told it would be worked on. During peak times, it would lag and time out, it was awful. It still lags, but I route as much as we can via the BRAS setup. 

What other advice do I have?

I have pushed clients towards Microsoft Azure. I have bugged Microsoft to add links to their network in the BNA region, BNA to Atlanta (additional link), BNA to MCI aka Kansas City, BNA to Chicago, BNA to WDC, and BNA to Dallas, TX to improve access for things at BNA. It is not critical. It is just the only facility that is 30ms slower than others. Azure in Chicago, Wyoming, Bellevue, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, or Texas is very low latency. 

I have also pushed clients to IBM Bluemix, as their partnership with Akamai makes API access is really fast. Azure with Verizon CDN/Terremark is fabulous.

I have to add this. AWS sucks, even though I am a customer.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
AWS Cloud Specialist at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Top 20
Migrate complex environments to AWS Cloud to reduce costs, improve performance and scalability

What is most valuable?

AWS's innovations are incredible.

How has it helped my organization?

You can migrate complex environments to AWS Cloud reducing costs, improving performance and scalability.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used AWS for five years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Yes, every platform has problems, but they are very fast at solving the problems.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, every platform has problems, but they are very fast and they are always working to improve.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, I never encountered any issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: Their priority is the customers. Technical…

What is most valuable?

AWS's innovations are incredible.

How has it helped my organization?

You can migrate complex environments to AWS Cloud reducing costs, improving performance and scalability.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used AWS for five years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Yes, every platform has problems, but they are very fast at solving the problems.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, every platform has problems, but they are very fast and they are always working to improve.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, I never encountered any issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Their priority is the customers.

Technical Support:

The technical support is the best.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No. I tried to use Azure, but I can't.

How was the initial setup?

Yes, the initial setup is not so straightforward. The concept changes and you will need to understand this.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user717240
Director of IT Projects - AngularJS developer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
Makes Maintenance And Creation Of New Clone Environments Easier

What is most valuable?

AWS provides a lot of solutions to design secure, elastic and serverless software architectures.

How has it helped my organization?

More than 30 BBVA Group web pages are working without servers, saving costs and reducing security problems, with AWS services like CloudFront, WAF, S3, Lambda, SQS, and API Gateway.

All our infrastructure is defined in JSON files, thanks to CloudFormation, which makes maintenance and creation of new clone environments easier.

What needs improvement?

Lambda@Edge, for example, it's new and has a lot of room for improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

Four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is usual with new functionalities, but AWS does resolve stability issues quickly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

With CloudSearch; the service finally autoscales but in excessive time. You never lose information, but you can't access new data when there are peaks of requests for creation of new documents.

How are customer service and technical support?

Seven out of 10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Yes, I used OVH and other cloud providers like Azure or Google. AWS is much better. It is a complete platform.

How was the initial setup?

Required some service, but in general there is a lot of documentation and there are training courses.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

AWS is appropriate for professional solutions. For other types of projects it's a bit expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Azure, Google Cloud. AWS is years ahead of its rivals.

What other advice do I have?

Think "serverless". With AWS you can design your architecture, thinking distinct and oriented to events, decoupling processes, solving possible errors, multi-region or Multi-AZ.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user716571
Architecte solutions Amazon Web Services at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
MSP
Terms Of Licencing And Reserved Instances Are Very Efficient

What is most valuable?

Amount of services, fully-managed services, and the power of Infrastructure as code (deployment and automation). AWS has many atomic services (Lambda, SNS, SQS. and so on…).

How has it helped my organization?

Migration of On Premise Data Center to AWS to allow cost optimization, and full operational automation to focus on experimentation and innovation.

Cross account possibilities for a big IT organization (user management, resources management, etc.).

What needs improvement?

It would be nice to be able to test Direct Connect without having to pay a line. Also, the possibility to use VPC Peering with one point VPN Gateway (for the moment, impossible).

For how long have I used the solution?

More than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Not yet.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not when we know scalability optimization and processes.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not call AWS support yet, but it seems to be very fast according to the various returns I had.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Switched to be more global (AWS Region) and more to the way of a serverless paradigm.

How was the initial setup?

Very simple, an e-mail address, a credit card, and the account is open.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The Free Tiers program is great for testing solutions.

Their terms of licencing and reserved instances are very efficient (like Spot Instances for identified workloads).

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Not really, I fell in love with AWS right away: their services, quality and quantity of documentation. With the various testimonies that I received, I had no doubt.

What other advice do I have?

The Cloud Adoption Framework and the Well-Architected on AWS documents are a must read.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: AWS Partner
it_user701412
Cloud Architect at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Easy provisioning means quick time to market when a new environment is required

What is most valuable?

  • RDS: Because of its auto-scaling, multi-zone availability, and its quick spin up of database servers.
  • EC2 Servers: For the agility of server provisioning and the AMI automations.
  • Lambda: Because of AI capabilities by writing functions that trigger on events.
  • Route 53: For traffic engineering.
  • WAF: For security and multiple other features of AWS.

How has it helped my organization?

Rolling deployments, quick time to market;

From one day deployment time, it came down to 15 minutes.

Easy provisioning means quick time to market when a new environment is required.

What needs improvement?

The console's UI could be a little better, a fluid User Experience is missing.

For example, in order to see the instance details properly, we have to scroll the description part up or down, which is not a recommended way of doing it.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Just once, when MongoDB infrastructure could not mount to EBS.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No.

How are customer service and technical support?

Excellent. 10 out of 10 for this.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

IBM Softlayer and Azure. Both are not automated to the level that AWS is automated.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pay per use.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

What other advice do I have?

Migrate to AWS for speed and agility, combined with its security features.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
it_user701505
Analista de Projetos at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Consultant
It has helped our engineers to improve our performance both financially and in terms of traffic generated

What is most valuable?

The valuable features for us are scalability and flexibility.

Regarding scalability, we have specific days of the week that the traffic in our system exceeds more than twice the load system. So with the scalability, I can support this load. If I need to perform a specific marketing action, my system will respond to the request easily.

How has it helped my organization?

Before AWS, the time for availability of a new server would be more than a week, and currently, it can be measured in minutes.

Failover also wasn’t easy to configure and wasn’t safe.

It has helped our engineers to improve our performance both financially and in terms of traffic generated.

What needs improvement?

I see some applications, like AWS Deploy for example, require usage of other applications. This and other issues should be better explained in the documentation.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution since May 2012.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the beginning, during the implementation, we had problems with stability, especially in S3.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not encounter any issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don’t pay for professional support. However, the support forum helps us with most problems.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

For cloud solutions, during our research, we searched the best quality service inside our budget.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was very straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Unfortunately, the price is high. The pricing and licensing is explained well in the documentation.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated other options, including Rackspace, Google Cloud, MS Azure, etc.

What other advice do I have?

Pay attention especially to costs.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Sergio Yazyi
Consultant at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
Accelerates innovation through experimentation cycles in a scalable platform

What is most valuable?

Accelerates innovation through fast experimentation cycles in an agile, flexible, and scalable platform.

How has it helped my organization?

Enables fast prototyping, simulation, and rapid deployment of infrastructure configurations. Has low risk exploration of new architectural paradigms and technologies (FaaS, Containers, IoT, and Machine Learning) and is easy to integrate with current solutions.

What needs improvement?

Considering the rate of innovation of AWS and the vast range of services offered (over 15+ categories, 50+ services in 2017) the learning path of customers on the platform is something that can always be improved. Usability through simplification of the interface for the use cases chosen by the customer can be a possible improvement.

The current interface offers several options to select services, solutions, or learning paths. However, the ability to simplify the interface to focus on customer use cases could have an impact on productivity and ease of use.

This is a challenge that I’ve seen all cloud vendor share: Usability and different user experience on their platform is difficult when the span of services is so vast. However, some design thinking “persona” kind of approach could help offer alternative perspectives.

For how long have I used the solution?

  • Since 2012, in prototypes and proof of concepts
  • Since 2015, in production applications, advise, and support to some clients.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I’ve never experiences issues with stability related to the AWS infrastructure. The services are very resilient and there are constant reporting and monitoring tools available, a open status dashboard, and a personal health dashboard to receive news on any issues being investigated or sorted out. Even if there have been outages reported in AWS history https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... their technical response capabilities have proven outstanding.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I’ve never experience issues with scalability. AWS services offer very flexible set of tools to architect solutions that give the best performance and economic advantages. Combined solutions using elastic computing capabilities, containers, APIs, and even more innovative server-less capabilities (FaaS) can be leveraged to tackle the most challenging use cases.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I previously favored RackSpace and Digital Ocean for simplicity and focus for certain use cases (development prototypes, proof-of-concepts, etc.). I prefer to concentrate investment and training on the same platform when solutions scale and require more complex setups. Leveraging the learning curve on the service offering is increasingly specialized.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is easy and greatly supported by the learning paths offered through the platform. Expertise is required to take full advantage of AWS tools and continuous innovations.

Some customers can become overwhelmed by the range of services, so training and assistance from specialized third-parties is strongly recommended. Even experimented managed service providers can complement internal capabilities and help in the training of internal teams.

One of the advantages of AWS is their high rate of innovation. However, in order to leverage this, internal or external expertise is required. A good partnership is recommended.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

On demand, pay-as-you-go pricing is powerful to optimize expenses, but it’s important to keep a technical cost controlling function aware of usage and scale patterns to choose the best pricing mix.

Massive migration to cloud without analyzing the right service for the right usage can lead to higher cost than expected. It is important to get the right advice to match each use case needed to the optimum cloud economics.

Even if a lot of decisions to go to the cloud are based in the promise of lower costs, the true power of cloud services is their flexibility, rate of innovation, and avoiding vendor lock-in if architected consciously.

Even if a lift and shift approach with short schedules can lead to mistakes in choosing services and paying more than optimum, the speed in which you can correct the mistake is not comparable to any other infrastructure option.

This is forcing even the traditional hardware vendors to reinvent their business models and develop financial offerings that include operating expense based financing (pay-as-you-grow) or services based agreements (pay-as-you-go) to make their private cloud offerings competitive.

The other aspect to consider is the managed service required to get the most of this platform. Don’t underestimate the quality of the advice and support required. But at the same time, consider your core business management time released by adopting a platform instead of managing the components internally.

The internal expertise should evolve to understand how to use it best for the business outcomes pursued instead of the technicalities of how to make it. That’s where the right partnerships can be leveraged.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Azure, RackSpace, Google Cloud, SoftLayer, DigitalOcean, and Linode.

What other advice do I have?

Test drive it with prototype applications, reproduce development and testing environments, and standardize your stacks to be able to move them easily, if needed. The deeper that the infrastructure-as-code approach is part of your culture, the easier it will be to leverage hybrid opportunities and gain agility.

This solution has been consistently in the top of the IaaS market for the last 10 years.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user697047
Software Architect / Senior Software Engineer / AWS Cloud Architect / Azure Cloud Architect / DevOps Engineer at a tech services company
Consultant
Stable and fast cloud provider.

Pros and Cons

    • "I generally don't like the user experience of Amazon. It's not the best."

    How has it helped my organization?

    With AWS services, we can focus on our products, and that makes our customers happier! Also we can provide higher SLAs for our customers.

    What is most valuable?

    I have been using almost every service on AWS for years. I'm trying to test every new service as soon as possible.

    The main idea of using AWS is its ability to act so fast! We used to have servers on-prem data-centers. When you needed a new server/device/configuration, it could take hours/days/weeks based on the demand. Now I can have what I need in couple of minutes. That is amazing!

    Of course there are other cloud providers, but AWS is far the best on both technology and stability. You can find cheaper providers, but you shouldn't risk your business just for saving some dollars.

    AWS gives you chance to concentrate on your business and products which I believe is the most important thing, especially for start-ups.

    Here are the services that I'm currently using on AWS:
    EC2, ECS, Elastic Beanstalk, Lambda, S3, EFS, Glacier, RDS, DynamoDB, ElastiCache, Redshift, CloudWatch, CloudFormation,OpsWorks, VPC, CloudFront, Route53, IAM, Certificate Manager, ElasticSearch Service, WorkDocs, WorkMail, SQS, SES, SNS, and API Gateway.

    What needs improvement?

    These days, technology is changing every day and AWS is one of the leaders of this change. They are at least one step ahead of you, which is great. You can have new technology as soon as possible. I think in general there is no need for improvement. All I can suggest would be a cleaner designed console. I generally don't like the user experience of Amazon. It's not the best. You can see the same at AWS Console. I'd be happier If the design and the user experience would more simple. Sometimes I feel that there are lots of texts on the page which makes harder to find what you are looking for.

    We have nearly 100% uptime using AWS resources which makes us provide higher SLA's for our customers.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Three to five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I have never faced any issues with the stability. This is one of the reasons why I chose AWS. They are more stable than any other cloud provider.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The best feature for most of the users is scalability. You don't need to reserve lots of servers just for peak times! AWS is doing this perfectly.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    AWS has great support engineers. There are several types of support packages. Based on your package, they support you in their SLAs. Until now, they helped me well with every single ticket that I've issued.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I've never switched to any other cloud provider, but I've tested nearly all of them. Testing all providers gives you a great chance to compare services. To be honest, most of the time AWS was better.

    How was the initial setup?

    Creating an account from AWS web-page is straightforward. Everyone can easily complete the registration process. Some people are thinking twice when they've asked for their credit card, but this is the nature of cloud systems. You'll pay as much as you use. It's one of the aspects of having everything easy and fast.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    If you can plan capacity for one or three years, you can use the upfront payment option which allows you to save up to 50%.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I'm testing every major cloud provider regularly. Other than AWS, I've used Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Digital Ocean.

    What other advice do I have?

    AWS has great how-to documents and videos. You can use these materials. We are here to help them whatever they need on their cloud migration/usage. They can find detailed information from http://calico-technologies.co.... or they can send an email to info@calico-technologies.co.uk or to me.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Calico Technologies supports their clients with their AWS needs. Detailed information can be found on http://calico-technologies.co.uk.
    it_user557982
    COO - Chief Operating Officer
    Vendor
    The elastic feature allows us to not worry about rising or declining demand.

    What is most valuable?

    Our system is conceptually very simple. We organized the network to grow. The most valuable resource is the elastic feature which allows us to not worry about rising or declining demand.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We never assumed we would implement our system outside the cloud. AWS has several features available that we still have to try. The improvement is going to be done step by step, including each feature, one at a time.

    What needs improvement?

    AWS is in the right measure for now.

    However, I was a bit disappointed with the AWS representative for Brazil. I invited him to talk about some strategic agreement to improve the cloud environment in my other work.

    I was thinking of taking AWS to the top of the rankings in the Masters program. He dismissed the invitation and told me that AWS was undergoing restructuring and maybe he could talk to me sometime in the future. This happened almost a year ago.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Amazon and KickSIM made an agreement, so the startup could use the AWS cloud for a year, up to 3/2015. After that, KickSIM also experienced use of three additional cloud environments and then came back to AWS in January, 2017.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We did not encounter any issues with stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We did not encounter any issues with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    All our needs were met by researching the documentation. AWS offers stable resources and abundant documentation. There is no reason to use the technical support frequently.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We did not switch yet. We maintain some minor operations on two other clouds.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup was straightforward and the infrastructure is running well.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The way AWS assigns prices is fully understandable and very transparent. Users are free to choose exactly what they need. They receive accordingly and there is no pain at devolution. It is all done by themselves.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did not evaluate any alternative solutions.

    What other advice do I have?

    Using this product has encouraged me to broaden my knowledge of the products offered by AWS.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Cloud Architect, Oracle ACE, Oracle DBA at Pythian
    MSP
    For many of Pythian's clients, this solution is an amalgmation of on-premis and the cloud.

    What is most valuable?

    The RDS renders deployment agility and there is an on-demand database-as-a-service for MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Among other benefits, one salient benefit for many Pythian customers is the option of spinning up a new instance whenever needed. This can be done with a few clicks.

    What needs improvement?

    RDS doesn't have shell access, which could be especially beneficial for Oracle databases.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have used this solution for the past 2 years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I have not really encountered any issues with stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I have not really encountered any issues with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The tech support is good and prompt.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    For many of Pythian's clients, this solution is an amalgmation of on-premis and the cloud. Pythian enables its customers to reap the benefits of both worlds.

    How was the initial setup?

    Due to Pythian's expertise and experience, the initial setup was a breeze.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Read the fine print carefully and always engage experts to carry out migration.

    What other advice do I have?

    Having your database on RDS doesn't mean that you don't need DBA anymore. Mission critical and important databases must be handled by a DBA, even if the database resides on the cloud like RDS.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    COO at a tech vendor
    Vendor
    The main reason to move from hosted bare metal was flexibility adding storage on demand. Cloud storage based on S3 is one the most valuable services we have deployed.

    Pros and Cons

    • "The cloud storage based on S3 is one the most valuable services we have deployed since it allows us infinite scale in storage and extremely high durability."
    • "There was some new learning in terms of IOPS on the EBS storage. The concept of burstable IOPS was new and we did have a few outages when we ran out of IOPS."

    How has it helped my organization?

    We were not a "born in the cloud" company. Our email server solution was first deployed as on-premise, then as a hosted service on bare metal in a data center and then has been ported to AWS.

    The main reason to move from hosted bare metal to AWS was the flexibility in adding storage on demand. However, as we worked with Amazon we realized that it could help improve the scalability and availability of our SaaS offering with the other Amazon services.

    Using AWS services has allowed us to have a more atomized architecture, which is allowing us to build scale into each service.

    What is most valuable?

    We have deployed a variety of services from AWS. Most commonly EC2, EBS, S3, Lambda, Elastic Search, RDS and NFS Gateway.

    The cloud storage based on S3 is one the most valuable services we have deployed since it allows us infinite scale in storage and extremely high durability.

    What needs improvement?

    AWS is innovating at a very fast pace. They are very customer focused. They keep up and exceed customer expectations.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    There was some new learning in terms of IOPS on the EBS storage. The concept of burstable IOPS was new and we did have a few outages when we ran out of IOPS. After moving to provisioned IOPs for the EBS we have not faced any issue.

    Once the IOPs are used up, it takes a long time for the burst balance to be filled up. The only option is to move the data to another disk. This causes downtime. It would be better if we could continue to use at the baseline IOPs.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We did not have scalability issues.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is responsive, accurate and helpful. Right in line with their philosophy of customer obsession.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We have hosted our SaaS offerings on various data centers in India and the USA prior to moving all the workload on to AWS.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup itself was not complex. However, it was an involved exercise moving the email data of all our customers from the data centers to AWS without much downtime.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    If you want to move all production loads to AWS, the fastest way forward is lift and shift (which is what we did). However, this may prove to be more expensive than bare metal until the time the solution is updated to use the different AWS services. For example, when we shifted the load to AWS we paid a high cost as the mail stores were hosted on EBS. The storage cost drastically reduced after moving to S3.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did look at Microsoft Azure, but found that AWS had far more flexibility, options and ease.

    What other advice do I have?

    There can be a tendency to get excited by all the options available. We advise to start small and focus on the services which solve your core problems.

    In fact this is the very strength of the AWS cloud platform; easy and rapid experimentation, start small and scale on demand. The flexibility and malleability of the cloud platform has been an all new experience for us.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Mithi is an ISV and an Advanced Technology Partner with AWS.
    ITCS user
    Senior Technical Support Analyst at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Some of the valuable features are EC2, RDS, and Route 53.

    What is most valuable?

    • ECS (EC2 Container Services)
    • EC2
    • RDS
    • Route 53

    How has it helped my organization?

    At this point, we have been testing applications that are managed by third-parties. The benefit we see at this stage is mainly cost. We are now starting to see the benefits that the platform has to offer.

    What needs improvement?

    At this stage, we have found the services we are using are meeting our needs. We have been asked by management to incorporate high-security (encrypted email and data volumes) on all services. Some of the security features require extra configuration to achieve that.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Amazon AWS for about seven months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    At this point, there have been no stability issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability has been good using services like ECS, ECR Load Balancing, and Auto Scaling features.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We have not had a need to engage support for any assistance.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Our previous solution was supported by a third-party. We saw the opportunity to reduce cost by managing it ourselves, in-house.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup was easy at first, because a lot of the services are wizard driven. We found as we needed to customise the services further, we had to do most of this manually to get the desired result.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Pricing has been quite surprising, since we are running both DEV and UAT platforms simultaneously. It is definitely cheaper than the solution that has been managed by the third-party.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did not evaluate other options. This was the one that management had chosen. I do not believe this was based on a technical viewpoint. I just think it was decided.

    What other advice do I have?

    You have to be able to not think as if on-premises systems are sitting in a data centre. Everything, and I mean everything, is a service that is launched by a script. We are able to run up a platform, say UAT, entirely in about an hour. The plan will be to do this entirely by scripts.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user593445
    Full Stack Developer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
    Consultant
    Manages ELB with less configuration from the users' side.

    What is most valuable?

    Elastic Load Balancer: AWS completely manages ELB with less configuration from the users' side. Setting up the load balancer manually is really a headache.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Deploying to the elastic cloud is much easier now with AWS. This makes the go-live process easy.

    What needs improvement?

    Billing: They should make billing more simplified. It would be great if they could explain how deploying to elastic cloud is much easier now with AWS. Elastic beans command line interface [eb cli]: You can easily deploy code straight from your code IDE.

    The billing calculator has lot of options which confuses the user. If they could provide some template for billing and directly execute those template, that would be great.

    For example, the billing template for the standard WordPress Server with Load Balancer and S3 Connectivity: Users could just change the parameters inside the template and execute to see their estimated billing.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using this solution for three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I did not encounter any issues with stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I did not encounter any issues with scalability.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We were using only AWS.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup was straightforward in all ways.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Free tier is always there for demo and testing. Pricing is based on the usage.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated Microsoft Azure.

    What other advice do I have?

    AWS is good for any kind of requirements.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user677697
    Sr. Engineer at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
    Vendor
    CloudWatch provides many plugins to manage various types of logs centrally.

    What is most valuable?

    Auto Scaling and CloudWatch Logs are the most valuable features. With just a few criteria to scale in/out of, you can save the life and time for DevOps.

    The CloudWatch Logs feature provides many plugins, so that we are able to manage various types of logs centrally.

    How has it helped my organization?

    In the era, we used private clouds as network virtualization must be controlled by the IT division, server rooms were in the remote branches and DevOps were distributed in various areas. Now, we can use the same API and the same workflow without considering to centralize the logs.

    What needs improvement?

    IaaS is sometimes way too complicated to complete one task.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have used this solution for around eight months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    So far, the VPC is sometimes not that reliable. Therefore, we have to set up a redundant VPC to make sure the connection is always available.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We do not have any scalability issues until now.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I have never used technical support.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Previously, we surveyed OpenStack. However, due to the time, budget and manpower limitations, building a private cloud is not practical in our case.

    How was the initial setup?

    Managing IaaS was very difficult in the beginning, i.e., tons of jargon to get up and I struggled for months.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Try the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). It is yet another good choice because sometimes, what you need is just a platform and not to build a platform from the infrastructure.

    What other advice do I have?

    When your division grows to a certain scale and you really need DevOps, then you could move either to a private/public cloud. Otherwise, it is a waste of time and money.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Gurudeva Kalledevarpurada B
    IT Solution Architect at SEARCHING
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Provides storage solutions and infrastructure for deploying Java and PHP based applications.

    Pros and Cons

    • "It has helped reduce the cost by rationing the computing power and paying only on a per usage basis, instead of provisioning unneeded, idle, or unutilized computing power that is used only at 20% of its capacity or time."
    • "Many of our clients prefer in-house cloud rather than the application data sitting in the infrastructure owned and managed by Amazon."

    How has it helped my organization?

    For one of the clients I worked with, it has provided excellent storage solutions and infrastructure for deploying Java and PHP based applications.

    It has helped reduce the cost by rationing the computing power and paying only on a per usage basis, instead of provisioning unneeded, idle, or unutilized computing power that is used only at 20% of its capacity or time.

    Additional funds saved can be used to develop applications that add value to the business. Also, its features, such as auto-scaling help to manage capacity automatically.

    Another feature that we are fond of is the Cloud Formation tool. It helps to test and develop a working technical environment and replicate and modify it as necessary across various regions, clients, and business units.

    What is most valuable?

    Features such as EC2, S3, EBS, Auto Scaling, Elastic Load Balancing, VPC (Virtual Private Cloud), RDS (Relational Data Service), Cloud Front, Cloud Formation, Elastic Bean Stack, etc., have been useful for the following reasons:

    • EC2: Supports various operating systems, CPU configurations, helps to produce flexible computing power at affordable, customizable rates. You pay for only what you use. No need to pay for unused extra capacity. Build only what you need and pay for only what you use. It can help save tons of dollars in infrastructure cost.
    • S3: Low cost, affordable, yet modern storage solution from Amazon.
    • EBS: Low cost, yet fast storage solution. It helps to store the needed data in the quickly accessible storage. Also, it helps defending against DDOS attacks.
    • Auto Scaling: Helps to quickly scale up, or scale down the capacity as needed. This would help in adding and/or removing computing capacity as per the need and helps reduce cost, yet provide a quick response as needed.
    • Elastic Load Balancing: Helps to build redundant, waiting systems for which the demand can be routed as needed.
    • VPC: Helps to define our own private cloud with marked input and output ports. Also helps in reducing the electronic footprint and defend against DDOS attacks. Helps to define the private cloud which will provide the needed security and privacy.
    • RDS: Helps to dynamically manage the database services. Helps to independently select and/or switch among various database providers such as Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, etc. RDS helps to free up administrators' time by automating tasks such as backup, maintenance, applying patches, scaling, and replication.
    • CloudFront: Helps to define cache of data across various locations and helps to improve the latency of applications.
    • Cloud Formation: This is the much needed tool for technical architects. Here one can define the technical architecture they need and play around with it until they get a working architecture. Then the working architecture can be copied, reutilized among different regions, business units, clients, etc. This saves cost and time, reduces errors, and improves efficiency. A much needed tool for administrators and architects.
    • Elastic BeanStalk: Helps to rapidly deploy applications across various platforms such as Java, .NET, PHP, Ruby, Python, Docker, etc. It also handles load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring.

    What needs improvement?

    Many of our clients prefer in-house cloud rather than the application data sitting in the infrastructure owned and managed by Amazon. They prefer in-house/hybrid cloud environments.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We did not encounter any issues with stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We did not encounter any issues with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We have not used the technical support much. For the initial solution designing and PoC preparation, we contacted the sales and marketing team from Amazon. They were available and provided the necessary support.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We have used Azure and some other applications. We will continue to use them. We like keeping 2-3 vendors to have a healthy competition and see improvements in the products.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was complex, as we needed to build the infrastructure from scratch. It would also require expertise in networking and security.

    It is very important to safely manage the keys, as otherwise this would lead to costly security breaches. Some amount of playing around with the setup and replicating it via cloud formation will be needed until your architect becomes perfect with the tool.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    It is decently priced. The competition is also bringing its own cloud offerings, such as from Oracle.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated Azure, Apprenda, and Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

    Some of our established clients are going with Azure, especially the ones who had established .NET VB environments. Those who need private in-house cloud are going with Apprenda or Pivotal Cloud Foundry. For small to medium customers, AWS offers a good choice and savings.

    What other advice do I have?

    It depends upon the requirements and the regulatory compliance issues of the customer. For small to medium customers, AWS is a good choice. For Java, PHP based applications, AWS is a good choice. If you need to have your own private, in-house cloud, there are other options.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Aimee White
    Info Sec Consultant at Size 41 Digital
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    It is more stable than any infrastructure you will have in your own server room. The only problems I had with deployment were with Amazon authorizing our account initially.

    Pros and Cons

    • "Cloud Trail API log storage."
    • "It can be daunting because of the number of AWS products there are."

    How has it helped my organization?

    Everything is moving into the cloud and AWS is the leader. Not understanding puts a person behind.

    I've worked with charities so the ability to host a static website in an S3 bucket at very low cost is great. Also, the ability to scale up and down, depending on project and funding status is ideal for the charity sector.

    Glacier storage means files that need to be kept for legal purposes (7 years) - but accessed infrequently - can be stored cheaply in Glacier.

    What is most valuable?

    • S3 storage buckets
    • Glacier storage
    • EC2 instances
    • Cloud Trail API log storage

    What needs improvement?

    Amazon are as innovative as they are able to deliver. Areas that need improvement are dealt with pretty quickly so I have no complaints. Perhaps the fact that they are innovating so quickly can be seen as a problem for organisations that don't invest in their staff?

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    None. Amazon's cloud is more stable than any infrastructure you will have in your own server room.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It's very easy to spin up virtual machines and deploy load balancers.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    For free support, their forums cover almost every problem encountered by users on AWS. For one-to-one problems, I found their customer service people to be good.

    Technical Support:

    Technical support is excellent.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I used to use Rackspace but AWS's innovation and range of products meant I swapped over.

    How was the initial setup?

    It can be daunting because of the number of AWS products there are. It doesn't take long to skill yourself on the basics of what each one does (in the beginning you will probably be using S3, EC2, and IAM and there are lots of short courses or guides to read).

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    AWS is scalable depending on your needs so pricing is dependant on what you use. Just be careful not to leave VMs running as you can find your next monthly bill a little higher than normal - AWS did cover that with billing alarms so it's not all bad news.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Owner at a tech vendor
    Real User
    You can set up buckets and upload files using the console.

    What is most valuable?

    The price point and ease of use are the most valuable features. The cost per GB per month has always been reasonable. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    It is easy to set up buckets and upload files using the AWS Console.

    What needs improvement?

    The ease with which you can move files from short-term (S3) to long-term storage (i.e., Glacier) via a dashboard. With the introduction of Glacier as a long-term storage option, having some type of function key to simplify the transfer of files between the S3 and Glacier environments would be beneficial and increase efficiency. Perhaps it could be incorporated as an option when using the S3 Service or Glacier service; i.e., a "Transfer to Glacier" and "Transfer to S3."

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using AWS S3 since 2007 or 2008.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We have not had any stability issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have not had any scalability issues.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We previously used in-house data storage (HD and NAS).

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was easy and straightforward, as opposed to some other solutions.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    I cannot speak to the licensing questions, but the pricing per GB/month is reasonable and competitive.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We didn’t look at alternatives, as it was the first cloud platform solution on the market at the time, at least that I was aware of.

    What other advice do I have?

    There are a plethora of options, but it certainly should be given primary consideration.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user660045
    Google Cloud Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
    MSP
    We use this tool to adopt a cloud strategy.

    Pros and Cons

    • "Elasticity has always been AWS's mandate. The flexibility of their platform from a systems perspective lives up to its claims."
    • "The networking models used in AWS, while functional, do have room for improvement. This is especially the fact, considering that they are built/presented from a systems perspective."

    How has it helped my organization?

    I have been providing consulting services around the cloud solution for the past four to five years, during which AWS was the market leader and the de facto cloud service. AWS definitely helped me to help my customers adopt a cloud strategy smoothly and in a timely manner.

    What is most valuable?

    Elasticity has always been AWS's mandate. The flexibility of their platform from a systems perspective lives up to its claims.

    What needs improvement?

    • I would have hoped that their networking model was a little more network oriented and flexible, as is their systems model.
    • The networking models used in AWS, while functional, do have room for improvement. This is especially the fact, considering that they are built/presented from a systems perspective.
    • More granular control of networking, as well as a richer set of networking features, could really go a long way in building globally scalable infrastructures.
    • The Identity and Access Management (IAM) authentication model could use some work as well. The fact that it isn't very straightforward/streamlined to authenticate applications that are not running on AWS infrastructure can complicate things when trying to use different (non-AWS) environments for specific activities. A simple and common example of this is working in a development environment, and having code that relies on interacting with AWS services. Being forced to store sensitive key information in your codebase isn't a very secure manner of operations.
    • Given the recent surge of adoption and interest in containers and container orchestration, Amazon ECS is seen as a proprietary Amazon service. This makes it impossible to use Amazon ECS on other platforms, whether for development purposes, or for rolling out multi-cloud types of deployments. If you use an alternative, such as Kubernetes, this can easily be configured and ported to any environment, as it is an open-source project.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I have not had any issues with stability on AWS. However, it is worth noting that they did have uptime issues in the past. While there weren't many issues, they still did happen.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The only issue that I faced with scalability was due to the soft limitations that AWS applies on the allowed number of resources, e.g., the number of VPCs per account, the number of EIPs per VPC, etc.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I do not have much experience working with AWS's technical support. However, their forums are vast and pretty full of useful information.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    AWS was sort of the first of its kind, so I did not use a different solution previously. However, today I find myself a lot more invested in the Google Cloud Platform, as oppose to AWS.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was relatively straightforward to install. I have read reviews of others facing issues with getting their accounts approved. However, I never faced such issues.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Be careful with your consumption, especially when you are testing things. Costs can creep up on you relatively fast, without even noticing.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    As mentioned earlier, since AWS was the first of its kind, I didn't really have many other options at the time. I remember one of the other players at the time was Rackspace, but they were considerably more expensive than AWS.

    What other advice do I have?

    Picking a cloud platform is not a process that should be taken for granted. The leading cloud service providers today each have their pros and cons. It's best that you assess your options, and start with the cloud platform that best suits your needs. After that, your next step would be to start considering a multi-cloud strategy.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    System Developer at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Consultant
    The EC2 Container Service is one of the most valuable features.

    What is most valuable?

    • EC2 Container Service
    • RDS
    • SQS
    • SNS
    • SWF
    • DynamoDB
    • Elastic Beanstalk
    • S3
    • Cloudwatch

    How has it helped my organization?

    • Management of code and assets has become extremely simple.
    • Faster development time.
    • Applications are extremely scalable.
    • Round-the-clock monitoring ability.

    What needs improvement?

    • Latency: EC2 Container Service is not quite zero downtime as claimed.
    • Not enough or in-clear documentation for some products.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have used it for two years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    Deployment was fairly simple.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability was never an issue.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have not encountered any scalability issues.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Cloud is the way to go and it had more features than the competitors.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Before choosing this product, we also evaluated Microsoft Azure.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Independent Analyst and Advisory Consultant at Server StorageIO - www.storageio.com
    Consultant
    Cloud conversations: Gaining cloud confidence from insights into AWS outages
    PART I In case you missed it, there were some public cloud outages during the recent Christmas 2012-holiday season. One incident involved Microsoft Xbox (view the Microsoft Azure status dashboard here) users were impacted, and the other was another Amazon Web Services (AWS) incident. Microsoft and AWS are not alone, most if not all cloud services have had some type of incident and have gone on to improve from those outages. Google has had issues with different applications and services including some in December 2012 along with a Gmail incident that received covered back in 2011. For those interested, here is a link to the AWS status dashboard and a link to the AWS December 24 2012 incident postmortem. In the case of the recent AWS incident which affected users such as Netflix, the…

    PART I

    In case you missed it, there were some public cloud outages during the recent Christmas 2012-holiday season. One incident involved Microsoft Xbox (view the Microsoft Azure status dashboard here) users were impacted, and the other was another Amazon Web Services (AWS) incident. Microsoft and AWS are not alone, most if not all cloud services have had some type of incident and have gone on to improve from those outages. Google has had issues with different applications and services including some in December 2012 along with a Gmail incident that received covered back in 2011.

    For those interested, here is a link to the AWS status dashboard and a link to the AWS December 24 2012 incident postmortem. In the case of the recent AWS incident which affected users such as Netflix, the incident (read the AWS postmortem and Netflix postmortem) was tied to a human error. This is not to say AWS has more outages or incidents vs. others including Microsoft, it just seems that we hear more about AWS when things happen compared to others. That could be due to AWS size and arguably market leading status, diversity of services and scale at which some of their clients are using them.

    Btw, if you were not aware, Microsoft Azure is more than just about supporting SQLserver, Exchange, SharePoint or Office, it is also an IaaS layer for running virtual machines such as Hyper-V, as well as a storage target for storing data. You can use Microsoft Azure storage services as a target for backing up or archiving or as general storage, similar to using AWS S3 or Rackspace Cloud files or other services. Some backup and archiving AaaS and SaaS providers including Evault partner with Microsoft Azure as a storage repository target.

    When reading some of the coverage of these recent cloud incidents, I am not sure if I am more amazed by some of the marketing cloud washing, or the cloud bashing and uniformed reporting or lack of research and insight. Then again, if someone repeats a myth often enough for others to hear and repeat, as it gets amplified, the myth may assume status of reality. After all, you may know the expression that if it is on the internet then it must be true?

    Have AWS and public cloud services become a lightning rod for when things go wrong?

    Here is some coverage of various cloud incidents:

    Huffington post coverage of February 2011 Google Gmail incident
    Microsoft Azure coverage by Allthingsd.com
    Neowin.net covering Microsoft Xbox incident
    Google’s Gmail blog coverage of Gmail outage
    Forbes article Amazon AWS Takes Down Netflix on Christmas Eve
    Over at Performance Critical Apps they assert the AWS incident was Netflix fault
    From The Virtualization Practice: Amazon Ruining Public Cloud Computing?
    Here is Netflix architect Adrian Cockcroft discussing the recent incident
    From StorageIOblog Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Netflix Fix?
    From CRN, here are some cloud service availability status via Nasuni

    The above are a small sampling of different stories, articles, columns, blogs, perspectives about cloud services outages or other incidents. Assuming the services are available, you can Google or Bing many others along with reading postmortems to gain insight into what happened, the cause, effect and how to prevent in the future.

    Do these recent incidents show a trend of increased cloud outages? Alternatively, do they say that the cloud services are being used more and on a larger basis, thus the impacts become more known?

    Perhaps it is a mix of the above, and like when a magnetic storage tape gets lost or stolen, it makes for good news or copy, something to write about. Granted there are fewer tapes actually lost than in the past, and far fewer vs. lost or stolen laptops and other devices with data on them. There are probably other reasons such as the lightning rod effect given how much industry hype around clouds that when something does happen, the cynics or foes come out in force, sometimes with FUD.

    Similar to traditional hardware or software based product vendors, some service providers have even tried to convince me that they have never had an incident, lost or corrupted or compromised any data, yeah, right. Candidly, I put more credibility and confidence in a vendor or solution provider who tells me that they have had incidents and taken steps to prevent them from recurring. Granted those steps might be made public while others might be under NDA, at least they are learning and implementing improvements.

    As part of gaining insights, here are some links to AWS, Google, Microsoft Azure and other service status dashboards where you can view current and past situations.

    AWS service status dashboard
    Bluehost server status dashboard
    Google App status dashboard
    HP cloud service status console (requires login)
    Microsoft Azure service status dashboard
    Microsoft Xbox service status dashboard
    Rackspace service status dashboards

    PART II
    There is good information, insight and lessons to be learned from cloud outages and other incidents.

    Sorry cynics no that does not mean an end to clouds, as they are here to stay. However when and where to use them, along with what best practices, how to be ready and configure for use are part of the discussion. This means that clouds may not be for everybody or all applications, or at least today. For those who are into clouds for the long haul (either all in or partially) including current skeptics, there are many lessons to be learned and leveraged.

    In order to gain confidence in clouds, some questions that I routinely am asked include are clouds more or less reliable than what you are doing? Depends on what you are doing, and how you will be using the cloud services. If you are applying HA and other BC or resiliency best practices, you may be able to configure and isolate from the more common situations. On the other hand, if you are simply using the cloud services as a low-cost alternative selecting the lowest price and service class (SLAs and SLOs), you might get what you paid for. Thus, clouds are a shared responsibility, the service provider has things they need to do, and the user or person designing how the service will be used have some decisions making responsibilities.

    Keep in mind that high availability (HA), resiliency, business continuance (BC) along with disaster recovery (DR) are the sum of several pieces. This includes people, best practices, processes including change management, good design eliminating points of failure and isolating or containing faults, along with how the components or technology used (e.g. hardware, software, networks, services, tools). Good technology used in goods ways can be part of a highly resilient flexible and scalable data infrastructure. Good technology used in the wrong ways may not leverage the solutions to their full potential.

    While it is easy to focus on the physical technologies (servers, storage, networks, software, facilities), many of the cloud services incidents or outages have involved people, process and best practices so those need to be considered.

    These incidents or outages bring awareness, a level set, that this is still early in the cloud evolution lifecycle and to move beyond seeing clouds as just a way to cut cost, and seeing the importance and value HA, resiliency, BC and DR. This means learning from mistakes, taking action to correct or fix errors, find and cut points of failure are part of a technology maturing or the use of it. These all tie into having services with service level agreements (SLAs) with service level objectives (SLOs) for availability, reliability, durability, accessibility, performance and security among others to protect against mayhem or other things that can and do happen.

    The reason I mentioned earlier that AWS had another incident is that like their peers or competitors who have incidents in the past, AWS appears to be going through some growing, maturing, evolution related activities. During summer 2012 there was an AWS incident that affected Netflix (read more here: AWS and the Netflix Fix?). It should also be noted that there were earlier AWS outages where Netflix (read about Netflix architecture here) leveraged resiliency designs to try and prevent mayhem when others were impacted.

    Is AWS a lightning rod for things to happen, a point of attraction for Mayhem and others?

    Granted given their size, scope of services and how being used on a global basis AWS is blazing new territory and experiences, similar to what other information services delivery platforms did in the past. What I mean is that while taken for granted today, open systems Unix, Linux, Windows-based along with client-server, midrange or distributed systems, not to mention mainframe hardware, software, networks, processes, procedures, best practices all went through growing pains.

    There are a couple of interesting threads going on over in various LinkedIn Groups based on some reporters stories including on speculation of what happened, followed with some good discussions of what actually happened and how to prevent recurrence of them in the future.

    Over in the Cloud Computing, SaaS & Virtualization group forum, this thread is based on a Forbes article (Amazon AWS Takes Down Netflix on Christmas Eve) and involves conversations about SLAs, best practices, HA and related themes. Have a look at the story the thread is based on and some of the assertions being made, and ensuing discussions.

    Also over at LinkedIn, in the Cloud Hosting & Service Providers group forum, this thread is based on a story titled Why Netflix’ Christmas Eve Crash Was Its Own Fault with a good discussion on clouds, HA, BC, DR, resiliency and related themes.

    Over at the Virtualization Practice, there is a piece titled Is Amazon Ruining Public Cloud Computing? with comments from me and Adrian Cockcroft (@Adrianco) a Netflix Architect (you can read his blog here). You can also view some presentations about the Netflix architecture here.

    What this all means

    Saying you get what you pay for would be too easy and perhaps not applicable.

    There are good services free, or low-cost, just like good free content and other things, however vice versa, just because something costs more, does not make it better.

    Otoh, there are services that charge a premium however may have no better if not worse reliability, same with content for fee or perceived value that is no better than what you get free.

    Additional related material

    Cloud conversations: confidence, certainty and confidentiality
    Only you can prevent cloud data loss (shared responsibility)
    The blame game: Does cloud storage result in data loss?
    Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Netflix Fix?
    Cloud conversations: AWS Government Cloud (GovCloud)
    Everything Is Not Equal in the Data center
    Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC) – Intel Recommended Reading List

    Some closing thoughts:

    Clouds are real and can be used safely; however, they are a shared responsibility.
    Only you can prevent cloud data loss, which means do your homework, be ready.
    If something can go wrong, it probably will, particularly if humans are involved.
    Prepare for the unexpected and clarify assumptions vs. realities of service capabilities.
    Leverage fault isolation and containment to prevent rolling or spreading disasters.
    Look at cloud services beyond lowest cost or for cost avoidance.
    What is your organizations culture for learning from mistakes vs. fixing blame?
    Ask yourself if you, your applications and organization are ready for clouds.
    Ask your cloud providers if they are ready for you and your applications.
    Identify what your cloud concerns are to decide what can be done about them.
    Do a proof of concept to decide what types of clouds and services are best for you.

    Do not be scared of clouds, however be ready, do your homework, learn from the mistakes, misfortune and errors of others. Establish and leverage known best practices while creating new ones. Look at the past for guidance to the future, however avoid clinging to, and bringing the baggage of the past to the future. Use new technologies, tools and techniques in new ways vs. using them in old ways.

    Disclosure: I am a customer of AWS for EC2, EBS, S3 and Glacier as well as a customer of Bluehost for hosting and Rackspace for backups. Other than Amazon being a seller of my books (and my blog via Kindle) along with running ads on my sites and being an Amazon Associates member (Google also has ads), none of those mentioned are or have been StorageIO clients.

    [To view all of the links mentioned in this post, go to:
    http://storageioblog.com/cloud-conversations-gaining-cloud-confidence-from-insights-into-aws-outages/ ]

    Some updates:

    http://storageioblog.com/november-2013-server-storageio-update-newsletter/

    http://storageioblog.com/fall-2013-aws-cloud-storage-compute-enhancements/

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Independent Analyst and Advisory Consultant at Server StorageIO - www.storageio.com
    Consultant
    Amazon cloud storage options enhanced with Glacier
    In case you missed it, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has enhanced their cloud services (Elastic Cloud Compute or EC2) along with storage offerings. These include Relational Database Service (RDS), DynamoDB, Elastic Block Store (EBS), and Simple Storage Service (S3). Enhancements include new functionality along with availability or reliability in the wake of recent events (outages or service disruptions). Earlier this year AWS announced their Cloud Storage Gateway solution that you can read an analysis here. More recently AWS announced provisioned IOPS among other enhancements (see AWS whats new page here). Before announcing Glacier, options for Amazon storage services relied on general purpose S3 or EBS with other Amazon services. S3 has provided users the ability to select different…

    In case you missed it, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has enhanced their cloud services (Elastic Cloud Compute or EC2) along with storage offerings. These include Relational Database Service (RDS), DynamoDB, Elastic Block Store (EBS), and Simple Storage Service (S3). Enhancements include new functionality along with availability or reliability in the wake of recent events (outages or service disruptions). Earlier this year AWS announced their Cloud Storage Gateway solution that you can read an analysis here. More recently AWS announced provisioned IOPS among other enhancements (see AWS whats new page here).

    Before announcing Glacier, options for Amazon storage services relied on general purpose S3 or EBS with other Amazon services. S3 has provided users the ability to select different availability zones (e.g. geographical regions where data is stored) along with level of reliability for different price points for their applications or services being offered.

    Note that AWS S3 flexibility lends itself to individuals or organizations using it for various purposes. This ranges from storing backup or file sharing data to being used as a target for other cloud services. S3 pricing options vary depending on which availability zones you select as well as if standard or reduced redundancy. As its name implies, reduced redundancy trades lower availability recovery time objective (RTO) in exchange for lower cost per given amount of space capacity.

    AWS has now announced a new class or tier of storage service called Glacier, which as its name implies moves very slow and capable of supporting large amounts of data. In other words, targeting inactive or seldom accessed data where emphasis is on ultra-low cost in exchange for a longer RTO. In exchange for an RTO that AWS is stating that it can be measured in hours, your monthly storage cost can be as low as 1 cent per GByte or about 12 cents per year per GByte plus any extra fees (See here).

    Here is a note that I received from the Amazon Web Services (AWS) team:
    ----------------------
    Dear Amazon Web Services Customer,
    We are excited to announce the immediate availability of Amazon Glacier – a secure, reliable and extremely low cost storage service designed for data archiving and backup. Amazon Glacier is designed for data that is infrequently accessed, yet still important to keep for future reference. Examples include digital media archives, financial and healthcare records, raw genomic sequence data, long-term database backups, and data that must be retained for regulatory compliance. With Amazon Glacier, customers can reliably and durably store large or small amounts of data for as little as $0.01/GB/month. As with all Amazon Web Services, you pay only for what you use, and there are no up-front expenses or long-term commitments.

    Amazon Glacier is:

    Low cost- Amazon Glacier is an extremely low-cost, pay-as-you-go storage service that can cost as little as $0.01 per gigabyte per month, irrespective of how much data you store.
    Secure – Amazon Glacier supports secure transfer of your data over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and automatically stores data encrypted at rest using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256, a secure symmetrix-key encryption standard using 256-bit encryption keys.
    Durable- Amazon Glacier is designed to give average annual durability of 99.999999999% for each item stored.
    Flexible -Amazon Glacier scales to meet your growing and often unpredictable storage requirements. There is no limit to the amount of data you can store in the service.
    Simple- Amazon Glacier allows you to offload the administrative burdens of operating and scaling archival storage to AWS, and makes long term data archiving especially simple. You no longer need to worry about capacity planning, hardware provisioning, data replication, hardware failure detection and repair, or time-consuming hardware migrations.
    Designed for use with other Amazon Web Services – You can use AWS Import/Export to accelerate moving large amounts of data into Amazon Glacier using portable storage devices for transport. In the coming months, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) plans to introduce an option that will allow you to seamlessly move data between Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier using data lifecycle policies.

    Amazon Glacier is currently available in the US-East (N. Virginia), US-West (N. California), US-West (Oregon), EU-West (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Japan) Regions.

    A few clicks in the AWS Management Console are all it takes to setup Amazon Glacier. You can learn more by visiting the Amazon Glacier detail page, reading Jeff Barrs blog post, or joining our September 19th webinar.
    Sincerely,
    The Amazon Web Services Team
    ----------------------

    What is AWS Glacier?

    Glacier is low-cost for lower performance (e.g. access time) storage suited to data applications including archiving, inactive or idle data that you are not in a hurry to retrieve. Pay as you go pricing that can be as low as $0.01 USD per GByte per month (and other optional fees may apply, see here) depending on availability zone. Availability zone or regions include US West coast (Oregon or Northern California), US East Coast (Northern Virginia), Europe (Ireland) and Asia (Tokyo).

    Now what is understood should have to be discussed, however just to be safe, pity the fool who complains about signing up for AWS Glacier due to its penny per month per GByte cost and it being too slow for their iTunes or videos as you know its going to happen. Likewise, you know that some creative vendor or their surrogate is going to try to show a miss-match of AWS Glacier vs. their faster service that caters to a different usage model; it is just a matter of time.

    Lets be clear, Glacier is designed for low-cost, high-capacity, slow access of infrequently accessed data such as an archive or other items. This means that you will be more than disappointed if you try to stream a video, or access a document or photo from Glacier as you would from S3 or EBS or any other cloud service. The reason being is that Glacier is designed with the premise of low-cost, high-capacity, high availability at the cost of slow access time or performance. How slow? AWS states that you may have to wait several hours to reach your data when needed, however that is the tradeoff. If you need faster access, pay more or find a different class and tier of storage service to meet that need, perhaps for those with the real need for speed, AWS SSD capabilities ;).

    Here is a link to a good post over at Planforcloud.com comparing Glacier vs. S3, which is like comparing apples and oranges; however, it helps to put things into context.

    In terms of functionality, Glacier security includes secure socket layer (SSL), advanced encryption standard (AES) 256 (256-bit encryption keys) data at rest encryption along with AWS identify and access management (IAM) policies.

    Persistent storage designed for 99.999999999% durability with data automatically placed in different facilities on multiple devices for redundancy when data is ingested or uploaded. Self-healing is accomplished with automatic background data integrity checks and repair.

    Scale and flexibility are bound by the size of your budget or credit card spending limit along with what availability zones and other options you choose. Integration with other AWS services including Import/Export where you can ship large amounts of data to Amazon using different media and mediums. Note that AWS has also made a statement of direction (SOD) that S3 will be enhanced to seamless move data in and out of Glacier using data policies.

    Part of stretching budgets for organizations of all size is to avoid treating all data and applications the same (key theme of data protection modernization). This means classifying and addressing how and where different applications and data are placed on various types of servers, storage along with revisiting modernizing data protection.

    While the low-cost of Amazon Glacier is an attention getter, I am looking for more than just the lowest cost, which means I am also looking for reliability, security among other things to gain and keep confidence in my cloud storage services providers. As an example, a few years ago I switched from one cloud backup provider to another not based on cost, rather functionality and ability to leverage the service more extensively. In fact, I could switch back to the other provider and save money on the monthly bills; however I would end up paying more in lost time, productivity and other costs.

    What do I see as the barrier to AWS Glacier adoption?

    Simple, getting vendors and other service providers to enhance their products or services to leverage the new AWS Glacier storage category. This means backup/restore, BC and DR vendors ranging from Amazon (e.g. releasing S3 to Glacier automated policy based migration), Commvault, Dell (via their acquisitions of Appassure and Quest), EMC (Avamar, Networker and other tools), HP, IBM/Tivoli, Jungledisk/Rackspace, NetApp, Symantec and others, not to mention cloud gateway providers will need to add support for this new capabilities, along with those from other providers.

    As an Amazon EC2 and S3 customer, it is great to see Amazon continue to expand their cloud compute, storage, networking and application service offerings. I look forward to actually trying out Amazon Glacier for storing encrypted archive or inactive data to compliment what I am doing. Since I am not using the Amazon Cloud Storage Gateway, I am looking into how I can use Rackspace Jungledisk to manage an Amazon Glacier repository similar to how it manages my S3 stores.

    Some more related reading:
    Only you can prevent cloud data loss
    Data protection modernization, more than swapping out media
    Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the NetFlix Fix?
    AWS (Amazon) storage gateway, first, second and third impressions

    As of now, it looks like I will have to wait for either Jungledisk adds native support as they do today for managing my S3 storage pool today, or, the automated policy based movement between S3 and Glacier is transparently enabled.

    [To view all of the links mentioned in this post, go to:http://storageioblog.com/amazon-cloud-storage-options-enhanced-with-glacier/ ]

    Some updates:

    http://storageioblog.com/november-2013-server-storageio-update-newsletter/

    http://storageioblog.com/fall-2013-aws-cloud-storage-compute-enhancements/

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Chief Technology Officer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Real User
    An amazing platform to build on but IAM policies, and cross account access needs improvement.

    What is most valuable?

    The whole IaaS model is an invaluable service. The ease of deployment, maintenance, and scalability, and pay as you go model make AWS an amazing platform to build on.

    How has it helped my organization?

    AWS sitting at the core of our service, and we have been able to provide an amazing number of features, that were otherwise very expensive, and labor intensive to put in place, these include high availability, business continuity planning, disaster recovery, among others.

    What needs improvement?

    AWS has an amazing feature set but I have not used all of them to be able to have a well rounded opinion about improvement. However, of the features I have used, I would say IAM policies, and cross account access would probably be one of the main areas of improvement. Amazon is working on a "Service Catalog" which could potentially fill some of these holes.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used it for three years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    Surprisingly, since starting to use AWS, the process has been quite simple. The deployment was very smooth. Despite this, it does take a bit of getting used to when working with VPCs, and networking in an AWS context, but that's a fairly quick learning curve that can be attained easily.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Like anything, failures happen every once in a while. I have experienced some failed hardware under my instances, which caused a brief outage. The stability of the service, however, is also much more reliant on the architecture of the application than the stability of the AWS infrastructure. In any case, AWS has been quite stable over all.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is one of AWS' strengths. Scaling resources, be it an AWS EC2 instance, or an RDS instance is a snap. Also, scaling into multiple geographic regions in the world is also possible, and quite a realistic view in that environment.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    My experience with AWS customer service has been stellar. Everyone I come into contact with from Sales, to Technical Support are always friendly, and courteous.

    Technical Support:

    The technical support team is quite knowledgeable, and there is no question asked that doesn't get addressed with full attention, complete with references, examples, and a recap of conversations that were conducted.

    Their technical support processes are clearly well thought out. I can always know what communication to expect, and the level of help that I can expect to receive. I have yet to call them on an issue where a resolution wasn't reached on the first or second contact.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Previously, I used co-location services. The reason I switched is quite obvious:

    • Cost
    • Constant overheads
    • Constant challenge of meeting budgets with consistent cutting edge technology

    AWS has removed all these variables, and allowed me to concentrate on growing my services without having to worry about aging servers, or under capacity hardware, etc.

    How was the initial setup?

    Understanding AWS is actually quite easy. There are some notions that require a bit of previous knowledge to grasp. The good news is that the documentation available about the different services is quite extensive, which can give anyone a head start in launching their AWS services. The complexity of using AWS is directly related to the robustness of the application/service that is being deployed. The more AWS services are integrated together, the more complex the deployment will become.

    What about the implementation team?

    All AWS services were deployed in-house, with assistance from AWS support teams.

    What was our ROI?

    Because there is no initial investment in AWS services (it's a pay as you go service in its basic form) the ROI is immediate. Because AWS costs are consistently being reduced, it is a great way to build services, offered at affordable prices, while still getting good returns on investment.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    As mentioned above, AWS does not really have initial setup costs. It's like a utility company; you use the service, and pay for your usage. The daily cost is dependent upon the service being deployed at that point in time. For the flexibility, and consistent cutting edge technology that AWS operates on, it's well worth the price.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I have evaluated Azure, and Google as IaaS. Quite honestly, Google was too convoluted for my purposes, and although Azure had some nice "Microsoft-y" features that AWS doesn't necessarily have, I still felt that it was much easier to get started with AWS, than it is with the other services.

    What other advice do I have?

    Don't be afraid of "The Cloud". As prominent as it is today, a lot of people, and small businesses, are still afraid of storing their data away from their physical office. There are a ton of advantages in using AWS for your infrastructure instead of on-premises equipment. Give it a serious look before dismissing it. There is a lot that can be added here, but that could be an article all on its own.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Independent Analyst and Advisory Consultant at Server StorageIO - www.storageio.com
    Consultant
    EFS is NFS version 4 based however it does not support Windows SMB/CIFS, HDFS or other NAS access protocols.
    Cloud Conversations: AWS EFS Elastic File System (Cloud NAS) First Preview Look Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently announced new Elastic File System (EFS) providing Network File System (NFS) NAS (Network Attached Storage) capabilities for AWS Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instances. EFS AWS compliments other AWS storage offerings including Simple Storage Service (S3) along with Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Glacier and Relational Data Services (RDS) among others. Ok, that’s a lot of buzzwords and acronyms so lets break this down a bit. AWS EFS and Cloud Storage, Beyond Buzzword Bingo EC2 – Instances exist in various Availability Zones (AZ’s) in different AWS Regions. Compute instance with various operating systems including Windows and Ubuntu among others that also can be pre-configured…

    Cloud Conversations: AWS EFS Elastic File System (Cloud NAS) First Preview Look

    Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently announced new Elastic File System (EFS) providing Network File System (NFS) NAS (Network Attached Storage) capabilities for AWS Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instances. EFS AWS compliments other AWS storage offerings including Simple Storage Service (S3) along with Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Glacier and Relational Data Services (RDS) among others.

    Ok, that’s a lot of buzzwords and acronyms so lets break this down a bit.

    AWS EFS and Cloud Storage, Beyond Buzzword Bingo

    • EC2 – Instances exist in various Availability Zones (AZ’s) in different AWS Regions. Compute instance with various operating systems including Windows and Ubuntu among others that also can be pre-configured with applications such as SQL Server or web services among others. EC2 instances vary from low-cost to high-performance compute, memory, GPU, storage or general purposed optimized. For example, some EC2 instances rely solely on EBS, S3, RDS or other AWS storage offerings while others include on-board Solid State Disk (SSD) like DAS SSD found on traditional servers. EC2 instances on EBS volumes can be snapshot to S3 storage which in turn can be replicated to another region.
    • EBS – Scalable block accessible storage for EC2 instances that can be configured for performance or bulk storage, as well as for persistent images for EC2 instances (if you choose to configure your instance to be persistent)
    • EFS – New file (aka NAS) accessible storage service accessible from EC2 instances in various AZ’s in a given AWS region
    • Glacier – Cloud based near-line (or by some comparisons off-line) cold-storage archives.
    • RDS – Relational Database Services for SQL and other data repositories
    • S3 – Provides durable, scalable low-cost bulk (aka object) storage accessible from inside AWS as well as via externally. S3 can be used by EC2 instances for bulk durable storage as well as being used as a target for EBS snapshots.
    • Learn more about EC2, EBS, S3, Glacier, Regions, AZ’s and other AWS topics in this primer here

    What is EFS

    Implements NFS V4 (SNIA NFS V4 primer) providing network attached storage (NAS) meaning data sharing. AWS is indicating initial pricing for EFS at $0.30 per GByte per month. EFS is designed for storage and data sharing from multiple EC2 instances in different AZ’s in the same AWS region with scalability into the PBs.

    What EFS is not

    Currently it seems that EFS has an end-point inside AWS accessible via an EC2 instance like EBS. This appears to be like EBS where the storage service is accessible only to AWS EC2 instances unlike S3 which can be accessible from the out-side world as well as via EC2 instances.

    Note however, that depending on how you configure your EC2 instance with different software, as well as configure a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and other settings, it is possible to have an application, software tool or operating system running on EC2 accessible from the outside world. For example, NAS software such as those from SoftNAS and NetApp among many others can be installed on an EC2 instance and with proper configuration, as well as being accessible to other EC2 instances, they can also be accessed from outside of AWS (with proper settings and security).

    AWS EFS at this time is NFS version 4 based however does not support Windows SMB/CIFS, HDFS or other NAS access protocols. In addition AWS EFS is accessible from multiple AZ’s within a region. To share NAS data across regions some other software would be required.

    EFS is not yet as of this writing released and AWS is currently accepting requests to join the EFS preview here.

    Where to learn more

    Here are some links to learn more about AWS S3 and related topics

    What this all means and wrap-up

    AWS continues to extend its cloud platform include both compute and storage offerings. EFS compliments EBS along with S3, Glacier and RDS. For many environments NFS support will be welcome while for others CIFS/SMB would be appreciated and others are starting to find that value in HDFS accessible NAS. In addition, AWS has also added a new tier for inactive data in S3 for nearline storage as opposed to having to use Glacier.

    Overall I like this announcement and look forward to moving beyond the preview.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Linux administrator with 10,001+ employees
    Vendor
    we have 750 hours of Amazon EC2 Linux t2.micro instance usage, but it's expensive.

    Valuable Features:

    750 hours of Amazon EC2 Linux t2.micro instance usage (1 GiB of memory and 32-bit and 64-bit platform support) -- It's enough hours to run continuously each month.

    Improvements to My Organization:

    It gives us the time to check.

    Room for Improvement:

    Charges are high at the moment.

    Valuable Features:

    750 hours of Amazon EC2 Linux t2.micro instance usage (1 GiB of memory and 32-bit and 64-bit platform support) -- It's enough hours to run continuously each month.

    Improvements to My Organization:

    It gives us the time to check.

    Room for Improvement:

    Charges are high at the moment.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user7707
    Owner at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    Amazon Web Services: Security Processes in the EC2 Cloud
    Customer trust and confidence is at the heart of Amazon’s business and with so many customers using Amazon’s platforms to run their business securely and efficiently, Amazon has gone to great lengths to operate and manage a comprehensive control environment. The environment supports secure Amazon Web Services cloud web offerings by ensuring that all necessary policies and processes are used in compliance with AWS certifications. Within the last few years Amazon Web Services security has achieved notable certifications which include SAS70 Type II audits, PCI DSS Level 1 which involves meeting Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, ISO 27001 for Information Security Management Systems, and compliance within the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) to properly serve…

    Customer trust and confidence is at the heart of Amazon’s business and with so many customers using Amazon’s platforms to run their business securely and efficiently, Amazon has gone to great lengths to operate and manage a comprehensive control environment. The environment supports secure Amazon Web Services cloud web offerings by ensuring that all necessary policies and processes are used in compliance with AWS certifications.

    Within the last few years Amazon Web Services security has achieved notable certifications which include SAS70 Type II audits, PCI DSS Level 1 which involves meeting Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, ISO 27001 for Information Security Management Systems, and compliance within the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) to properly serve government agency FedRAMP requirements for AWS GovCloud on the Amazon platform.

    When Amazon introduced Amazon EC2 it started a process rolling for business customers to run their applications in Amazon’s computing environment. EC2 is the Elastic Compute Cloud which allows business customers to access Amazon’s secure cloud environment through a virtual machine. The platform deploys EC2 security which also supports Amazon Web Services for FedRAMP compliance.

    Using Amazon EC2 business customers can create an image of their operating system and applications which is known as an Amazon Machine Image. Once the image is created it is uploaded to Amazon S3 which is Amazon’s Simple Storage Service. The AMI is then registered in Amazon EC2 allowing the customer to summon virtual machines as they are needed. The result is an AWS Virtual Private Cloud for business customers to conduct operations without the exorbitant expense of IT infrastructure. For this reason, Amazon must ensure the environment meets all compliance and security standards hence the acquisition of the certification described earlier.

    Amazon EC2 Security Processes

    Amazon’s approach to AWS security involves layered security processes which maintain data integrity and provide secure EC2 instances while still maintaining configuration flexibility to meet the individual requirements of EC2 business customers.

    • Administration Hosts: For business customers who require access to the management platform, Amazon uses a level of security to accommodate administration hosts without posing a risk to data integrity and other users. Through the use of AWS Identity and Access Management, this is accomplished by auditing all access activity and using a log to track the activity. If the user accessing the management platform terminates their authentication privileges then the privileges are automatically discontinued which ensures secure AWS applications.
    • Customer Controlled Instances: Amazon EC2 allows for virtual instances which are solely controlled by the customer. Business customers exercise full control and at no time can Amazon intervene by logging in to the customer’s operating system. For this reason, a set of practices is in place to guide the customer on authentication processes for AWS VPC in order to access the virtual instances. This involves designing an authentication and privilege system which can be enabled and disabled according to changing needs of virtual machine users.
    • Firewall: As part of the AWS Security Center, EC2 Business customers have access to a complex firewall solution which can be configured to meet the individual needs of each business customer. For example, the firewall for Amazon EC2 is typically configured by default to block all traffic. If the customer wants to allow inbound traffic they must open the necessary ports to allow inbound traffic while blocking unwanted traffic. The firewall also provides a host of options for setting specific protocols for inbound traffic such as by IP address and other identifications. Added security is in place since the business customer must use their x.509 certificate to change firewall configurations.
    • Xen: Another layer of AWS security for EC2 is the Xen Hypervisor which separates different instances running on the same virtual machine. The firewall is situated in the Xen Hypervisor which means packets for instances must pass through the firewall thereby adding enhanced security to isolated instances.

    Finally, Amazon Web Services Cloud uses a layer of security known as Amazon EBS or Elastic Block Storage which restricts access to data snapshots to the specific Amazon Web Services account which created it. Business customers can make the data snapshots available to other AWS accounts however; this process should be carefully considered since there may be files with sensitive information.

    Prior to releasing Elastic Block Storage to the customer, Amazon wipes old data in accordance with the National Industrial Security Program guidelines. Plus EBS allows business customers to encrypt their data on the block device using algorithms that comply with individual security standards.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user234747
    Practice Manager - Cloud, Automation & DevOps at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
    Real User
    It has a massive library of services for you to use in developing cloud-based solutions.
    Originally posted at https://vcdx133.com/2015/06/12/tech101-amazon-web-services As part of my NPX preparation (AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional is one of the recommended qualifications) and my RapidMatter GitHub project (will run from AWS), I have been delving into the world of Amazon Web Services. One statement: “Wow!” I can see why they are the world leader in Public Cloud services. Here is the cool thing, as an Enterprise/Cloud Architect you have a MASSIVE library of services (40+ at time of writing) that you can use to develop Cloud-based solutions for your customers. As you read through the list below, you will see the fundamental building blocks for every solution. By having this service matrix, you do not have to reinvent the wheel; it already exists and…

    Originally posted at https://vcdx133.com/2015/06/12/tech101-amazon-web-services

    As part of my NPX preparation (AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional is one of the recommended qualifications) and my RapidMatter GitHub project (will run from AWS), I have been delving into the world of Amazon Web Services. One statement: “Wow!” I can see why they are the world leader in Public Cloud services.

    Here is the cool thing, as an Enterprise/Cloud Architect you have a MASSIVE library of services (40+ at time of writing) that you can use to develop Cloud-based solutions for your customers. As you read through the list below, you will see the fundamental building blocks for every solution. By having this service matrix, you do not have to reinvent the wheel; it already exists and is ready to go. Thus, you can focus on making sure your customer requirements are being met with elegant and innovative designs.

    Getting Started (takes 5 minutes)

    1. You have a PC with a responsive and usable Internet connection
    2. Create an AWS account
    3. Provide a valid Credit Card
    4. Provide a valid phone number that must be verified
    5. Start using AWS immediately – there is a free tier (1 year trial period) for some services in some regions (micro instances)
    6. The UI is very intuitive and easy to use
    7. WARNING: You can spin-up most of the service catalogue. Do not forget and leave them running, your credit card will be charged

    Core Services of AWS

    • EC2 – Elastic Cloud Compute – Virtual Machines you can provision (Instances) from a massive library of templates (AMI – Amazon Machine Images free and paid from the AWS Community/Marketplace) no
    • EBS – Elastic Block Store – Persistent Virtual Disks for your VMs (Instances)
    • S3 – Simple Storage Service – Scalable, Object-based Storage in the Cloud
    • Glacier – Archive Storage in the Cloud

    Under The Hood: AWS uses a heavily customised version of Xen as its hypervisor.

    Pricing Models

    • On-Demand – Pay-as-you-go
    • Reserved Instances – Pay up front
    • Spot Requests – Bid for excess AWS resources against other AWS users

    Compute

    • EC2 Container Service – Run and Manage Docker Containers
    • Lambda – Run Code in Response to Events

    Storage & Content Delivery

    • Storage Gateway – Integrates On-Premises IT Environments with Cloud Storage
    • Elastic File System – Fully Managed File System for EC2

    Edge Services (to be close to all of your customers around the world)

    • Route53 – Scalable DNS and Domain Name Registration
    • CloudFront – Global Content Delivery Network – Caches static content regionally

    Simple Micro-services that just work

    • SQS – Simple Message Queue Service
    • SES – Simple Email Service
    • SWF – Simple Workflow Service
    • AppStream – Low Latency Application Streaming
    • Elastic Transcoder – Easy-to-use Scalable Media Transcoding
    • CloudSearch – Managed Search Service

    Databases

    • RDS – Relational Database Service – MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server & Amazon Aurora
    • DynamoDB – Predictable and Scalable NoSQL Data Store
    • ElastiCache – In-Memory Cache
    • Redshift – Managed Petabyte-Scale Data Warehouse Service

    Networking

    • VPC – Virtual Private Cloud – Isolated Cloud Resources
    • Direct Connect – Dedicated Network Connection to AWS

    Administration & Security

    • Directory Service – Managed Directory Services in the cloud
    • Identity & Access Management – Access Control and Key Management
    • Trusted Advisor – AWS Cloud Optimisation Expert
    • CloudTrail – User Activity and Change Tracking
    • Config – Resource Configurations and Inventory
    • CloudWatch – Resource and Application Monitoring

    Deployment & Management

    • CloudFormation – Templated AWS Resource Creation (for Sysadmins)
    • Elastic Beanstalk – AWS Application Container (for Developers)
    • OpsWorks – DevOps Application Management Service
    • CodeDeploy – Automated Deployments

    Analytics

    • EMR – Managed Hadoop Framework
    • Kinesis – Real-time Processing of Streaming Big Data
    • Data Pipeline – Orchestration for Data-Driven Workflows
    • Machine Learning – Build Smart Applications Quickly and Easily

    Mobile Services

    • Cognito – User Identity and App Data Synchronisation
    • Mobile Analytics – Understand App Usage Data at Scale
    • SNS – Simple Notification Service – Push Notification Service

    Enterprise Applications

    • WorkSpaces – Desktops in the Cloud (VDI)
    • WorkDocs – Secure Enterprise Storage and Sharing
    • WorkMail – Secure Email and Calendaring Service

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user261489
    Program and Project Manager at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Popular
    As with all public clouds, there is still a dilemma with security, but provides a rich set of services for IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.
    AWS is a good platform for non-MySQL, MySQL, and Hadoop databases, but it’s not as good for RDBMS ones like MS SQL. It still has many missing features -- like replication, backup policy, and the ability to store/attach databases from a local drive -- but it has many good features for big data.  Its new AppStream service will pre-process graphics, including 3D renderings, and blast the results to mobile clients. Its Kinesis service for streaming data sets the stage for building big data apps on AWS, the basic architecture for the internet of things. As for its Hadoop capabilities, AWS launched its Elastic MapReduce (EMR) a long time back. It is the best cloud services provider for open source software for databases, operating systems hosting apps, and many other customized applications. As…

    AWS is a good platform for non-MySQL, MySQL, and Hadoop databases, but it’s not as good for RDBMS ones like MS SQL. It still has many missing features -- like replication, backup policy, and the ability to store/attach databases from a local drive -- but it has many good features for big data. 

    Its new AppStream service will pre-process graphics, including 3D renderings, and blast the results to mobile clients. Its Kinesis service for streaming data sets the stage for building big data apps on AWS, the basic architecture for the internet of things. As for its Hadoop capabilities, AWS launched its Elastic MapReduce (EMR) a long time back. It is the best cloud services provider for open source software for databases, operating systems hosting apps, and many other customized applications.

    As discussed with many tech professionals, there is still a dilemma with security like there was a decade ago when online e-commerce business started and people weren’t prepared to share their credit card and bank details. Now, as online shopping is common, I am expecting the same trend will grow for public cloud very soon. AWS security is very good and they are following all the required security regulations as much other public cloud providers are doing, as they know any security breach could impact their entire business.

    Pricing is another key concern when private cloud is used for big business and multiple growth on data. The price is a big debate and requires lot of analysis, as it is a question for big organizations. But no doubt, AWS is quite good for a small setup as it’s very cost effective and provides an eco-setup.

    AWS is quite for good cloud services such as IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. It provides a rich set of services and integrated monitoring tools alongside a competitive pricing model. AWS offers a full range of computer and storage offerings, including on-demand instances and specialized services such as Amazon EMR, and Cluster GPU instances. Amazon Cloud Trail and Amazon CloudWatch services are very good monitoring and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a good administration and security feature for administrators to use.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Independent Analyst and Advisory Consultant at Server StorageIO - www.storageio.com
    Consultant
    Lambda and other AWS enhancements
    A few weeks ago I attended Amazon Web Service (AWS) re:Invent 2014 in Las Vegas for a few days. For those of you who have not yet attended this event, I recommend adding it to your agenda. If you have interest in compute servers, networking, storage, development tools or management of cloud (public, private, hybrid), virtualization and related topic themes, you should check out AWS re:invent. AWS made several announcements at re:invent including many around development tools, compute and data storage services. One of those to keep an eye on is cloud based Aurora relational database service that complement existing RDS tools. Aurora is positioned as an alternative to traditional SQL based transactional databases commonly found in enterprise environments (e.g. SQL Server among…

    A few weeks ago I attended Amazon Web Service (AWS) re:Invent 2014 in Las Vegas for a few days. For those of you who have not yet attended this event, I recommend adding it to your agenda. If you have interest in compute servers, networking, storage, development tools or management of cloud (public, private, hybrid), virtualization and related topic themes, you should check out AWS re:invent.

    AWS made several announcements at re:invent including many around development tools, compute and data storage services. One of those to keep an eye on is cloud based Aurora relational database service that complement existing RDS tools. Aurora is positioned as an alternative to traditional SQL based transactional databases commonly found in enterprise environments (e.g. SQL Server among others).

    Some recent AWS announcements prior to re:Invent include

    AWS vCenter Portal

    Using the AWS Management Portal for vCenter adds a plug-in within your VMware vCenter to manage your AWS infrastructure. The vCenter for AWS plug-in includes support for AWS EC2 and Virtual Machine (VM) import to migrate your VMware VMs to AWS EC2, create VPC (Virtual Private Clouds) along with subnet’s. There is no cost for the plug-in, you simply pay for the underlying AWS resources consumed (e.g. EC2, EBS, S3). Learn more about AWS Management Portal for vCenter here, and download the OVA plug-in for vCenter here.

    AWS re:invent content

    November 12, 2014 (Day 1) Keynote (highlight video, full keynote). This is the session where AWS SVP Andy Jassy made several announcements including Aurora relational database that complements existing RDS (Relational Data Services). In addition to Andy, the key-note sessions also included various special guests ranging from AWS customers, partners and internal people in support of the various initiatives and announcements.

    November 13, 2014 (Day 2) Keynote (highlight video, full keynote). In this session, Amazon.com CTO Werner Vogels appears making announcements about the new Container and Lambda services.

    AWS re:Invent announcements

    Announcements and enhancements made by AWS during re:Invent include:

    • Key Management Service (KMS)
    • Amazon RDS for Aurora
    • Amazon EC2 Container Service
    • AWS Lambda
    • Amazon EBS Enhancements
    • Application development, deployed and life-cycle management tools
    • AWS Service Catalog
    • AWS CodeDeploy
    • AWS CodeCommit
    • AWS CodePipeline

    Key Management Service (KMS)

    Hardware security module (HSM) based key managed service for creating and control of encryption keys to protect security of digital assets and their keys. Integration with AWS EBS and others services including S3 and Redshift along with CloudTrail logs for regulatory, compliance and management. Learn more about AWS KMS here

    AWS Database

    For those who are not familiar, AWS has a suite of database related services including SQL and no SQL based, simple to transactional to Petabyte (PB) scale data warehouses for big data and analytics. AWS offers the Relational Database Service (RDS) which is a suite of different database types, instances and services. RDS instance and types include SimpleDB, MySQL, Postgress, Oracle, SQL Server and the new AWS Aurora offering (read more below). Other little data database and big data repository related offerings include DynamoDB (a non-SQL database), ElasticCache (in memory cache repository) and Redshift (large-scale data warehouse and big data repository).

    In addition to database services offered by AWS, you can also combine various AWS resources including EC2 compute, EBS and other storage offerings to create your own solution. For example there are various Amazon Machine Images (AMI’s) or pre-built operating systems and database tools available with EC2 as well as via the AWS Marketplace , such as MongoDB and Couchbase among others. For those not familiar with MongoDB, Couchbase, Cassandra, Riak along with other non SQL or alternative databases and key value repositories, check out Seven Databases in Seven Weeks in my book review of it here.

    Amazon RDS for Aurora

    Aurora is a new relational database offering part of the AWS RDS suite of services. Positioned as an alternative to commercial high-end database, Aurora is a cost-effective database engine compatible with MySQL. AWS is claiming 5x better performance than standard MySQL with Aurora while being resilient and durable. Learn more about Aurora which will be available in early 2015 and its current preview here.

    Amazon EC2 C4 instances

    AWS will be adding a new C4 instance as a next generation of EC2 compute instance based on Intel Xeon E5-2666 v3 (Haswell) processors. The Intel Xeon E5-2666 v3 processors run at a clock speed of 2.9 GHz providing the highest level of EC2 performance. AWS is targeting traditional High Performance Computing (HPC) along with other compute intensive workloads including analytics, gaming, and transcoding among others. Learn more AWS EC2 instances here, and view this Server and StorageIO EC2, EBS and associated AWS primer here.

    Amazon EC2 Container Service

    Containers such as those via Docker have become popular to support developers rapidly build as well as deploy scalable applications. AWS has added a new feature called EC2 Container Service that supports Docker using simple API’s. In addition to supporting Docker, EC2 Container Service is a high performance scalable container management service for distributed applications deployed on a cluster of EC2 instances. Similar to other EC2 services, EC2 Container Service leverages security groups, EBS volumes and Identity Access Management (IAM) roles along with scheduling placement of containers to meet your needs. Note that AWS is not alone in adding container and docker support with Microsoft Azure also having recently made some announcements, learn more about Azure and Docker here. Learn more about EC2 container service here and more about Docker here.

    AWS Lambda

    In addition to announcing new higher performance Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) compute instances along with container service, another new service is AWS Lambda. Lambda is a service that automatically and quickly runs your applications code in response to events, activities, or other triggers. In addition to running your code, Lambda service is billed in 100 millisecond increments along with corresponding memory use vs. standard EC2 per hour billing. What this means is that instead of paying for an hour of time for your code to run, you can choose to use the Lambda service with more fine-grained consumption billing.

    Lambda service can be used to have your code functions staged ready to execute. AWS Lambda can run your code in response to S3 bucket content (e.g. objects) changes, messages arriving via Kinesis streams or table updates in databases. Some examples include responding to event such as a web-site click, response to data upload (photo, image, audio, file or other object), index, stream or analyze data, receive output from a connected device (think Internet of Things IoT or Internet of Device IoD), trigger from an in-app event among others. The basic idea with Lambda is to be able to pay for only the amount of time needed to do a particular function without having to have an AWS EC2 instance dedicated to your application. Initially Lambda supports Node.js (JavaScript) based code that runs in its own isolated environment.

    Various application code deployment models

    Lambda service is a pay for what you consume, charges are based on the number of requests for your code function (e.g. application), amount of memory and execution time. There is a free tier for Lambda that includes 1 million requests and 400,000 GByte seconds of time per month. A GByte second is the amount of memory (e.g. DRAM vs. storage) consumed during a second. An example is your application is run 100,000 times and runs for 1 second consuming 128MB of memory = 128,000,000MB = 128,000GB seconds. View various pricing models here on the AWS Lambda site that show examples for different memory sizes, times a function runs and run time.

    How much memory you select for your application code determines how it can run in the AWS free tier, which is available to both existing and new customers. Lambda fees are based on the total across all of your functions starting with the code when it runs. Note that you could have from one to thousands or more different functions running in Lambda service. As of this time, AWS is showing Lambda pricing as free for the first 1 million requests, and beyond that, $0.20 per 1 million request ($0.0000002 per request) per duration. Duration is from when you code runs until it ends or otherwise terminates rounded up to the nearest 100ms. The Lambda price also depends on the amount of memory you allocated for your code. Once past the 400,000 GByte second per month free tier the fee is $0.00001667 for every GB second used.

    Why use AWS Lambda vs. an EC2 instance

    Why would you use AWS Lambda vs. provisioning an Container, EC2 instance or running your application code function on a traditional or virtual machine?

    If you need control and can leverage an entire physical server with its operating system (O.S.), application and support tools for your piece of code (e.g. JavaScript), that could be an option. If you simply need to have an isolated image instance (O.S., applications and tools) for your code on a shared virtual on-premise environment then that can be an option. Likewise if you have the need to move your application to an isolated cloud machine (CM) that hosts an O.S. along with your application paying for those resources such as on an hourly basis, that could be your option. Simply need a lighter-weight container to drop your application into that’s where Docker and containers comes into play to off-load some of the traditional application dependencies overhead.

    However, if all you want to do is to add some code logic to support processing activity for example when an object, file or image is uploaded to AWS S3 without having to standup an EC2 instance along with associated server, O.S. and complete application activity, that’s where AWS Lambda comes into play. Simply create your code (initially JavaScript) and specify how much memory it needs, define what events or activities will trigger or invoke the event, and you have a solution.

    View AWS Lambda pricing along with free tier information here.

    Amazon EBS Enhancements

    AWS is increasing the performance and size of General Purpose SSD and Provisioned IOP’s SSD volumes. This means that you can create volumes up to 16TB and 10,000 IOP’s for AWS EBS general-purpose SSD volumes. For EBS Provisioned IOP’s SSD volumes you can create up to 16TB for 20,000 IOP’s. General-purpose SSD volumes deliver a maximum throughput (bandwidth) of 160 MBps and Provisioned IOP SSD volumes have been specified by AWS at 320MBps when attached to EBS optimized instances. Learn more about EBS capabilities here. Verify your IO size and verify AWS sizing information to avoid surprises as all IO sizes are not considered to be the same. Learn more about Provisioned IOP’s, optimized instances, EBS and EC2 fundamentals in this StorageIO AWS primer here.

    Application development, deployed and life-cycle management tools

    In addition to compute and storage resource enhancements, AWS has also announced several tools to support application development, configuration along with deployment (life-cycle management). These include tools that AWS uses themselves as part of building and maintaining the AWS platform services.

    AWS Config (Preview e.g. early access prior to full release)

    Management, reporting and monitoring capabilities including Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) for monitoring your AWS resources, configuration (including history), governance, change management and notifications. AWS Config enables similar capabilities to support DCIM, Change Management Database (CMDB), trouble shooting and diagnostics, auditing, resource and configuration analysis among other activities. Learn more about AWS Config here.

    AWS Service Catalog

    AWS announced a new service catalog that will be available in early 2015. This new service capability will enable administrators to create and manage catalogs of approved resources for users to use via their personalized portal. Learn more about AWS service catalog here.

    AWS CodeDeploy

    To support code rapid deployment automation for EC2 instances, AWS has released CodeDeploy. CodeDeploy masks complexity associated with deployment when adding new features to your applications while reducing human error-prone operations. As part of the announcement, AWS mentioned that they are using CodeDeploy as part of their own applications development, maintenance, and change-management and deployment operations. While suited for at scale deployments across many instances, CodeDeploy works with as small as a single EC2 instance. Learn more about AWS CodeDeploy here.

    AWS CodeCommit

    For application code management, AWS will be making available in early 2015 a new service called CodeCommit. CodeCommit is a highly scalable secure source control service that host private Git repositories. Supporting standard functionalities of Git, including collaboration, you can store things from source code to binaries while working with your existing tools. Learn more about AWS CodeCommit here.

    AWS CodePipeline

    To support application delivery and release automation along with associated management tools, AWS is making available CodePipeline. CodePipeline is a tool (service) that supports build, checking workflow’s, code staging, testing and release to production including support for 3rd party tool integration. CodePipeline will be available in early 2015, learn more here.

    What this all means

    AWS continues to invest as well as re-invest into its environment both adding new feature functionality, as well as expanding the extensibility of those features. This means that AWS like other vendors or service providers adds new check-box features, however they also like some increase the depth extensibility of those capabilities. 

    Besides adding new features and increasing the extensibility of existing capabilities, AWS is addressing both the data and information infrastructure including compute (server), storage and database, networking along with associated management tools while also adding extra developer tools. Developer tools include life-cycle management supporting code creation, testing, tracking, testing, change management among other management activities.

    Another observation is that while AWS continues to promote the public cloud such as those services they offer as the present and future, they are also talking hybrid cloud. Granted you have to listen carefully as you may not simply hear hybrid cloud used like some toss it around, however listen for and look into AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), along with what you can do using various technologies via the AWS marketplace. 

    AWS is also speaking the language of enterprise and traditional IT from an applications and development to data and information infrastructure perspective while also walking the cloud talk. What this means is that AWS realizes that they need to help existing environments evolve and make the transition to the cloud which means speaking their language vs. converting them to cloud conversations to then be able to migrate them to the cloud. These steps should make AWS practical for many enterprise environments looking to make the transition to public and hybrid cloud at their pace, some faster than others. More on these and some related themes in future posts.

    The AWS re:Invent event continues to grow year over year, I heard a figure of over 12,000 people however it was not clear if that included exhibiting vendors, AWS people, attendees, analyst, bloggers and media among others. However a simple validation is that the keynotes were in the larger rooms used by events such as EMCworld and VMworld when they hosted in Las Vegas as was the expo space vs. what I saw last year while at re:Invent. Unlike some large events such as VMworld where at best there is a waiting queue or line to get into sessions or hands on lab (HOL), while becoming more crowded, AWS re:Invent is still easy to get in and spend some time using the HOL which is of course powered by AWS meaning you can resume what you started while at re:Invent later. Overall a good event and nice series of enhancements by AWS, looking forward to next years AWS re:Invent.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Independent Analyst and Advisory Consultant at Server StorageIO - www.storageio.com
    Consultant
    I like the ability for moving S3 objects within AWS, however I will continue to use other tools such as S3motion and s3sfs for moving data in and out of AWS.
    Cloud Conversations: AWS S3 Cross Region Replication storage enhancements Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently among other enhancements announced new Simple Storage Service (S3) cross-region replication of objects from a bucket (e.g. container) in one region to a bucket in another region. AWS also recently enhanced Elastic Block Storage (EBS) increasing maximum performance and size of Provisioned IOPS (SSD) and General Purpose (SSD) volumes. EBS enhancements included ability to store up to 16 TBytes of data in a single volume and do 20,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS). Read more about EBS and other recent AWS server, storage I/O and application enhancements here. The Problem, Issue, Challenge, Opportunity and Need The challenge is being able to move data (e.g. objects)…

    Cloud Conversations: AWS S3 Cross Region Replication storage enhancements

    Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently among other enhancements announced new Simple Storage Service (S3) cross-region replication of objects from a bucket (e.g. container) in one region to a bucket in another region. AWS also recently enhanced Elastic Block Storage (EBS) increasing maximum performance and size of Provisioned IOPS (SSD) and General Purpose (SSD) volumes. EBS enhancements included ability to store up to 16 TBytes of data in a single volume and do 20,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS). Read more about EBS and other recent AWS server, storage I/O and application enhancements here.

    The Problem, Issue, Challenge, Opportunity and Need

    The challenge is being able to move data (e.g. objects) stored in AWS buckets in one region to another in a safe, secure, timely, automated, cost-effective way.

    Even though AWS has a global name-space, buckets and their objects (e.g. files, data, videos, images, bit and byte streams) are stored in a specific region designated by the customer or user (AWS S3, EBS, EC2, Glacier, Regions and Availability Zone primer can be found here).

    Understanding the challenge and designing a strategy

    The following diagram shows the challenge and how to copy or replicate objects in an S3 bucket in one region to a destination bucket in a different region. While objects can be copied or replicated without S3 cross-region replication, that involves essentially reading your objects pulling that data out via the internet and then writing to another place. The catch is that this can add extra costs, take time, consume network bandwidth and need extra tools (Cloudberry, Cyberduck, S3fuse, S3motion, S3browser, S3 tools (not AWS) and a long list of others).

    What is AWS S3 Cross-region replication

    Highlights of AWS S3 Cross-region replication include:

    • AWS S3 Cross region replication is as its name implies, replication of S3 objects from a bucket in one region to a destination bucket in another region.
    • S3 replication of new objects added to an existing or new bucket (note new objects get replicated)
    • Policy based replication tied into S3 versioning and life-cycle rules
    • Quick and easy to set up for use in a matter of minutes via S3 dashboard or other interfaces
    • Keeps region to region data replication and movement within AWS networks (potential cost advantage)

    To activate, you simply enable versioning on a bucket, enable cross-region replication, indicate source bucket (or prefix of objects in bucket), specify destination region and target bucket name (or create one), then create or select an IAM (Identify Access Management) role and objects should be replicated.

    • Some AWS S3 cross-region replication things to keep in mind (e.g. considerations):
    • As with other forms of mirroring and replication if you add something on one side it gets replicated to other side
    • As with other forms of mirroring and replication if you deleted something from the other side it can be deleted on both (be careful and do some testing)
    • Keep costs in perspective as you still need to pay for your S3 storage at both locations as well as applicable internal data transfer and GET fees
    • Click here to see current AWS S3 fees for various regions

    S3 Cross-region replication and alternative approaches

    There are several regions around the world and up until today AWS customers could copy, sync or replicate S3 bucket contents between AWS regions manually (or via automation) using various tools such as Cloudberry, Cyberduck, S3browser and S3motion to name just a few as well as via various gateways and other technologies. Some of those tools and technologies are open-source or free, some are freemium and some are premium for a few that also vary by interface (some with GUI, others with CLI or APIs) including ability to mount an S3 bucket as a local network drive and use tools to sync or copy.

    However a catch with the above mentioned tools (among others) and approaches is that to replicate your data (e.g. objects in a bucket) can involve other AWS S3 fees. For example reading data (e.g. a GET which has a fee) from one AWS region and then copying out to the internet has fees. Likewise when copying data into another AWS S3 region (e.g. a PUT which are free) there is also the cost of storage at the destination.

    AWS S3 cross-region hands on experience (first look)

    For my first hands on (first look) experience with AWS cross-region replication today I enabled a bucket in the US Standard region (e.g. Northern Virginia) and created a new target destination bucket in the EU Ireland. Setup and configuration was very quick, literally just a few minutes with most of the time spent reading the text on the new AWS S3 dashboard properties configuration displays.

    I selected an existing test bucket to replicate and noticed that nothing had replicated over to the other bucket until I realized that new objects would be replicated. Once some new objects were added to the source bucket within a matter of moments (e.g. few minutes) they appeared across the pond in my EU Ireland bucket. When I deleted those replicated objects from my EU Ireland bucket and switched back to my view of the source bucket in the US, those new objects were already deleted from the source. Yes, just like regular mirroring or replication, pay attention to how you have things configured (e.g. synchronized vs. contribute vs. echo of changes etc.).

    While I was not able to do a solid quantifiable performance test, simply based on some quick copies and my network speed moving via S3 cross-region replication was faster than using something like s3motion with my server in the middle.

    It also appears from some initial testing today that a benefit of AWS S3 cross-region replication (besides being bundled and part of AWS) is that some fees to pull data out of AWS and transfer out via the internet can be avoided.

    Where to learn more

    Here are some links to learn more about AWS S3 and related topics

    What this all means and wrap-up

    For those who are looking for a way to streamline replicating data (e.g. objects) from an AWS bucket in one region with a bucket in a different region you now have a new option. There are potential cost savings if that is your goal along with performance benefits in addition to using what ever might be working in your environment. Replicating objects provides a way of expanding your business continuance (BC), business resiliency (BR) and disaster recovery (DR) involving S3 across regions as well as a means for content cache or distribution among other possible uses.

    Overall, I like this ability for moving S3 objects within AWS, however I will continue to use other tools such as S3motion and s3sfs for moving data in and out of AWS as well as among other public cloud serves and local resources.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Independent Analyst and Advisory Consultant at Server StorageIO - www.storageio.com
    Consultant
    I like the new ability for moving S3 objects within AWS, however I will continue to use other tools for moving data in and out of AWS.
    Cloud Conversations: AWS S3 Cross Region Replication storage enhancements Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently among other enhancements announced new Simple Storage Service (S3) cross-region replication of objects from a bucket (e.g. container) in one region to a bucket in another region. AWS also recently enhanced Elastic Block Storage (EBS) increasing maximum performance and size of Provisioned IOPS (SSD) and General Purpose (SSD) volumes. EBS enhancements included ability to store up to 16 TBytes of data in a single volume and do 20,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS). Read more about EBS and other recent AWS server, storage I/O and application enhancements here. The Problem, Issue, Challenge, Opportunity and Need The challenge is being able to move data (e.g. objects)…

    Cloud Conversations: AWS S3 Cross Region Replication storage enhancements

    Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently among other enhancements announced new Simple Storage Service (S3) cross-region replication of objects from a bucket (e.g. container) in one region to a bucket in another region. AWS also recently enhanced Elastic Block Storage (EBS) increasing maximum performance and size of Provisioned IOPS (SSD) and General Purpose (SSD) volumes. EBS enhancements included ability to store up to 16 TBytes of data in a single volume and do 20,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS). Read more about EBS and other recent AWS server, storage I/O and application enhancements here.

    The Problem, Issue, Challenge, Opportunity and Need

    The challenge is being able to move data (e.g. objects) stored in AWS buckets in one region to another in a safe, secure, timely, automated, cost-effective way.

    Even though AWS has a global name-space, buckets and their objects (e.g. files, data, videos, images, bit and byte streams) are stored in a specific region designated by the customer or user (AWS S3, EBS, EC2, Glacier, Regions and Availability Zone primer can be found here).

    Understanding the challenge and designing a strategy

    The following diagram shows the challenge and how to copy or replicate objects in an S3 bucket in one region to a destination bucket in a different region. While objects can be copied or replicated without S3 cross-region replication, that involves essentially reading your objects pulling that data out via the internet and then writing to another place. The catch is that this can add extra costs, take time, consume network bandwidth and need extra tools (Cloudberry, Cyberduck, S3fuse, S3motion, S3browser, S3 tools (not AWS) and a long list of others).

    What is AWS S3 Cross-region replication

    Highlights of AWS S3 Cross-region replication include:

    • AWS S3 Cross region replication is as its name implies, replication of S3 objects from a bucket in one region to a destination bucket in another region.
    • S3 replication of new objects added to an existing or new bucket (note new objects get replicated)
    • Policy based replication tied into S3 versioning and life-cycle rules
    • Quick and easy to set up for use in a matter of minutes via S3 dashboard or other interfaces
    • Keeps region to region data replication and movement within AWS networks (potential cost advantage)

    To activate, you simply enable versioning on a bucket, enable cross-region replication, indicate source bucket (or prefix of objects in bucket), specify destination region and target bucket name (or create one), then create or select an IAM (Identify Access Management) role and objects should be replicated.

    • Some AWS S3 cross-region replication things to keep in mind (e.g. considerations):
    • As with other forms of mirroring and replication if you add something on one side it gets replicated to other side
    • As with other forms of mirroring and replication if you deleted something from the other side it can be deleted on both (be careful and do some testing)
    • Keep costs in perspective as you still need to pay for your S3 storage at both locations as well as applicable internal data transfer and GET fees
    • Click here to see current AWS S3 fees for various regions

    S3 Cross-region replication and alternative approaches

    There are several regions around the world and up until today AWS customers could copy, sync or replicate S3 bucket contents between AWS regions manually (or via automation) using various tools such as Cloudberry, Cyberduck, S3browser and S3motion to name just a few as well as via various gateways and other technologies. Some of those tools and technologies are open-source or free, some are freemium and some are premium for a few that also vary by interface (some with GUI, others with CLI or APIs) including ability to mount an S3 bucket as a local network drive and use tools to sync or copy.

    However a catch with the above mentioned tools (among others) and approaches is that to replicate your data (e.g. objects in a bucket) can involve other AWS S3 fees. For example reading data (e.g. a GET which has a fee) from one AWS region and then copying out to the internet has fees. Likewise when copying data into another AWS S3 region (e.g. a PUT which are free) there is also the cost of storage at the destination.

    AWS S3 cross-region hands on experience (first look)

    For my first hands on (first look) experience with AWS cross-region replication today I enabled a bucket in the US Standard region (e.g. Northern Virginia) and created a new target destination bucket in the EU Ireland. Setup and configuration was very quick, literally just a few minutes with most of the time spent reading the text on the new AWS S3 dashboard properties configuration displays.

    I selected an existing test bucket to replicate and noticed that nothing had replicated over to the other bucket until I realized that new objects would be replicated. Once some new objects were added to the source bucket within a matter of moments (e.g. few minutes) they appeared across the pond in my EU Ireland bucket. When I deleted those replicated objects from my EU Ireland bucket and switched back to my view of the source bucket in the US, those new objects were already deleted from the source. Yes, just like regular mirroring or replication, pay attention to how you have things configured (e.g. synchronized vs. contribute vs. echo of changes etc.).

    While I was not able to do a solid quantifiable performance test, simply based on some quick copies and my network speed moving via S3 cross-region replication was faster than using something like s3motion with my server in the middle.

    It also appears from some initial testing today that a benefit of AWS S3 cross-region replication (besides being bundled and part of AWS) is that some fees to pull data out of AWS and transfer out via the internet can be avoided.

    Where to learn more

    Here are some links to learn more about AWS S3 and related topics

    What this all means and wrap-up

    For those who are looking for a way to streamline replicating data (e.g. objects) from an AWS bucket in one region with a bucket in a different region you now have a new option. There are potential cost savings if that is your goal along with performance benefits in addition to using what ever might be working in your environment. Replicating objects provides a way of expanding your business continuance (BC), business resiliency (BR) and disaster recovery (DR) involving S3 across regions as well as a means for content cache or distribution among other possible uses.

    Overall, I like this ability for moving S3 objects within AWS, however I will continue to use other tools such as S3motion and s3sfs for moving data in and out of AWS as well as among other public cloud serves and local resources.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user189768
    Salesforce/Amazon/AWS Trainer at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    The product is simple and can be learned with online documentation.

    What is most valuable?

    EC2, EBS, Security, and RDS services are all good.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Currently I'm using the product for learning purposes.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have used if for over a year.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    No issues encountered.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No issues encountered.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Not yet.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service: Very nice. Technical Support: Very good.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Yes I used Microsoft Azure but it only provides a free trial for one month. This duration is not sufficient to learn cloud services. Hence I switched…

    What is most valuable?

    EC2, EBS, Security, and RDS services are all good.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Currently I'm using the product for learning purposes.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have used if for over a year.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    No issues encountered.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No issues encountered.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Not yet.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    Very nice.

    Technical Support:

    Very good.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Yes I used Microsoft Azure but it only provides a free trial for one month. This duration is not sufficient to learn cloud services. Hence I switched to AWS as Amazon provides AWS cloud as a free trial for one year. That is an ample amount of time to grasp the cloud concepts and gain hands-on experience.

    What about the implementation team?

    The product is simple and can be learned with online documentation.

    What was our ROI?

    Very convenient.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    CTO at a healthcare company with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    The technical support was a 7 on a scale of 1-10, but dynamic usage and flexibility.

    What is most valuable?

    Dynamic usage and flexibility in choosing configurations. Also the fact that Amazon’s security team is much larger than anything I could ever assemble gives me reliance that this run time environment is going to be more secure than anything I can deploy.

    How has it helped my organization?

    I needed to stand up a prototype server that did not conform to my corporate IT standards. By using AWS I was able to stand up my prototype in a few hours, run my demo and be done.

    What needs improvement?

    The connection between the billing console and the management console is not obvious so shutting down a machine was hard to find initially and resulted in excess billing.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using this solution for 5 years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    No issues with deployment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No issues with stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No issues with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service: Customer service was pretty good. It was responsive but it took 2-3 iterations on the billing/Management issue before they understood the problem I ran into.Technical Support: The technical support was a 7 on a scale of 1-20

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have used Amazon Elastic Beanstalk and Windows Azure. My primary choice to use AWS was because the prototype server stack was specified as an AMI (Amazon Machine Image).

    How was the initial setup?

    If you have not used AWS, its not as straightforward as it could be to choose what stack configuration a particular AMI requires before loading it. OTOH the “Amazon Web Service Pricing Calculator” is currently the gold standard for cloud vendors.

    What about the implementation team?

    We implemented in-house.

    What was our ROI?

    Not applicable, the ROI came from the agility to quickly standup the environment I needed.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Approximately $200/mo.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I have used Azure, and Horuko.

    What other advice do I have?

    Use the AWS pricing calculator to understand how the services fit together.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Senior Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Consultant
    Great platform to spin up servers in minutes; provides multiple tools for administrators; UI can be puzzling sometimes

    Valuable Features

    EBS, Availability Zones, VPC, Support for high I/O instances

    Customer Service and Technical Support

    Customer Service: Could be made much betterTechnical Support: Excellent

    Initial Setup

    Slightly complex because of the user interface which is not simple for first time users

    Valuable Features

    EBS, Availability Zones, VPC, Support for high I/O instances

    Customer Service and Technical Support

    Customer Service: Could be made much betterTechnical Support: Excellent

    Initial Setup

    Slightly complex because of the user interface which is not simple for first time users
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Architect at a consultancy with 501-1,000 employees
    Consultant
    We have been able to leverage the agility of Amazon to work faster. AWS's customer service is ridiculously good.

    What is most valuable?

    The features which are most valuable are EC2, S3, and the networking functionality. EC2 allows me to provision new servers in minutes. S3 allows me infinite, redundant, easily accessible storage. The networking functionality (VPC, Security Groups, subnets, etc) allow me to create robust networks that make sense. Availability Zones allow me to design systems that are resistant to failure.

    How has it helped my organization?

    One example is our devops people can provision new products and systems almost immediately. They have set up an instance of GitHub Enterprise which has become our "source of truth." We have created proofs-of-concept in hours to days to test and evaluate new products across the enterprise. We have been able to leverage the agility of AWS to work faster and, in some cases, "fail fast" so we can get on to the next thing, which works.

    What needs improvement?

    Probably customer education and awareness, especially in the Cyber Security area. Many people are mistrustful of public cloud offerings or misunderstand how things work. We'd like to use AWS a lot more for various workloads, but gaining approval to do the things we want to do is currently our biggest roadblock. This isn't necessarily AWS's fault, but hopefully they have the capacity to gain acceptance in the broader Cyber Security community.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using the product for two years.

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    Our main issues are learning how to deploy the most efficiently. We use Puppet and Jenkins to deploy. Other issues are employee awareness and training (which instance type to use, where to put things, which keys or security groups to use, etc).

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No more than expected number of stability issues. We have the occasional EBS volume go down but we expect that.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    None at all. AWS is infinitely scalable. Though on one occasion, our preferred instance type was not available in the Availability Zone we wanted it in.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service: AWS's customer service is ridiculously good. Back when I was admin of an account that only used a few hundred dollars a month, I got top-notch support from my account manager. He set up a couple of conference calls with Solution Architects with no hesitation. Now I preside over an account with significantly more usage, and the customer service remains great.Technical Support: AWS has some really smart people who can analyse my technical questions and give me a cogent, useful answer in short order. Their tech support is top-notch.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We have also use Terremark e-Cloud, but their cost and lack of features turned us off. I don't believe it was an either-or situation, though. We used both but are moving out of e-Cloud and are staying in AWS.

    How was the initial setup?

    I was not with my current agency during the initial set-up phase.

    What about the implementation team?

    The agency used a vendor team. I'm with that vendor team and I think we're pretty good, but I'm biased.

    What was our ROI?

    We don't calculate ROI, but AWS definitely helps us fulfull the agency's mission, which is how we measure things here.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I personally have evaluated Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Neither seemed as robust or mature as AWS.

    What other advice do I have?

    Jump right in and make liberal use of AWS' technical support. Even now, I see people hesitating to ask and trying to figure it out for themselves. AWS is always ready to help. It's both complicated and useful enough that it's very easy to build things in a suboptimal way if you don't think things through and follow their guidance. So get all your hands-on staff to take the training they offer and don't be shy about asking for help. The training is big.
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: AWS premier partner
    ITCS user
    Architect at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    Pay as you go is a plus but I would like to see better technical support without paying for AWS Premium Support
    Use Of Solution: 4 years. Valuable Features: (1) Self-service without upfront cost (2) Pay as you go & continual cost/price reduction  (3) Pervasive service offerings with continual improvement Improvements To Organization: We were developing a sync-and-share cloud service + mobile/desktop application for multimedia products at that time (2009). It saved lots of development & testing efforts compared to traditional IT process. As you know, multimedia files take tons of storage space, IaaS's pay as you go and no upfront cost was a major deciding factor to develop that project/product. Room For Improvement: (1) ELB stress testing is problematic for us at that time. (2) Better technical support for those without paying AWS Premium Support. Stability Issues: I have the vague impression that…

    Use Of Solution:

    4 years.

    Valuable Features:

    (1) Self-service without upfront cost

    (2) Pay as you go & continual cost/price reduction 

    (3) Pervasive service offerings with continual improvement

    Improvements To Organization:

    We were developing a sync-and-share cloud service + mobile/desktop application for multimedia products at that time (2009). It saved lots of development & testing efforts compared to traditional IT process. As you know, multimedia files take tons of storage space, IaaS's pay as you go and no upfront cost was a major deciding factor to develop that project/product.

    Room For Improvement:

    (1) ELB stress testing is problematic for us at that time.

    (2) Better technical support for those without paying AWS Premium Support.

    Stability Issues:

    I have the vague impression that we did run into some issues, but I don't remember the context.

    Customer Service:

    3.5 out of 5.

    Technical Support:

    3.5 out of 5. We didn't purchase/subscribe AWS Premium Support at that time, so we got very limited technical support from AWS forum, and AWS technical staff in Singapore. As AWS's expanded into different geographic regions with local team support, expect it should be better now.

    Initial Setup:

    Relatively straightforward, but would be more complex when taking security into consideration.

    Implementation Team:

    In-house.

    Alternate Solutions:

    Different projects have different business goals and requirements (business & technical). We evaluated different vendors' service offerings for different projects/products. For instance, the aforementioned multimedia sync-and-share project was built on top of AWS. We also built a device firmware update service and a connection management service on top of AWS. However, for another online video editing, social-driven free cloud service, we built it on top of GAE instead.

    Other Advice:

    As mentioned in previous answer, different projects have different functional and non-functional requirements. All perspectives from operation, management, and development should be evaluated for cloud service platforms.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Independent Analyst and Advisory Consultant at Server StorageIO - www.storageio.com
    Consultant
    Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the NetFlix Fix?
    I received the following note from Amazon Web Services (AWS) about an enhancement to their Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service that can be seen by some as an enhancement to service or perhaps by others after last weeks outages, a fix or addressing a gap in their services. Note for those not aware, you can view current AWS service status portal here. The following is the note I received from AWS. Announcing Multiple IP Addresses for Amazon EC2 Instances in Amazon VPC Dear Amazon EC2 Customer, We are excited to introduce multiple IP addresses for Amazon EC2 instances in Amazon VPC. Instances in a VPC can be assigned one or more private IP addresses, each of which can be associated with its own Elastic IP address. With this feature you can host multiple websites, including SSL…

    I received the following note from Amazon Web Services (AWS) about an enhancement to their Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service that can be seen by some as an enhancement to service or perhaps by others after last weeks outages, a fix or addressing a gap in their services. Note for those not aware, you can view current AWS service status portal here.

    The following is the note I received from AWS.

    Announcing Multiple IP Addresses for Amazon EC2 Instances in Amazon VPC
    Dear Amazon EC2 Customer,

    We are excited to introduce multiple IP addresses for Amazon EC2 instances in Amazon VPC. Instances in a VPC can be assigned one or more private IP addresses, each of which can be associated with its own Elastic IP address. With this feature you can host multiple websites, including SSL websites and certificates, on a single instance where each site has its own IP address. Private IP addresses and their associated Elastic IP addresses can be moved to other network interfaces or instances, assisting with application portability across instances.

    The number of IP addresses that you can assign varies by instance type. Small instances can accommodate up to 8 IP addresses (across 2 elastic network interfaces) whereas High-Memory Quadruple Extra Large and Cluster Computer Eight Extra Large instances can be assigned up to 240 IP addresses (across 8 elastic network interfaces). For more information about IP address and elastic network interface limits, go to Instance Families and Types in the Amazon EC2 User Guide.

    You can have one Elastic IP (EIP) address associated with a running instance at no charge. If you associate additional EIPs with that instance, you will be charged $0.005/hour for each additional EIP associated with that instance per hour on a pro rata basis.

    With this release we are also lowering the charge for EIP addresses not associated with running instances, from $0.01 per hour to $0.005 per hour on a pro rata basis. This price reduction is applicable to EIP addresses in both Amazon EC2 and Amazon VPC and will be applied to EIP charges incurred since July 1, 2012.
    To learn more about multiple IP addresses, visit the Amazon VPC User Guide. For more information about pricing for additional Elastic IP addresses on an instance, please see Amazon EC2 Pricing.
    Sincerely,

    The Amazon EC2 Team

    We hope you enjoyed receiving this message. If you wish to remove yourself from receiving future product announcements and the monthly AWS Newsletter, please update your communication preferences.

    Amazon Web Services LLC is a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. Amazon.com is a registered trademark of Amazon.com, Inc. This message produced and distributed by Amazon Web Services, LLC, 410 Terry Ave. North, Seattle, WA 98109-5210.

    End of AWS message

    Either way you look at it, AWS (disclosure I’m a paying EC2 and S3 customer) is taking responsibility on their part to do what is needed to enable a resilient, flexible, scalable data infrastructure. What I mean by that is that protecting data and access to it in cloud environments is a shared responsibility including discussing what went wrong, how to fix and prevent it, as well as communicating best practices. That is both the provider or service along with those who are using those capabilities have to take some ownership and responsibility on how they get used.

    For example, last week a major thunderstorms rolled across the U.S. causing large-scale power outages along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. and in particular in the Virginia area where one of Amazons availability zones (US East-1) has data centers located. Keep in mind that Amazon availability zones are made up of a collection of different physical data centers to cut or decrease chances of a single point of failure. However on June 30, 2012 during the major storms on the East coast of the U.S. something did go wrong, and as is usually the case, a chain of events resulted in or near a disaster (you can read the AWS post-mortem here).

    The result is that AWS based out of the Virginia availability zone were knocked off line for a period which impacted EC2, Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Relational Database Service (RDS) and Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) capabilities for that zone. This is not the first time that the Virginia availability zone has been affected having met a disruption about a year ago. What was different about this most recent outage is that a year ago one of the marquee AWS customers NetFlix was not affected during that outage due to how they use multiple availability zones for HA. In last weeks AWS outage NetFlix customers or services were affected however not due to loss of data or systems, rather, loss of access (which to a user or consumer is the same thing). The loss of access was due to failure of elastic load balancing not being able to allow users access to other availability zones.

    Consequently, if you choose to read between the lines on the above email note I received from AWS, you can either look at the new service capabilities as an enhancement, or AWS learning and improving their capabilities. Also reading between the lines you can see how some environments such as NetFlix take responsibility in how they use cloud services designing for availability, resiliency and scale with stability as opposed to simply using as a cost cutting tool.

    Thus when both the provider and consumer take some responsibility for ensuring data protection and accessibility to services, there is less of a chance of service disruptions. Likewise when both parties learn from incidents or mistakes or leverage experiences, it makes for a more robust solution on a go forward basis. For those who have been around the block (or file) a few times thinking that clouds are not reliable or still immature you may have a point however think back to when your favorite or preferred platform (e.g. Mainframe, Mini, PC, client-server, iProduct, Web or other) initially appeared and teething problems or associated headaches.

    IMHO AWS along with other vendors or service providers who take responsibility to publish post-mortem’s of incidents, find and fix issues, address and enhance capabilities is part of the solution for laying the groundwork for the future vs. simply playing to a near term trend theme. Likewise vendors and service providers who are reaching out and helping to educate and get their customers to take some responsibility in how they can use services for removing complexity (and cost) to enhance services as opposed to simply cutting cost and introducing risk will do better over the long run.

    As I discuss in my book Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), do not be scared of clouds, however be ready, do your homework, learn and understand what needs to be done or done differently. This means taking a shared responsibility one that the service provider should also be taking with you not to mention identifying new best practices, tools to be used along with conducting proof of concepts (POCs) to learn what to do and what not to do.

    [To view all of the links mentioned in this post, go to: http://storageioblog.com/amazon-web-services-aws-and-the-netflix-fix/ ]

    Some updates:

    http://storageioblog.com/november-2013-server-storageio-update-newsletter/

    http://storageioblog.com/fall-2013-aws-cloud-storage-compute-enhancements/

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    CTO at a tech company with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    Great for experimenting with different setups and rolling out solutions effectively but monitoring could be better

    What is most valuable?

    All of them in different scenarios, hard to tell.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Yes. It allows us to cheaply experiment with lots of different setups, evaluate prices and business ROI, and rollout solutions effectively.

    What needs improvement?

    Monitoring could be better IMHO. We currently hack together an extra monitoring piece into the puzzle for each project.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Since 2008

    What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

    When the service started it had a few issues, it kept improving drastically.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Not in the past couple of years.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Not in the past couple of years.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service: Excellent.Technical Support: Excellent.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We used sporadic in-house machines, hosted services with different vendors. Reliability and ease of use were key.

    How was the initial setup?

    There was a learning curve, starting to work with the service, too many 3 letters in the lingo. Courses and training and books and a podcast really help.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Different cost analysis of hosted services and co-locations.

    What other advice do I have?

    Take it slow, there is a learning curve, but you get a return on your time for every hour you invest in learning to use this service.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user79794
    Database Expert with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    Migrating to Amazon RDS
    Having used AWS for a few years, there are numerous ways to get "your data" to the cloud. Usually the simplest is export/import (bias towards Oracle), but this process is usually slow when you start moving large data sets. There is the RMAN backup/recovery manager but this requires you to have the same instance version in the cloud - not good if you want to upgrade at the same time. Datapump is also available and is very useful as you can do Network data Pumps across database links - but again this can sometimes be slow. I then looked into using Amazon's Advanced Data Migration Techniques (published Nov 13 2013) and decided to give it a go and have posted my walk through below (quite technical): http://www.connecteddba.com/howto/MigratetoRDS.htm... This was done from a local "data center"…

    Having used AWS for a few years, there are numerous ways to get "your data" to the cloud. Usually the simplest is export/import (bias towards Oracle), but this process is usually slow when you start moving large data sets. There is the RMAN backup/recovery manager but this requires you to have the same instance version in the cloud - not good if you want to upgrade at the same time. Datapump is also available and is very useful as you can do Network data Pumps across database links - but again this can sometimes be slow.

    I then looked into using Amazon's Advanced Data Migration Techniques (published Nov 13 2013) and decided to give it a go and have posted my walk through below (quite technical):

    http://www.connecteddba.com/howto/MigratetoRDS.htm...

    This was done from a local "data center" 100GB database, exported using datapump, copied to a M1.Xlarge EC2 in cloud and then copied further to the backend DATA_PUMP_DIR on the RDS instance (which you don't have access to). Then a datapump import into the RDS and job done - took me approx 12 hours in total (and that wasn't using Tsunami).

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user8934
    Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    Google Compute Engine vs Amazon EC2
    I have been using Amazon EC2 for quite some time now and I absolutely like it. They may not be the cheapest cloud-provider and they still have some things missing, like IPv6. But they are very flexible and offer a lot of features to make it easy scaling up and down when needed. I finally took some time to enroll myself into the Google Cloud. Looking at the Compute Engine it is just like EC2 with all the same bells, whistles and terminology. The only difference I see is the amount of available images that is almost endless on Amazon and only 2 Linux distributions at Google. I am not in need of Windows images, but they seem like a big miss on Google. Pricing structure is also the same, although Amazon has a free tier for 1 year which allows you to try before you buy. Another advantage…
    I have been using Amazon EC2 for quite some time now and I absolutely like it. They may not be the cheapest cloud-provider and they still have some things missing, like IPv6. But they are very flexible and offer a lot of features to make it easy scaling up and down when needed. I finally took some time to enroll myself into the Google Cloud. Looking at the Compute Engine it is just like EC2 with all the same bells, whistles and terminology. The only difference I see is the amount of available images that is almost endless on Amazon and only 2 Linux distributions at Google. I am not in need of Windows images, but they seem like a big miss on Google. Pricing structure is also the same, although Amazon has a free tier for 1 year which allows you to try before you buy. Another advantage in the Amazon pricing is the ability to pay upfront and get a discount on the hourly pricing. This quick comparison does not make me want to fire up one Google instance, even for trying. Please let me know if I am missing on features that could differentiate Google Compute Engine from AWS. I might want to come back and try again.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user8928
    Owner at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    Amazon EC2 monthly price tables for SaaS-relevant configurations, in euros
    EC2 is Amazon’s cloud service for flexible use of virtual machines. One of the big advantages of this service is that Amazon’s hourly prices also include the cost for the Windows and/or SQL Server license. Amazon has just announced lower prices for Windows EC2 instances. It’s not always easy to calculate total monthly costs for various configurations, so in this post I will try to give an indication of montly costs for configurations that would be relevant for SaaS applications with 1,000 – 50,000 customers. Note: In the monthly prices below I have incorporated the upfront costs for 1- and 3-year contracts in the monthly prices (spread out over the full term). All prices are calculated for the EU region (Ireland). Windows web server. No additional storage. Configuration…

    EC2 is Amazon’s cloud service for flexible use of virtual machines. One of the big advantages of this service is that Amazon’s hourly prices also include the cost for the Windows and/or SQL Server license. Amazon has just announced lower prices for Windows EC2 instances.

    It’s not always easy to calculate total monthly costs for various configurations, so in this post I will try to give an indication of montly costs for configurations that would be relevant for SaaS applications with 1,000 – 50,000 customers.
    Note: In the monthly prices below I have incorporated the upfront costs for 1- and 3-year contracts in the monthly prices (spread out over the full term).
    All prices are calculated for the EU region (Ireland).

    Windows web server. No additional storage.

    Configuration Resources On-demand (hourly) p/m 1-year term p/m 3-year term p/m
    M1 large instance 2 cores, 7.6 GB memory €200 €131 €99
    M1 extra large instance 4 cores, 15 GB memory €400 €262 €198
    M3 double extra large instance 8 “second-generation” cores, 30 GB memory €859 €554 €419

    Traffic out (to the internet) is an additional €92 per TB.

    Load-balanced high-activity Windows web server.

    Amazon Elastic Load Balancer
    3 M3 double extra large EC2 instance on 3-year terms
    5 TB of internet traffic per month
    Total cost per month = €1763

    Database server, EC2 instance with Windows server 2008/2012 and SQL Server Web Edition 2008/2012.

    Prices below include 1TB of database storage on EBS (Elastic Block Storage, Amazon’s virtual drives). For instances without guaranteed I/O I have included 500 million I/O requests per months. Upfront costs have been spread over the months of the term.

    Configuration Resources Guaranteed I/O On-demand (hourly) p/m 1-year term p/m 3-year term p/m
    High-memory extra-large instance 2 cores, 17 GB memory (no guaranteed I/O) €463 €292 €249
    High-memory double extra-large instance 4 cores, 34 GB memory 500 Mbps €798 €467 €384
    High-memory quadruple extra-large instance 8 cores, 68 GB memory 1000 Mbps €1491 €829 €666

    Note that you would also need additional storage for database backups, which could add €100-500 per month, depending on backup methods and backup retention.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user8364
    Partner at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    AWS: What are the key Amazon Web Services components?
    Over the last couple of years, the popularity of the “cloud computing” has grown dramatically and along with it so has the dominance of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the market. Unfortunately, AWS doesn’t do a great job of explaining exactly what AWS is, how its pieces work together, or what typical use cases for its components may be. This post is an effort to address this by providing a whip around overview of the key AWS components and how they can be effectively used. Great, so what is AWS? Generally speaking, Amazon Web Services is a loosely coupled collection of “cloud” infrastructure services that allows customers to “rent” computing resources. What this means is that using AWS, you as the client are able to flexibly provision various computing resources on a “pay as you go”…

    Over the last couple of years, the popularity of the “cloud computing” has grown dramatically and along with it so has the dominance of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the market. Unfortunately, AWS doesn’t do a great job of explaining exactly what AWS is, how its pieces work together, or what typical use cases for its components may be. This post is an effort to address this by providing a whip around overview of the key AWS components and how they can be effectively used.

    Great, so what is AWS? Generally speaking, Amazon Web Services is a loosely coupled collection of “cloud” infrastructure services that allows customers to “rent” computing resources. What this means is that using AWS, you as the client are able to flexibly provision various computing resources on a “pay as you go” pricing model. Expecting a huge traffic spike? AWS has you covered. Need to flexibly store between 1 GB or 100 GB of photos? AWS has you covered. Additionally, each of the components that makes up AWS is generally loosely coupled meaning that they can work independently or in concert with other AWS resources.

    Keep reading

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user6696
    Director of IT at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    Great platform, but needs a lot of attention.

    Valuable Features:

    Comprehensive Cloud platform offering, with a huge ecosystem of ISV partners, great selection of pre-built images, and much more!! Pricing cannot be beat, and new features and reduction in price are always in the works.

    Room for Improvement:

    It is a highly complex product, and requires training and familiarization before use.

    Other Advice:

    To optimally use this product, invest in training and development projects initially.

    Valuable Features:

    Comprehensive Cloud platform offering, with a huge ecosystem of ISV partners, great selection of pre-built images, and much more!! Pricing cannot be beat, and new features and reduction in price are always in the works.

    Room for Improvement:

    It is a highly complex product, and requires training and familiarization before use.

    Other Advice:

    To optimally use this product, invest in training and development projects initially.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    ITCS user
    Technical Architect at a tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    MSP
    Great way to enter into the cloud. Disk performance is generally the issue.
    great way to enter into the cloud. disk performance is generally the issue.

    great way to enter into the cloud. disk performance is generally the issue.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user1158
    Developer at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    A bit pricey cloud service, but with good features, and worth the money.

    Valuable Features:

    - Amazon Web Services offer a very low pricing option based on usage, with no up-front payment. - Amazon Web Services can be used as a Content delivery network, as Amazon has multiple data hosting centers spread across the globe. - Amazon Web Services is a highly secure durable technology platform, for hosting all your applications over the cloud. The AWS storage facility is very scalable and grows and shrinks as per your needs. You only pay for the exact usage and not more. - AWS is a not dependent on any programming language or any kind of operating system platform. You are free to choose the development platform or programming model that is suitable for your application and business. You can also decide what services you want to use and how to use them. This takes the burden of focusing on infrastructure off your shoulders. - There’s less IT infrastructure staff to manage.

    Room for Improvement:

    - Though not very often, Amazon services are known to go down once in a while. If you are running highly intensive businesses off Amazon, you might end up losing a big chunk of your revenue due to AWS break downs. You might have to think of alternative backup options as well. - The other thing to keep in mind is the cost factor. Though the prices are not sky high, if you are a startup then you have to answer the big question: Is cloud comparatively a cheaper option or is it more expensive? - Initial learning curve, sometimes takes a bit of time and deters quite a lot of people from doing their business with AWS, so make sure you spend sometime to ramp up with AWS.

    Other Advice:

    A good cloud service that takes care of all the back end infrastructure management and administration work off your hands. The pay-as-you-go option is very suitable for most of the organizations. Prices are a bit higher when compared to hosting your service over your own hardware. However, you get the benefits of having your application over a cloud. The auto-scale feature is something worth the money, as you don't have to worry about deploying more servers when there is a high demand during peak times.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user1065
    Senior Manager of Data Center at a integrator with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    Amazon AWS is till dat,e the best IaaS providers on compute, storage, and availability platform

    Valuable Features:

    Few things I admire about this whole AWS service by Amazon are 1) Provides persistent block storage volumes 2) Excellent load balancing features for servers 3) Excellent support on all types of relational databases, for example Oracle etc. 4) Awesome repository of operating systems from Ubuntu, Slackware, Microsoft Servers etc. 5) The virtual private cloud feature is an amazing add on for the service

    Room for Improvement:

    Few cons of the AWS platform are- 1) Lack of .NET support 2) A bit costlier than Microsoft Azure based on computer per hour and outbound bandwidth. 3) Unavailability of middleware caching, integration and identity management.

    Other Advice:

    One of the first and extremely professional services launched for the cloud platform is the advent of Amazon AWS. The bundle of services provided by them such as CloudFront, CloudWatch, EC2, Simple Storage service etc undoubtedly cover all the aspects needed by the developers and system administrators to match infrastructure and scalability issues for the growing demands.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user897
    CSO at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    Easy, flexible, high-quality

    Valuable Features:

    Quick to set up, dynamic pricing, very good support.

    Room for Improvement:

    Pricy for dedicated servers. The base package for fast bandwidth was more than I anticipated paying.

    Other Advice:

    They have a package where you pay an upfront cost and get locked in for a year, but the monthly cost (or per-hour cost) is much lower. Try this out if you know you'll be with them for at least a year.

    Valuable Features:

    Quick to set up, dynamic pricing, very good support.

    Room for Improvement:

    Pricy for dedicated servers. The base package for fast bandwidth was more than I anticipated paying.

    Other Advice:

    They have a package where you pay an upfront cost and get locked in for a year, but the monthly cost (or per-hour cost) is much lower. Try this out if you know you'll be with them for at least a year.
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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