Category Archives: Amazon Web Service

Amazon AWS Moving ‘Up the Stack’ to Applications

Amazon Web Services has entered the applications end of the cloud world with several recent releases:

  • Log monitoring and admin with Logs for CloudWatch
  • Collaboration and file sharing with Zocalo
  • Mobile application development with Cognito, Mobile Analytics and a new Mobile SDK

Logs for Cloudwatch works with the AWS CloudWatch network monitoring console to collect log file activities which can then be stored and analyzed in AWS Kinesis. The new tool automatically moves logs from instances and aggregates them into a central service where exceptions can be set directly on those applications.

Third-party products already that, and companies like Splunk, Logentries, and New Relic , which launched its new Insights real-time analytics tool just hours before the AWS news, will all be watching this very carefully (probably also very nervously).

The new AWS Zocalo collaboration/file-sharing plans are further proof that Amazon knows it must be a broad platform player to compete against two mega platform rivals – Google and Microsoft, as well as two younger, well-funded but more limited contenders in Dropbox and Box. Zocalo thus targets Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, which are part of a much bigger portfolio of end-user products at those companies.

Cloud Mystery: What’s the Tech Secret Behind Amazon Glacier?

ITProPortal has a good writeup on Amazon Glacier technology: tape? cheap disks they power down? It’s more than just a post filled with wild speculation because it includes informed reasoning on the current state of the art for each of the candidate technologies behind Glacier:

…of all the services offered by AWS, none have fuelled the same level of speculation and interest as Amazon’s Glacier. Though the service is well-known and widely-used in enterprise, no one knows exactly what’s behind it.

Amazon has retained a thick veil of secrecy around its most mysterious web service. The Seattle-based company has always kept the processes behind its services fairly quiet, but the omerta surrounding Glacier has been especially strict, leaving experts in the tech community perplexed about what Amazon could be hiding.

TL;DR: It might be old-fashioned robot tape libraries; it might be cheap disks they fill up then turn off until they need them for retrieval; it might be some clever hybrid of the two.

Read the article.

Newvem Launches New Tool to Help Amazon Web Services Customers Make Sense of Reserved Instances


Image representing Amazon Web Services as depi...

Newvem has launched a new tool as part of its KnowYourCloud Analytics web application. Newvem’s new Reserved Instances Decision Tool helps Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers make the right decision on exactly which On-Demand Instances should be moved to Reserved Instances. With KnowYourCloud Analytics, AWS users have insight into their cloud usage patterns and can now easily determine – based on flexibility, availability and cost considerations – whether a long-term commitment to Reserved Instances is the right decision for their business.

To keep ahead of competitors and give customers more value, Amazon is promoting Reserved Instances, which, compared to On-Demand Instances – the popular pay-as-you-go model that AWS is known for, offer even more cost savings and assured capacity availability. Reserved Instances require long-term commitments to Amazon with contracts ranging from one to three years. The problem is that moving to Reserved Instances is an extremely complex decision for IT and finance managers, who must weigh the tradeoffs between costs and utilization over time and between flexibility and a long-term commitment.

“Newvem’s KnowYourCloud Analytics is like Google Analytics for cloud computing,” said Zev Laderman, Newvem’s co-founder and CEO. “It scans AWS usage patterns and lets AWS users know if they can benefit from Reserved Instances, indicates which parts of their cloud would benefit the most, and offers recommendations on how to execute the move.”

AWS Outage Postmortum: “the generators did not pick up the load”

Amazon has provided their take on how the big derecho storm that hit the Eastern US (and still leaves millions without power during a heat wave) brought down one of their data centers. Basically it was “hardware failure” — in this case a couple of emergency generators.

In the single datacenter that did not successfully transfer to the generator backup, all servers continued to operate normally on Uninterruptable Power Supply (“UPS”) power. As onsite personnel worked to stabilize the primary and backup power generators, the UPS systems were depleting and servers began losing power at 8:04pm PDT.

Read the AWS statement for more detail.

AWS Power-related Outage in Older Data Center Ends, Once Again Hits Single Center Customers

From the AWS Service Health Dashboard:

9:32 AM PDT Connectivity has been restored to the affected subset of EC2 instances and EBS volumes in the single Availability Zone in the US-EAST-1 region. New instance launches are completing normally. Some of the affected EBS volumes are still re-mirroring causing increased IO latency for those volumes.

As happened earlier this month the failure was apparently triggered by power systems failures. The US-EAST-1 data center in Virginia is Amazon’s oldest.

As in the past, the outage hurt customers relying on a single center.

Related articles

Appcara Debuts Its AppStack Release 2 Platform, A Dynamic Application Layer Above the Cloud

Appcara, maker of cloud application lifecycle solutions, announced a major new version of its AppStack application and portability platform that helps enterprises and service providers accelerate complex applications into the cloud and deliver new application-based revenue sources. Incorporating a real time Dynamic Application Environment layer that eliminates the need for server templates or scripting, AppStack Release 2 changes the rules of cloud computing. With AppStack 2, enterprises and service providers gain exceptionally fast time-to-market for key business applications – maximizing time, knowledge and profitability.

While cloud deployments are common for simple web apps, the $385 billion enterprise application market remains the province of on-premises data centers, in large part because IT staffs lack the tools required to truly govern VMware, Citrix, or other private and hybrid applications running on Amazon Web Services, Citrix CloudStack or VMware vCloud. While cloud app management solutions exist, they require deep technical knowledge of application stacks, and a lot of manual, error-prone effort to use.

AppStack provides an advanced application layer above public and private clouds – to capture application components, configurations and dependencies in real-time in the industry’s only dynamic Configuration Repository – thereby automating all aspects of the application lifecycle. By decoupling apps from low-level dependencies such as operating systems and machine images into its uniquely visual, intuitive, real time environment, AppStack 2 enables total application portability, even across different public clouds – for instance, from Amazon to Rackspace – as well as from public to private clouds. AppStack allows cloud computing to expand beyond simple, predefined workloads, and into the realm of serious enterprise applications – with a single pane of glass management interface, and eliminating vendor lock-in.

“For a long time enterprises have been seeking to leverage cloud environments for more complex business applications and take advantage of the flexibility, faster time to market and markedly lower cost structures delivered by the cloud. AppStack’s ability to capture and assemble these application graphically, in real-time, is something that’s businesses can truly leverage for improved efficiency and faster time to market,” said William Fellows, analyst at 451 Research.

A major new capability in AppStack 2 is the App Marketplace functionality that connects application publishers and consumers and provides a platform to enable usage-based applications, so that:

  • Corporations have immediate access to business applications, enabling
    them to integrate applications without the need to purchase, install &
    configure apps as with packaged software.
  • ISV’s can readily publish business applications for usage-based
  • Distributors can resell applications in a usage-based model in the
    cloud, and to move away from traditional box-based software sales.

“Many of our clients come from the Life Sciences industry where they have very sophisticated, mission critical applications running on their servers. Making a move to the cloud wasn’t an option worth considering until the AppStack solution came along,” said Tim Caulfield, chief executive officer at American Internet Services (AIS). “The idea that AppStack can do the heavy lifting on the back-end and provide the user with a very clean, single-pane-of-glass interface, is quite appealing and fits nicely with our BusinessCloud1 offering.”

AppStack 2 builds upon existing AppStack patent-pending components that have been in use by service providers and enterprise customers, including:

  • Dynamic Application Engine – which
    captures user-defined app environments, settings and relationships in
    real-time, construct data models and insert into Configuration
    Repository. It automates provisioning, lifecycle management, and
  • Configuration Repository – which stores
    application settings, dependencies and change records for all
    application workloads. This enables speedy provisioning of application
    workloads as well as the ability to de-couple lower level components
    such as operating systems for portability across cloud vendors.
  • Cloud Target Optimizer – which maps
    provisioning elements and instructions to vendor specific API’s and
    available capabilities.

“Enterprises need to get critical apps to market with the least effort and cost possible, and the solutions on the market today help with only simple, static environments,” said John Yung, founder and CEO of Appcara. “AppStack keeps it simple, fast, and visual to deploy and manage even complex applications in the cloud, so customers and service providers can lower their IT costs – even with enterprise applications – and focus on scaling their business.”

AppStack Release 2 will ship in July 2012. Appcara is showcasing its latest version of AppStack at Cloud Computing Expo New York, in its booth #257.