RealTime IT News

Amazon Creates More Cloud Control

Competitors for some time have sought to provide tools like monitoring and management on top of Amazon's EC2 cloud computing service. Now, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is getting into the game itself with cloud monitoring, load balancing, and automatic scaling for its EC2 cloud service.

"These features will help our customers to monitor their Amazon EC2 Instances, automatically scale them up and down based on the monitoring data, and to efficiently distribute requests to their applications over the different instances even if they are running in different Availability Zones," Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said in a blog post.

The new offering, Amazon CloudWatch, "provides customers with visibility into resource utilization, operational performance, and overall demand patterns -- including metrics such as CPU utilization, disk reads and writes, and network traffic," the company said on the CloudWatch site.

CloudWatch costs 1.5 cents per hour per virtual instance monitored.

Amazon also announced a number of other features today designed to help make CloudWatch more competitive. Auto Scaling comes free with CloudWatch and provides access to more cloud resources as an application demands it.

The feature allows users to set the maximum or minimum number of instances that an application can use and is designed to deliver reliability.

Along with reliability, users want failover, which is delivered by Elastic Load Balancing. Failover helps users de-prioritize "unhealthy instances" of applications and can work with Auto Scaling to increase or decrease the total number of applications that are running. It costs 2.5 cents per hour for each load balancer that's running, plus 0.8 cents for GB of transfer.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) users will also benefit from these services, the company said in a a blog post.

"You want to focus on building an application that takes advantage of the powerful infrastructure available in the cloud, while avoiding system administration and operational burdens ('The Muck,' as Jeff Bezos once called it). Today, we are bringing you a lot closer to that world," the company said.

The releases will be seen as a strike against the third parties already providing similar functionality for EC2. For instance, CloudWatch offers much of what vendors like Tap In Systems were already providing to EC2 customers.

As a result, the launch marks an example of the cutthroat competition between large and small cloud service providers that industry observers expect to see in the future.

Still, one service provider claims to be unworried.

"At a feature level, what they've introduced ... overlaps more with what RightScale provides than most other parts of their offering, but if you take a closer look you will realize that Amazon does focus on providing an array of infrastructure services while we layer an integrated solution on top of their offering and in addition embrace other cloud providers as well," RightScale founder Thorsten von Eiken wrote in his company blog.