Amazon has extended its Elastic Cloud Computing service (EC2) to enable IT departments to link their own datacentres with virtual servers running in the cloud.
The Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) service lets users create their own logically isolated set of Amazon EC2 virtual machine instances which can connect to the corporate network using an IPsec virtual private network (VPN) connection.
"This new offering lets you take advantage of the low cost and flexibility of AWS while leveraging the investment you have already made in your IT infrastructure," Amazon said on its EC2 blog site.
Amazon said its VPC service enables virtual machines to be accessible from a business' corporate network, which means they can access or be accessed by other systems on the network as if they were local.
One commentator on the Amazon blog noted that the service could blur lines of responsibility between internal IT, internet service providers and Amazon.
"There's a nasty problem with this kind of configuration: when the internet route between the cloud and the in-house network is disrupted, nobody is responsible. Neither Amazon nor one's ISP will typically be willing (or able) to do anything to help. For this reason, we found that in practice it's necessary to keep the interface between cloud and in-house network to a minimum and ensure that temporary disruption in communication between the two doesn't cause a loss of service to our customers. This unfortunately makes the configuration pictured here of limited use in practice, unless this new offering somehow gets around the problem."