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Amazon Web Services launches free service to get startups on the cloud

Archana Venkatraman

Public cloud provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched AWS Activate, a set of resources to help startup customers get onto the cloud.

Cloud computing allows startups to go beyond the restricted resources offered by traditional IT services and use on-demand, pay-as-you-go services that can be adjusted as needed, allowing them to grow and innovate.

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“Infrastructure is no longer a bottleneck to innovation,” said AWS CTO Werner Vogels on the company blog.

UK cloud computing entrepreneur Piers Linney had also previously said that cloud is a “great leveler”.

“You don’t have to be a giant enterprise with a huge IT budget to use cloud computing services. Many UK SMEs are using the exact same cloud technologies as those used by FTSE 100 companies,” Linney  told Computer Weekly.

Such democratisation of IT means that an internet startup has access to the same computer power as Amazon.com, the same durability as Dropbox, the same scalability as Airbnb and the same global footprint as Netflix, he said.

“The result is we’re beginning to see more and more startups grow up in more places. The challenge now is to support and assist them,” he added.

To help new enterprises use web services to build scalable sophisticated applications, AWS has launched the programme.

AWS Activate is available in two packages – a Self-Starter package, which any startup can apply for, and a Portfolio package, which is for startups in select accelerator, incubator, venture capital seed funds or entrepreneur organisations.

Each package includes varied levels of resources to help fit customers’ needs and give them a platform to interact and learn from those already building apps on AWS.

The Self-Starter AWS Activate package provides users with features such as one-year’s free access to AWS services, one month’s developer-level AWS support, web-based training, forums and access to offers and discounts from third-party AWS service providers. Meanwhile, the Portfolio package offers business-level support for one year and AWS Credits, which can be redeemed against fees for AWS services such as EC2, S3, RDS, CloudFront, DynamoDB, EMR, Redshift, and Glacier.

“As a technology startup operating in the cloud, we’re constantly looking to improve our server platform from cost efficiencies to performance and scalability. AWS Activate is great for finding technical resources, getting professional support and connecting with a broad community of developers to get the most out of our cloud computing environment,” said Eric Feng, CTO of startup firm Flipboard.

Another startup, Mailbox, wanted a scalable yet affordable infrastructure to support its collaboration applications. The company’s lead engineer, Sean Beausoleil, hopes that the new service will help it use AWS resources for free to build email apps on the cloud.

“AWS Activate also allows startups to leverage the unique and robust ecosystem that has grown around AWS, both in terms of the developer community and third-party software vendors,” Vogels added.


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