More security, high-availability and gov-cloud are on AWS users’ wish list

Better security, ease of use, added availability as well as G-cloud features could make AWS cloud more appealing

Enterprise users of public cloud welcomed Amazon Web Services’ new products and price reductions, but said that additional features such as better security, ease of use and added multiple-availability to overcome outages issues could make cloud services more valuable to them.

At its user conference, re: Invent, AWS launched data warehousing service Redshift, cut Simple Storage Services (S3) prices by 25% and launched big data analytics product Data Pipeline.

Users welcomed the S3 price cuts and the petabyte-scalable data warehouse service for its speed, flexibility and scalability.

According to one New York based financial services professional using Amazon cloud, Redshift can be a data warehouse disrupter and is very welcome service, but in addition to new services, AWS should provide its customers with more high-availability.

“There are a lot of enterprise stakeholders who use high-profile AWS outages as an excuse to avoid using public cloud,” he said.

This makes it very tough for IT teams to convince their organisations about the benefits of public cloud, he said. If there was more multiple-availability, it would be easy to overcome issues around outages, he said. 

With multiple-availability zones, users can store data across multiple Amazon instances and avoid the setback of outages that affect a specific availability zone.

Currently, it is very demanding to migrate workloads between different availability zones at a large scale on the public cloud, said Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix during a keynote presentation at re: Invent.

Hastings added that live migration is technically possible as virtualisation companies such as VMware allow it for virtual machines.

Improved security on the public cloud was also on the wish list.

“Additional security is always welcome,” the financial professional said. “AWS have a lot going on in the area of security such as adding more certifications, but it would be reassuring to see more security and encryption features,” he added.

NASDAQ uses AWS cloud but had to encrypt the front-end data using its own technology to get customer approval. “Eventually, AWS should provide those types of security services that are commonly accepted,” he added.

More AWS Direct Connect locations

For Troy Otillio, a cloud strategist at software company Intuit, more AWS Direct Connect locations would be a beneficial feature.

AWS Direct Connect is a network service that provides an alternative to using the Internet for public cloud services. Users feel more confident with AWS Direct Connect as it allows them to transfer data between AWS and their datacentre using a private network connection rather than using the Internet.

Private network connections provide a more consistent network experience than the Internet and allows users to increase bandwidth more easily and reduce costs.

Currently AWS Direct Connect is available at just nine facilities – four in the US, three in Asia Pacific (Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo), one in South America (Sao Paulo) and one in the EU (Ireland).

“We would like to see more Direct Connect locations,” Otillio said.

Other enterprise features users wanted from AWS cloud included ease-of-use in services and more reference architecture.

For instance, Otillio said that AWS’s VPC [Virtual Private Cloud] service is useful but very complicated to use.

WORM storage support and Gov-cloud

Currently many financial services companies store important data on WORM (write once, ready many) storage technology because of stringent regulatory compliance within the financial services industry, according to the financial professional.

WORM storage enables enterprises to store data on discs that are not re-writable. This means the data cannot be erased accidentally. 

“One of the top things on our wish list is for AWS to support WORM storage,” he said.

Lastly, for one public sector customer, it was a full spectrum of a government cloud on the wish list. “We would like to see a full-featured gov-cloud service from AWS,” said Bharat Shyam, CIO of the State of Washington.

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