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AWS re: Invents Itself Again: New and Improved Products and Services at November Conference

AWS is the undisputed leader in the Cloud Computing world, and their managed Web Services are the benchmark for providers and customers alike. In light of that, the November 11-14 AWS re:Invent 2014 Conference in Las Vegas was a Mecca for all things Cloud.  AWS has rolled out numerous offerings in 2014, including Zocalo and the Fire Phone. Given the host of new products introduced at the conference, it’s obvious that the parade of innovation continues into 2015.

Here are some the new offerings grouped by functionality.

Security and Encryption

Reblaze is an all-in-one private virtual cloud-based security product, implemented with a simple DNS change. www.reblaze.com

Porticor Virtual Private Data (VPD) platform is a versatile cloud encryption and key management solution. Available as a virtual appliance, and includes a secure, cloud-based API for integration and automation. Pricing starts at $599/month.

Cavirin enhances security by continuously applying OOB policies to your environment. Also generates Compliances Scorecards. www.cavirin.com.

Backup, Storage and Replication

CloudBerry Backup compresses and encrypts data using customer keys before transference to the cloud, and works with all major cloud storage providers.  http://www.cloudberrylab.com/cloud-backup-windows-desktop.aspx

DRUVA Phoenix eliminates tape and off-site storage, and reduces the costs of managing server backup, archiving, retention and recovery. A 3 year plan starts at $0.60/GB/Month.  www.druva.com/phoenix

Zadara Multi-Zone HA enables a fully disaster tolerant system by distributing application servers across different AWS Availability Zones, and avoid facility-level failure and application. Prices start as low as $0.49/hour to enable the Multi-Zone HA replication feature. www.zadarastorage.com.

Zerto Virtual Replication for Amazon Web Services (AWS) extends hypervisor-based replication to the public cloud. Will be available Q1 2015 and priced at $745 per protected VM.  http://www.zerto.com/news-events/press-releases/zerto-previews-industrys-first-enterprise-class-dr-solution-offering-replication-aws/

Cloudant, the IBM NoSQL database, now replicates JSON data to dashDB. Monthly metered pricing is based on data storage ($1.00 per GB) and the types / frequency of RESTful API calls.

Data Analytics

Xplenty provides integration, processing and preparation of data for analytics without writing code. Three tier pricing starts at $99/Month. www.xplenty.com

ExtraHop Wire Data Analytics for FireEye Threat Analytics Platform (TAP) provides the events and metrics needed to detect advanced persistent threats, including DNS activity, HTTP payload data, Session tracking, and reconnaissance activity as attackers probe networks. http://www.extrahop.com/

Logentries Unlimited Log Management & On-demand Analytics allows you to log data from any source or format into a centralized location, and analyze in real-time. Pricing starts at $359/month. https://logentries.com/product/

Segment is a hub that collects, translates and routes customer data to more than one hundred analytics and marketing apps with the flip of a switch. It recently announced support for automatic data transformation and loading into Amazon Redshift. Self-service plans range from $0-$350 a month. www.segment.com.

Apprenda newest version (5.5) is now available in the AWS Marketplace. Apprenda allows you  to run a powerful private PaaS on public IaaS. The 16 GB image is free. http://apprenda.com/open-demos/apprenda-in-aws/

Administrative Tools

MapMyCloud.net allows you to map and visualize all AWS cloud resources and interdependencies, and quickly see unused or rogue resources.

RightScale Cloud Appliance for vSphere now has a self service portal for access to existing vSphere templates and resources, expanded tenancy options, and support for storage policies, and support for vSAN datastores. http://www.rightscale.com/

VNS3:ms is a single dashboard to manage and monitor your VNS3 networks and VPN connections. $50 per manager monitored per month.

Directory-as-a-Service connects AWS servers to an on premise AD or LDAP directory. Works with Windows, Macintosh and Linux. First 10 users are free, additional users are $10/month.  https://www.jumpcloud.com/daas-product/

Testing Platforms

BlazeMeter Version 3.0 Unlimited Testing Platform has redesigned User Interface, a mobile dashboard for iPhone and Android, Selenium testing, Multi-Cloud support, comprehensive REST API, and Multi-Instance tests.

Skytap Dev/Test Environments on AWS utilizes three new AWS support capabilities: dynamic IPSEC VPN, Secure Remote Desktop Client, and third-party URL sharing. Price ranges from $30-$60 per month per VM.  http://www.skytap.com/news-events/press-releases/skytap-to-showcase-new-amazon-web-services-aws-capabilities-at-reinvent.

VDI (Visual Desktop Interface)

ViewSonic SC-Z55 Discrete Zero Client utilizes VDI (Visual Desktop Interface) technology to support advanced 2D/3D applications for high-end workstations.

Cloud Management

2nd Watch Cloud Factory automates migration of enterprise workloads to the public clouds with an automated workflow that includes extraction, batching, conversion, importing, configuring, launching, and testing. Pricing starts at $2,000 per server.

Virtual FXT Edge Filer from Avere Systems provides the ability to deploy and scale while using both on-premises and cloud-based storage resources, such as Amazon EC2. $4,620 per month.  http://www.averesystems.com/products/fxt-series.

CTP Labs for Amazon Web Services (AWS) transforms legacy software products and systems into multitenant, auto-scaling cloud services. $150,000 for 1 month Rapid Minimum Viable Product (RMVP) starter engagement; $450,000 for 3 month RMVP engagement. (Duration and price range varies depending on application complexity.) http://www.cloudtp.com/what-we-do/cloud-application-development/

vNOC Cloud Management Platform for Cloudnexa now has a User Interface to manage existing resources, audit and troubleshoot change management issues, and view AWS account snapshot summary reports. A free limited version is available.

What Cloud-Based Apps Mean for Your Business

We’ve long heard that the days of CDs, DVDs, and the hardware to play them were numbered, but what does this mean for business? Many businesses are operating without these media already, instead storing the apps they need to install regularly on servers or external hard drives.

But with Amazon’s AppStream, businesses may soon have an even easier option. With AppStream, apps are stored in the cloud, accessible by any device with an Internet connection. This means smartphones and tablets can run the apps businesses use each day without them being installed on the device.

When sourced through a managed AWS provider, AppStream can be set up to run your applications from the cloud, bringing the following benefits to your company.

Scalability

AppStream brings scalability to businesses, which means apps grow as a business’s needs grow. Businesses specify the capacity they’ll need and the service automatically scales within that range, making sure apps are able to constantly meet demand.

Business Continuity

Because apps are hosted in the cloud, they’re safe from any disaster your physical location could encounter. Floods, fires, hurricanes… Amazon ensures your application is not only safe, but that it is accessible in the event your building becomes uninhabitable. Employees can connect from home using a PC or mobile device, allowing your business to continue to function.

Compatibility

A business no longer has to worry about creating a version of its app for each device. With AppStream, a business’s managed AWS provider can upload an application, along with a client application for each device that will be using it. As new devices emerge, a business’s developers need only create a new client application to support those devices.

With AppStream, Amazon is at the forefront of what will likely be a new era of gaming and application access. By streaming apps from the cloud, businesses no longer have to deal with resource-consuming apps on equipment and they’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that their apps are safe.

How Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Can Help Your Business

Businesses are currently caught in the middle of a transition. Most industries are seeing a gradual shift toward Cloud services, but many businesses still run at last part of their operations from desktop PCs connected to on-site servers. One major problem with that old-style way of doing business is that when something goes wrong, you have to pay someone to fix it. Another problem is that you have to constantly update both hardware and software to keep up with current technology.

Virtual Desktops

Through Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), businesses can eliminate the need to pay desktop support personnel when a problem arises. A user’s entire operating system is stored in the Cloud, allowing them to access it from anywhere, using any device. As mobile devices continue to redefine the concept of working, VDI is becoming increasingly more attractive.

Until recently, cost was a huge inhibitor of moving to VDI, especially for larger organizations. But service providers know that VDI has the potential to change technology forever and, as a result, are racing to be the first to create an affordable solution suitable for mass consumption.

Amazon Workspaces

One of the first affordable solutions to hit the market is Amazon’s new Workspaces offering. Priced as low as $35 a month for a standard plan, Amazon Workspaces sets aside a chunk of space on its server for each user. By logging into this space, users have access to a Windows 7-based operating system that includes basic operating system software, along with the software specified by the business.

By locating each user’s desktop in the Cloud, Amazon creates a work area that can be accessed whether a user is on the road, at home, or in the office. Users connect to their server space through their Managed AWS provider through a tablet, desktop, or laptop and all applications remain the same regardless of the device.

While VDI still has a long way to go before widespread adoption, Amazon is getting a jumpstart on the competition by pricing its product within reach of the average business. The promise of a higher ROI will be more likely to attract more businesses.

3 Ways Managed AWS Services Can Improve Your Bottom Line

Businesses of all sizes are learning the value of Cloud computing, using it for everything from content management to billing. But with Gartner predicting that Cloud office systems will represent 33% of the overall office market by 2017 and 60% by 2022, Cloud computing is changing the business world as a whole.

By moving data and applications to the Cloud, businesses of all sizes have access to resources usually only affordable by large corporations. A small business would likely not be able to afford to hire the best technology professionals in the industry, nor would they be able to purchase state-of-the-art equipment and software. The right Cloud service provides these features for a monthly fee. Managed AWS Services gives business access to the resources Amazon, one of the top companies in the world, provides, including around-the-clock, level-3 engineering support and monitoring, a 30-minute response time to tickets, pilot testing, and more.

For businesses, these services can bring significant cost savings. Here are three ways a switch to the Cloud could save your organization money each month.

Payroll

At one time, businesses were required to either keep skilled technical personnel on staff or pay an hourly fee to a contracting firm to provide these services. Managed services allows businesses to shift server work to skilled professionals offsite, saving money without sacrificing service. The less local software a business has, the less that business needs on-site staff to troubleshoot, providing additional savings.

Equipment

When server equipment is located on the premises, the business is responsible for the deployment and maintenance of this equipment. When this equipment must be replaced, that business has to not only purchase new hardware, but also software and support for installing and configuring that software to work in that business’s infrastructure.

Loss of Business

Cloud service providers offer data recovery, redundancy, and 24/7 support. If a business’s website or data servers take a nosedive, this means highly-skilled professionals will be hard at work to restore complete functionality as quickly as possible. Because of this minimal downtime, businesses will be able to more efficiently serve customers, avoiding the loss of customers that can come from excessive downtime.