Sunday, September 06, 2009

Amazon Virtual Private Cloud - A Sliver Lining in the Cloud !

Cloud as a technology is gathering momentum. It is quite an onerous job to keep track of the developments everyday with cloud service providers mushrooming as minutes go by and lots of venture capitalists throwing their weight around it. It is not uncommon for the skeptics to expect a 'Cloud Burst' in the times to come.

Who does not want to be there at the center of attention. Every vendor has thrown a substantial amount of their R&D budget for cloud offerings and research. There has been efforts by number organizations to 'standardize the cloud' with their versions of standardization requirements around Cloud Resource Definition, Cloud Federation, Cloud Interops et al. There has been number of ongoing efforts, including US Government to create communities and de-facto standards for cloud computing.

Inspite of the so much hype around the technology, there has been efforts by many vendors to make Cloud as a feasible alternative for many enterprises. In my opinion Amazons latest effort around virtual private cloud (VPC) that allows customers to seamlessly extend their IT infrastructure into the cloud while maintaining the levels of isolation required for their enterprise management tools to do their work, is a step in the right direction.

Elasticity and Pay as you Go are the two key requirements for any cloud Platform. Till the time Cloud Platforms can truly prove themselves as extensions of the existing data centers of an enterprise leveraging the existing investments in tools and technologies, every IT decision maker has a difficult task of sell it to all stake holders. Amazon CTO Werner Vogels has a good post introducing Amazon VPC.

Introducing Amazon Virtual Private Cloud

We have developed Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) to allow our customers to seamlessly extend their IT infrastructure into the cloud while maintaining the levels of isolation required for their enterprise management tools to do their work.

With Amazon VPC you can:

  • Create a Virtual Private Cloud and assign an IP address block to the VPC. The address block needs to be CIDR block such that it will be easy for your internal networking to route traffic to and from the VPC instance. These are addresses you own and control, most likely as part of your current datacenter addressing practice.
  • Divide the VPC addressing up into subnets in a manner that is convenient for managing the applications and services you want run in the VPC.
  • Create a VPN connection between the VPN Gateway that is part of the VPC instance and an IPSec-based VPN router on your own premises. Configure your internal routers such that traffic for the VPC address block will flow over the VPN.
  • Start adding AWS cloud resources to your VPC. These resources are fully isolated and can only communicate to other resources in the same VPC and with those resources accessible via the VPN router. Accessibility of other resources, including those on the public internet, is subject to the standard enterprise routing and firewall policies

Amazon VPC offers customers the best of both the cloud and the enterprise managed data center:

  • Full flexibility in creating a network layout in the cloud that complies with the manner in which IT resources are managed in your own infrastructure.
  • Isolating resources allocated in the cloud by only making them accessible through industry standard IPSec VPNs.
  • Familiar cloud paradigm to acquire and release resources on demand within your VPC, making sure that you only use those resources you really need.
  • Only pay for what you use. The resources that you place within a VPC are metered and billed using the familiar pay-as-you-go approach at the standard pricing levels published for all cloud customers. The creation of VPCs, subnets and VPN gateways is free of charge. VPN usage and VPN traffic are also priced at the familiar usage based structure
  • All the benefits from the cloud with respect to scalability and reliability, freeing up your engineers to work on things that really matter to your business.