On Thursday, AWS (Amazon Web Services) began a newly concerted campaign to attract the coveted enterprise sector to its cloud.

The three main facets of the announcement, according to reports by Reuters and The Register, involved Direct Connect, a sizable VPC expansion, and significant enhancements to Identity and Access Management.

As one might guess, Direct Connect is all about providing direct connections to AWS data centers rather than risking the usual Internet-based connection. The fast pipe is hooked to Equinix's nearby International Business Exchange data centers -- and Amazon's Virgina location (for the United States) is live as of this writing, although Los Angeles and San Jose are scheduled to be added to serve Oregon facility over the next few months, along with Singapore and Tokyo to serve the Asia/Pacific region and Dublin to provide London's link for Europe.

With nothing between users' network providers and the cloud (nothing at all if the network providers are at Equinix in the first place), benefits include better throughput (in the realm of 10 Gigabits) and improved packet security, as well as significantly reduced latency.

Pricing was also announced: each fully private Gigabit Ethernet port will be $.30 per hour, but users with bigger needs can pay $2.25 per hour for a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port (this does not include a user's charges from the network providers, of course). While AWS inbound bandwidth remains free (last month's good news), outbound bandwidth will still incur charges ($.02 per gigabyte).

The Virtual Private Cloud expansion means that the beta phase has ended and users no longer have to limit themselves to a single local IPsec encrypted VPN. For the first time since Amazon's foray into the EC2 compute cloud two years ago, the VPC is now available in multiple Availability Zones in all AWS regions.

The AWS Management Console now features an enhanced IAM (Identity and Access Management) with the mew 'identity-federation' feature -- in other words, to integrate with existing businesses' identity management systems, a more popular option than the previous attempt to provide separate login credentials for AWS' administrators' permissions-based system.


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