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Amazon's Cloud Grows in Europe

With a new data center in Ireland, the online retailer is beefing up its popular Web services business to better serve corporate clients in the Old World

Amazon's cloud computing division has lifted the lid on some of the enhancements it has on the way.

Amazon Web Services has been offering on-demand computing and storage capacity for three years through its Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3) and now the company wants to make it easier for businesses to use them. The online retail arm of the company might be better known to the general public, but the web services business already consumes more bandwidth than the more famous ecommerce side.

Andy Jassy, senior VP for Amazon Web Services and Amazon Payments, told "Really what we're trying to do with Amazon Web Services is provide a set of building-block infrastructure services that other businesses can use to build sophisticated scalable applications."

Amazon (AMZN) recently opened a datacentre in Ireland for businesses wanting to use the services but keep their data in Europe for compliance and latency purposes.

Jassy said: "Europe is growing very, very fast now that we have more of the services that comprise the platform here in Europe."

According to Jassy, the company is also looking to open a facility in Asia, to provide a similar level of service in the region, although the location of this has yet to be decided.

There are also "additional performance services" on the way, including more sophisticated monitoring services, load balancing and 'auto scaling' – which will ramp up compute power when certain triggers are activated.

Improved management consoles will also come on stream for the various services, while more plug-ins – such as the one for the Eclipse Java integrated developer environment (IDE) – are likely to appear.

The company will also continue to work on strengthening security, something which Jassy said it takes "unbelievably seriously".

Amazon Web Services has come a long way in its three years with a huge take-up peaking with 80,000 work requests per second, 52 billion objects stored and thousands of developers making use of it. The ecommerce part of Amazon's business actually requires 30 per cent less bandwidth than the web services side.

Services that have already been added include Simple DB which provides database services to index and query structured data and the Simple Queue Service (SQS) which stores data as it moves between different processes.

"It's really the glue in between two components that you're using and consuming at different times," Jassy explained.

Businesses can also access Amazon's flexible payments service architecture, which the company uses for its $20bn per year ecommerce business.

Meanwhile, Amazon Mechanical Turk is an online marketplace where people can offer payment for businesses and services that require a human element rather than computing power.

Jassy said: "The basic philosophy of all of these building blocks is that they're loosely coupled components – you can use one of them or you can use all of them and you can use any combination that you want."

Provided by—Driving Business Through Technology

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