Welcome!

GovIT Authors: Ignacio M. Llorente, Trevor Parsons, Kevin Jackson, Carmen Gonzalez, Lori MacVittie

Related Topics: Cloud Expo

Cloud Expo: Article

Bye Bye Command Line; Amazon Releases Its AWS Web Console

The first thing you notice instantly is how clean everything is laid out

Alan Wiliamson's Blog

Finally, after years of providing just a command line interface to their web services, Amazon has released a web based management console. Has it been worth the wait? In a nutshell, yes.

We knew this day was coming, and 8th of January was that day.

Built using Yahoo's YUI framework, using JSP at the backend, Amazon's engineers have delivered a very rich, functional and darn right stunning looking console. It begs you to want to use it.

Initial Tour




The first you notice instantly is how clean everything is laid out, choice of colours and controls just flow beautifully. The front page is your main overview page giving you the state of EC2 and the amount of resources you are presently consuming. Nice little 'refresh' button, that simply updates one of the inner panels instead of forcing a whole page refresh. This is the small details that carry on through - this is how AJAX should be used.



The bread'n'butter of this console is the management of instances, the bit that most people usually struggle with the most, particularly when it comes to finding an image to which to start. The selection of images from either the public list or the private list is clean and informative. Infact even I have noticed that Amazon have finally blessed Fedora 8 as a base image after holding onto Fedora 4 for so long.



After selecting the image you want, you are then presented with the necessary options to actually run up the image, optionally taking you through a wizard if you haven't yet created any key pairs or firewall settings. This is the bit that usually trips up AWS virgins; run up and image and left locked out of it figuring out how to get into it.

All other aspects of what EC2 touches are configurable from this console. This includes the Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Elastic IPs and Security Groups.

This console does not address any of the other Amazon Web Services, including S3, Simple Storage, and Simple Queuing Service. That I suspect is just a matter of time.

What about RightScale? Elastic Server?

How does this beta stack up against the likes of RightScale and Elastic Servers dashboard?

Well it is not quite a fair comparison as each of these chaps operate over multiple cloud providers, but if all you are doing is Amazon, then it just got harder to justify the fee for RightScale if you don't need any of the other value add services. I know a lot of people use RightScale just for the convenience of a web based frontend instead of wrestling with the command line or the FireFox plugin.

Elastic Server doesn't have anything to worry about, especially as they are specifically geared towards the management and building of the images across lots of difference platforms. In fact this compliments their offering as only this week they released support for the KVM, the Linux Virtualization kernel.

Have we seen it before?

This isn't the first time we've seen a fully functional AJAX laden web application for the cloud. GoGrid has their much touted GWT based application.

As I have commented in the past, their web ui is very sluggish and slow in parts. Having experience in GWT, I can tell its GWT that is slowing things down here and I think Amazon's choice of YUI was probably a wise one in this instance. Run both of them up beside each other and you'll instantly feel a snappish response compared to GoGrid's GWT version.

Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but the initial choice of framework is important as switching at a later date does require pretty much a complete rewrite.

So, was it worth the wait?

Amazon have delivered this console under the 'beta' banner, and if its anything like a Google 'beta' then we should be living with this for a number of years, so get use to that little logo!

It is infinitely more accessible than their FireFox plugin, which ties you to a single browser/single machine and it delivers in all the functional pieces to let you really utilise EC2. As more pieces fall into place, this will become the defacto standard way of managing your AWS account. I hope they also tie in the accountancy to the same console; I would like to see the cost of my services as I incur them. But Amazon does not offer any public API's to get at that information, so we may not see it here.

See for yourself: https://console.aws.amazon.com.


Learn How to Leverage Cloud Computing and Virtualization in NYC This March

Cloud Computing and Virtualization both take center stage this March in New York City, as SYS-CON Events brings two of its most popular industry-leading Enterprise IT events to the Big Apple: 2nd International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo and 5th International Virtualization Conference & Expo.

Co-located at the historic Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan, these events have the highest-energy Expo Floor of any comparable event, with more exhibitors, more attendees, and more Special Events like our industry Power Panels, our delegate prize drawings, and our attendee-generated Show Awards.

Attend Full-Day Cloud Bootcamp FREE With Your “Expo Plus Bootcamp” Registration!

Cloud computing is an opportunity for business to implement low cost, low power and high efficiency systems to deliver scalable infrastructure. But what's actually involved in moving to a cloud infrastructure? In this compelling one-day, hands-on training program, you'll learn just what it takes to take full advantage of the Cloud. Join fellow delegates as Alan Williamson, Editor-in-Chief of Cloud Computing Journal, uses his expertise to lead you through Cloud Computing Bootcamp on Tuesday March 31, 2009 with configuration samples, live demos and working setups.

Seats are limited to the first 500 attendees so Register Today for Cloud Computing Bootcamp to secure your spot!

More Stories By Alan Williamson

Alan Williamson is widely recognized as an early expert on Cloud Computing, he is Co-Founder of aw2.0 Ltd, a software company specializing in deploying software solutions within Cloud networks. Alan is a Sun Java Champion and creator of OpenBlueDragon (an open source Java CFML runtime engine). With many books, articles and speaking engagements under his belt, Alan likes to talk passionately about what can be done TODAY and not get caught up in the marketing hype of TOMORROW. Follow his blog, http://alan.blog-city.com/ or e-mail him at cloud(at)alanwilliamson.org.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Alan_R_Williamson 01/09/09 09:47:06 AM EST

You are absolutely correct Thorsten; RightScale offers a very rich experience. My point was, there is a large number of users that are simply not using anywhere near your full capability and merely using the RightScale portal as a very beautiful way to avoid using Amazons command line tools.

Naturally, when people start using RightScale there is a higher chance they will discover new services and evolve to use them.

That said, now that Amazon have started on their path with their console, many people will now simply not even look at the services offered by the likes of yourselves and others.

Either way, your sales job just got a little harder, as one of the tick boxes has now been covered by Amazon themselves.

voneicken 01/09/09 09:13:49 AM EST

Alan, I'm surprised your write "if all you are doing is Amazon, then it just got harder to justify the fee for RightScale if you don't need any of the other value add services". RightScale offers for free a whole lot more functionality that Amazon's console, plus you get to start on a system that allows you to grow to more functionality when you need it. So there is no fee to get more than AWS offers.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.