Today in Cloud

Amazon rolled out a new region for their public cloud computing service yesterday; physically located on the west coast of the United States and featuring additional checks to ensure that only U.S. citizens may gain access. The new GovCloud (US) Region is intended to meet the needs of state and federal government agencies, and it was interesting to note Jeff Barr’s claim that little additional effort was required to meet government’s requirements; “Other than the restriction to US persons and the requirement that EC2 instances are launched within a VPC, we didn’t make any other changes to our usual operational systems or practices. In other words, the security profile of the existing Regions was already up to the task of protecting important processing and data. In effect, we simply put a gateway at the door — ‘Please show your passport or green card before entering.'” Amazon is keen to explore offering similar services to other governments, and this relatively lightweight approach of layering logical regions on top of Amazon’s existing physical infrastructure may offer a cost-effective means to appear to meet the niche requirements of government… and a whole host of regulated industries. Which will be next? AWS GovCloud (UK), or AWS FinanceCloud ? Companies like IBM, which have explicitly set out to build and deploy different clouds for different verticals, must be watching closely.