Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Roger Strukhoff, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Darren Anstee

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: 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
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Vidyo, Inc., has joined the Alliance for Open Media. The Alliance for Open Media is a non-profit organization working to define and develop media technologies that address the need for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web. As a member of the Alliance, Vidyo will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of an open and royalty-free AOMedia Video codec, AV1. Vidyo’s contributions to the organization will bring to bear its long history of expertise in codec technolo...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, will discuss recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model f...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT de...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, provided tips on how to be successful in large scale machine learning...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...