The Amazon Web Services team just announced that they are now offering persistent raw disk-like storage to EC2 customers. Up until now, permanently storing files in Amazon’s cloud required you to use their S3 service (accessible via HTTP). Now, EC2 customers can access their data through a standard UNIX/Linux filesystem and be sure it will be there throughout the life of that instance.
Why is this important?
IT departments can begin managing (some) Amazon cloud configurations using legacy systems management tools and techniques.
A major hurdle to bringing in any new technology to an IT department is: “How will I manage and support this technology?” For cloud computing, the answer to date has been to roll your own management tools, or, work with one of the emerging vendors in the cloud computing management space. I would argue that those answers are a non-starter for most IT shops because they probably don’t have enough pain to warrant bringing in yet another management tool and the requisite investment in training, etc. And rolling your own has its own set of issues, especially if your staff doesn’t have the coding and integration skills required.
If I can now manage system and application software in the cloud the way I do in my datacenter, or at least very close to it, the cloud becomes a true option for extending the datacenter beyond the company’s 4 walls.