Amazon Web Services has released a web-based AWS Management Console, which allows users to manage EC2 accounts using a point-and-click interface. The news has been welcomed by the community of AWS developers (see the discussion at Twitter), but raises questions about the impact on companies that provide tools to make Amazon's platform more user-friendly, a group that includes RightScale, Ylastic and AWSManager, among others. Here's a look at the early reactions and commentary:
- "Clearly this new console will perturb a few established positions in the space," writes Sam Charrington from Appistry. "It creates complexity for RightScale in that Amazon now offers for free what many perceive to be their core value proposition: putting a pretty face on EC2. There are implications here for GoGrid as well—they’ve got a nice GUI console that I’m sure helped them win users over EC2. ... I’m sure these companies will get beyond this new complexity in part because they’re good companies managed by strong teams, but in part because the major implication of Amazon’s move is to simply expand the cloud pie for everyone."
- George Reese from O'Reilly also sees the AWS console as a win for the ecosystem. "As AWS and other cloud vendors evolve, there's sure to be feature overlap in the various offerings between AWS and tools vendors," he writes. "As long as the tools vendors are not focused on a niche aspect of EC2-specific cloud management that fits within the Amazon value proposition, there will always be space for tools vendors that have a value proposition beyond EC2 and Amazon's core offerings."
- The RightScale blog notes the AWS console, but emphasizes that its cloud-enablement business is not based on Amazon alone. "RightScale manages clouds, that’s clouds in plural. ... It’s become a multi-cloud world - and that’s good for customers and therefore the market itself. We intend to continue RightScale’s role as a neutral provider of multi-cloud management support and portability in order to promote an enabling platform for both customers and ISVs - even as we continue to be a close partner of Amazon."
- Reuven Cohen has concerns: "What worries me about this announcement is it would appear that cloud providers may in a sense start using their ecosystem as a kind of market research tool to help determine what features and opportunities they will address next. My hope is that companies like Amazon may start acquiring the more promising cloud ecosystem partners rather then creating their own alternatives and crushing their 'partners' in the process"
There were a number of reports that the new console was unavailable in the early going, demonstrating that even for Amazon, scaling for crowds is no simple matter. Amazon's rollout of the console, and its impact on AWS tool developers, will be worth watching. It may offer a glimpse of the future for developers building services around Twitter, taking advantage of the Twitter team's slow response to user feature requests (i.e. search).