AWS offers a free month of automated system analysis

Amazon now offers its cloud users suggested configuration changes to cut costs and improve performance

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is offering users a month-long free trial of a set of system analysis tools that the company is developing. The free offer is one of a number of price cuts and expanded services the company has introduced in the past few weeks.

The AWS Trusted Advisor service, now in beta, provides monitors that compare a customer's configuration with generally known best practices, culled from the aggregated operational history of other AWS customers.

Following the hints that Trusted Advisor offers, AWS customers could possibly save money, close security gaps and improve system performance, according to an AWS blog posting announcing the availability.

According to AWS, its customers could save about US$18 million this year by heeding 135,000 Trusted Advisor recommendations that the service has automatically proffered over the past 90 days. The service checks basic operational statistics, such as CPU utilization and service usage, and offers tips on how to improve performance and cut costs by switching to a superior configuration.

Trusted Advisor has 27 checks, including a few recently added. One new check flags instances of databases that have been idle for long periods of time and so could possibly be shut down to save money. Other new checks examine various security settings across Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) and Rational Database Service (RDS). The company has also updated the user interface with a new graphical dashboard that offers the ability to hide certain checks from view.

Trusted Advisor will be made available free for the month of March. After March, only customers who have signed up with AWS' business or enterprise support can access the service.

AWS has undertaken a number of other initiatives of late to help customers get more from their usage of the cloud service. The Amazon subsidiary has set up a diagnostic service for users of Windows Server. AWS has also introduced a free tool for staging the deployment of large-scale applications, called AWS OpsWorks.

AWS has slashed prices for some of its services as well. The company has lowered the prices of two of its messaging services, Simple Queue Service (SQS) and Simple Notification Service (SNS), which are used to shuttle messages from one part of a cloud system to another. AWS also now offers a $120 credit with any new subscription to the company's SAP Hana One service, an in-memory database. This price cut comes a week after AWS competitor Savvis introduced a hosted version of SAP Hana.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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