Amazon's virtual private cloud service comes to Europe

The service uses an encrypted connection to extend a data center into Amazon's cloud

Amazon Web Services has launched VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) in Europe, the company said on Tuesday. The service lets companies connect their existing data centers to isolated computing resources in Amazon's European cloud using an encrypted VPN (virtual private network) connection.

The European launch will give users located on the continent lower latencies, and also help meet E.U. requirements for where their data is stored, according to Amazon.

Companies can build hybrid architectures that allow them to take full advantage of the benefits of Amazon's cloud and at the same time have network isolation and secure connectivity as if all the resources were in their own data centers, according to Amazon.

Companies can use VPC to move corporate applications -- including e-mail, financial systems and CRM (customer relationship management) applications -- into the Amazon cloud without having to lose control of their data, and users continue to access the applications as if nothing has changed, according to Amazon. Existing security systems, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems can be used to protect the cloud-based resources, it said.

For companies interested in trying the service, Amazon has published a getting started guide.

On top of standard EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) computing and data transfer charges, companies using VPC pay US$0.05 per hour for the VPN connection.

Amazon's VPC service was first announced on Aug. 26, 2009. The service is still labeled a beta on Amazon Web Services' Web site, and use of the service is limited to, for example, one VPC per region and Amazon Web Services account and 20 subnets per VPC.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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