This first release, focused on its Elastic Compute Cloud, provides a laundry list of supported functions, including:
- AMI management: browse and search (Amazon Machine Images), launch instances from AMIs, deregister and register AMIs
- Instance management: launch, reboot, terminate, get console output, RDP/SSH (Remote Desktop Protocol/Secure Shell) help, etc.
- Security group management: create and delete security groups, add and remove permissions, configure firewall settings, open and close ports
- Elastic IP panagement: create and release (Internet Protocol) addresses, associate IPs to instances
- Elastic block store: create, delete, attach, and detach volumes. Take snapshots and manage snapshots.
- Key pair management: create and delete public/private key pairs.
Culver also posted a Flash video demonstrating the new console.
This is not really a surprise, as the AWS team indicated that it would release such a console in an earlier announcement. At the time, I pointed out that this was interesting territory for Amazon, as it would, for the first time compete with some of the formal and informal partners that helped drive EC2's popularity.
Culver himself gave a shout-out to the popular Elasticfox console, which has been available for some time. Ylastic and others have also provided consoled and management tools for some or all of the AWS platform in the last several months. All are now in competition with their target platform provider.
I'm not saying that this is a bad decision, nor that it definitely spells the end of the alternatives. I believe that AWS customers will embrace this option for its convenience and simplicity. And I will repeat that Amazon is now becoming the kind of dominant vendor that makes it difficult for the small guys to build an adjacent business.
There will definitely be victims to the new console; then again, increased competition will also drive innovation from the survivors. Ylastic's iPhone console for AWS is a great example of that.
Culver also indicates that this is only the first of a growing number of console tools to be released in the coming months.