Amazon Web Services is beginning to evolve at a rapid pace

The big news last week was Amazon Web Service’s entry into several new areas, log monitoring and admin with Logs for CloudWatch; collaboration and file sharing with Zocalo; and mobile application development with Cognito, Mobile Analytics and a new Mobile SDK. First, the new logging tool, which I glossed over last week, but is an important example of Amazon filling gaps in its product menu. As the name states, the new tool works with the AWS CloudWatch network monitoring console to collect log file activities which can then be stored and analyzed in AWS Kinesis. Log files can be valuable to the iterative practice of product updates and feature adds, but deriving that value can be tricky, Matt Wood, AWS GM of Data Science told me last week.

Amazon Web Services is known for many things, but all of those have to do with developer services like cloud computing instances, databases and storage. Lately, however, AWS is slowly getting more into productivity tools that are meant for end users. Amazon’s first attempt to get into this market was Amazon Cloud Drive. It launched back in 2011, but while there are no exact numbers about its usage, I doubt all that many consumers ever signed up for it. Now — maybe in the wake of its Fire Phone launch — it feels like the company is starting to reboot its efforts, and it is doing so for enterprise users under the AWS label. After Cloud Drive, things got pretty quiet in this space for Amazon, but last year, it launched an invite-only beta of Amazon WorkSpaces, a virtual desktop for enterprises that launched to the public in March. With WorkSpaces, an admin still has to go into the AWS Management Console and provision it, but for the user, the experience is pretty straightforward. That project, of course, was more about virtualization than about an actual web application. With Zocalo, however, Amazon launched a full-featured competitor to Google Drive for Work and Dropbox, complete with a web-based interface. The focus here is still mostly on enterprises, and there is no free tier for consumers (though the regular price of $5 per user/month is extremely aggressive). But once it’s out of preview, it’s hard to imagine that Amazon would only allow businesses to sign up.

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