By Matthew Dublin
Amazon Web Services has announced today the addition of three new features to its cloud service:
1. VPC Everywhere: AWS' Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) — a service that lets users provision private, isolated sections of the AWS cloud where users can launch AWS resources in a virtual network — is now generally available to all customers with an AWS account and can now be used in multiple "Availability Zones" of every AWS Region. VPCs can now span multiple Availability Zones, and each AWS account can now create multiple VPCs.
2. AWS Direct Connect: This allows for enterprises to create a connection to an AWS Region via dedicated 1 Gbit and 10 Gbit network circuits in order to enhance privacy and reduce network latency. This service is currently only located at Equinix's Ashburn, Virginia colocation facility but users can connect through this location to access AWS in the US-East region. Efforts are already underway to add additional AWS Direct Connect locations are planned for San Jose, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, and Singapore in the next few months.
3. Identity Federation: This new feature allows users to access AWS APIs and resources using fine-grained access controls without the need to create an AWS Identity and Access Management user for each identity. Applications can request temporary security credentials comprised of access keys and sessions tokens that can last anywhere from one hour to 36 hours before they become invalid. There is also no limit of the number of temporary credentials that can be issued.
All of these new features — which should significantly improve security — could help strengthen the case for personal genomics data on the cloud in a healthcare or research scenario, as well as for pharmaceutical companies interested in using a "public" cloud like AWS' cloud.