Amazon Unveils Snowball Suitcase, Rolls Out New Services for Cloud

Amazon.com Inc’s cloud business, Amazon Web Services, launched a service on Wednesday to help companies analyse their data, as well as a suitcase-like product that will let them ship large amounts of data for storage on the cloud.

Cloud computing is the fastest growing business for Amazon, which until recently was mostly known as an online marketplace, and the new services will help the company capitalise on rising demand to store and manage large amounts of information.

Amazon said its new analytics service, QuickSight, is fast and easy to use by non-technical staff who want to share analysed data, either live or by screenshot.

QuickSight is now available for preview, Andy Jassy, AWS’s senior vice president, said at an AWS event in Las Vegas.

For a standard edition, a customer will be charged $9 (roughly Rs. 585) per month with a one-year commitment, or “one-tenth the cost of traditional (business intelligence) solutions,” Amazon said.

The service will compete with offerings from IBM, Microsoft, SAP and Tibco Software Inc. The Wall Street Journal said on Monday that SAP plans to announce a new business-analysis product in coming weeks.

“I don’t think that anyone thinks that Amazon isn’t leading the pack in terms of innovation,” said Benchmark Co analyst Daniel Kurnos. “I certainly believe that they are.”

Amazon said it would offer QuickSight to an initial set of users later this month, with a full launch in 2016.

The shippable storage product, Snowball, is designed to let companies shift huge amounts of data to the AWS cloud without having to spend a lot of time and bandwidth to transfer it over the Internet.

The 47-lb (21.3 kg) container, available to AWS customers immediately, can hold 50TB of data, has 110 Volt power and a 10GB network connection. Several can run in parallel.

Customers will be charged $200 (roughly Rs. 13,000) per job in addition to shipping charges, based on the destination and shipment method.

Users will have 10 days to upload their data and ship it, after which they will be charged $15 (roughly Rs. 975) for each extra day.

Amazon also announced a preview of “Amazon Inspector”, a new service that helps customers identify potential security issues within applications run on AWS.

Amazon shares were little changed at $537.50 in afternoon trading.

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