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Amazon's GovCloud upgrade hints at CIA cloud tech

Automagic deployment tool comes to ITAR-compliant cloud

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Amazon has brought its automatic application deployment and provisioning tech to its government cloud service.

The launch of CloudFormation on GovCloud was announced on Wednesday, and means customers that use the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) compliant cloud service can now access Amazon's CloudFormation tools.

The CloudFormation technology was launched by Amazon in February 2011, and as with other products was slowly rolled out across Amazon's global network before finally coming into the GovCloud service.

It allows developers and sysadmins to use sample templates or create their own to automatically provision AWS cloud resources and run applications. Some of the sample templates include WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.

GovCloud was launched in August 2011, as Amazon ramped-up its enterprise-targeting technologies in a bid to take workloads from traditional IT incumbents such as IBM, HP, Dell, and others.

With the addition of CloudFormation, the GovCloud now contains some 18 distinct AWS services, including mainstay products such as EC2 compute instances and more obscure technologies such as the Amazon Simple Workflow Service.

The launch of the technology on GovCloud comes as IBM and Amazon tussle in the courts for a strategically important $600m CIA on-premise cloud.

The technologies in GovCloud give an idea of how Amazon might build an on-premise stack for a similar government organization. In the bid documents, Amazon has already offered to run Hadoop jobs for the CIA via its Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR) service, which is also present in GovCloud. Similarly, it offers basic compute and storage services.

Though not explicitly mentioned, the CIA contract also implies the long-term storage of data in a low-cost format, which is the ideal use case for Amazon's "Glacier" archival service.

Glacier is not yet in GovCloud, but given its inherent gov-friendly characteristics, we reckon it could be making its way there soon. ®

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