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Amazon launches new cloud identity management functionality

Marcia Savage, Site Editor

Amazon Web Services on Thursday announced new capabilities that aim to meet enterprise needs, including identity federation support and a new service that allows companies to connect directly to its data centers.

AWS’ new cloud identity management

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functionality allows enterprises to use their existing corporate identities to provide users with access to AWS resources without having to create a new AWS identity for them.

“This capability enables enterprises to programmatically request security credentials, with configurable expiration and permissions, that grant their corporate identities access to AWS resources controlled by that enterprise,” according to AWS.

AWS already had identity management capabilities, but the new functionality allows companies to use their existing identity management systems, said Amy DeCarlo, principal analyst at Current Analysis.

“If they’re using Active Directory or LDAP, they don’t have to create new identities for Amazon Web Services, they can just use what they already have,” she said. “What it really does is simplify things for the customer and make [AWS] more appealing.”

Other cloud service providers offer similar capabilities, but enabling identity federation “elevates what Amazon does and makes it more corporate ready,” DeCarlo added.

AWS also announced Direct Connect, which allows enterprises to connect directly to AWS via a private network connection. The service can help increase bandwidth throughput and reduce network latency and costs, AWS said.

The service is available via Equinix Inc.’s co-location facility in Ashburn, Va., which connects customers to services in the AWS U.S.-East Region. Additional locations are planned for San Jose, Los Angeles, London, Toyko and Singapore in the next several months.

Direct Connect is mostly about performance and stability, DeCarlo said. “It shows that Amazon is paying attention to customer concerns about this,” she said. “Certain applications are going to be sensitive to latency, so this is beneficial.”

In addition, AWS said it extended its Virtual Private Cloud to all of its regions, including Europe and Tokyo, and in multiple availability zones within each region.

Altogether, the new offerings from AWS provide enterprises with “even more flexibility and control over deploying their workloads to the cloud,” Adam Selipsky, AWS vice president said in a prepared statement. “These capabilities provide even more privacy, and along with AWS’s existing cloud services, allow enterprises to choose the environment that is best suited to each of their workloads.”