The Cloud Is Shaping Up. Amazon Beefs Up EC2, Bechtolsheim Shifts His Attention To Arista

Cloud computing keeps advancing like rolling thunder. Amazon today announced a major upgrade to its EC2 compute cloud service and Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim has decided to spend more time at his startup Arista Networks, which sells 10-Gigabit Ethernet switches aimed at handling the loads at cloud-computing data centers. And just yesterday, RackSpace announced two small acquisitions to help it better compete against Amazon in the cloud computing as well.

The biggest news today comes from Amazon, which is staking the “beta” label off of its EC2 service and announcing the following upgrades:

  • Amazon EC2 is now in full production. The beta label is gone.
  • There’s now an SLA (Service Level Agreement) for EC2.
  • Microsoft Windows is now available in beta form on EC2.
  • Microsoft SQL Server is now available in beta form on EC2.
  • We plan to release an interactive AWS management console.
  • We plan to release new load balancing, automatic scaling, and cloud monitoring services.

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels explains how Amazon’s Web Services are becoming more capable every day and makes a good case that if the economy goes down, the pay-as-you-go cloud computing model will find more takers among major enterprises. These moves to strengthen EC2 (offering service-level guarantees, load balancing, monitoring, and support for instances of Microsoft Windows and SQL Server) are steps aimed at appeasing Big IT—the IT managers who run big corporate data centers and still need convincing that they won’t get fired for offloading their corporate computation needs to the Web.

But this is where the winds are blowing. If you want to know what’s next in IT, all you need to do is follow Andy Bechtolsheim. One of the original founders of Sun Microsystems, who then moved on to found several other startups including Granite Systems, he became a bigwig at Cisco after it acquired Granite, and then returned to Sun to help save it from extinction. Now he is turning his attention to Arista (renamed today from Arastra), where he is chairman and chief development officer. The New York Times and others reported that he is leaving Sun, but he is in fact still staying there part-time helping them come up with next gen products including X64 and storage servers. GigaOm more details.

Arista’s 20-Gigabit switches are geared towards cloud computing data centers with tens or hundreds of of thousands of servers and throughput needs that run up to 100 terabits per second. Today’s data centers just can’t keep up.