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Amazon and Microsoft Clean Up Their Cloud Storage Agreements. This month, Amazon.com, Microsoft, and Apple announced that they would revise their cloud storage contracts for consumers to provide better transparency. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), an independent consumer advocacy group in the United Kingdom, investigates consumer fairness laws and anticompetitive practices. The group reviewed cloud storage vendors last year and found that many terms and practices in cloud service contracts were detrimental to customers. This included terms that allowed vendors to change prices and services without giving customers adequate notice or the opportunity to cancel. The CMA also deemed suspect terms that vendors can reduce their liability for lost, stolen, or compromised data. They also consider terms that allow them automatically to renew customers’ contracts without giving customers a cancellation window. In an open letter last year to cloud storage providers, the CMA stated that such practices “could violate consumer protection law”. If you are a cloud storage company that deals with consumers, it is important to ensure that your contract terms are fair. Cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, Google, and Mozy have announced that they will amend their contract terms to ensure clarity and fairness for consumers. Amazon.com, Microsoft, and Apple joined the group, issuing separate statements last week outlining their plans for U.K customers. Amazon.com, for its part, stated that it will modify the terms and conditions of its Drive cloud storage services to:
Amazon Launches Docker Container Service, and ‘AWS Lambda ‘Amazon Web Services (AWS), Inc. announced the Amazon EC2 Container Service with Docker support at Thursday’s keynote at AWS reInvent conference in Las Vegas. Werner Vogels, chief technology officer at AWS, made the announcement. He described the new ECS to be a “highly scalable and high-performance management solution” for Docker containers. He stated that it will allow users to launch and terminate containers to clusters of EC2 instances. It also promises to improve resource efficiency, scheduling, and scheduling. In a blog post, Jeff Barr, AWS evangelist, provided additional information about ECS. He wrote that ECS will allow you to run any number of Docker container across a cluster of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instances (EC2) using powerful APIs and other tools. ECS is a cluster management tool that does not require you to install, maintain, or match your cluster hardware inventory to your software requirements. Simply launch some instances within a cluster, assign tasks, and then start them. ECS is built around a multi-tenant, scalable, fault-tolerant base that handles all aspects of cluster management for you. As a preview, the EC2 Container Service can be used. Although it is free to use, users will still need to pay for their EC2 resources. Register here if you are interested. AWS Lambda A preview of AWS Lambda was also launched by the company. AWS Lambda is a cloud-based, event-driven application management service. Barr explained that Lambda is as easy as creating a Lambda function and giving it access to specific AWS resources. The function can then be connected to your AWS resources. Lambda will automatically execute code when objects are modified in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets or messages in Amazon Kinesis streams. Both Vogels and Barr praised Lambda’s ease-of-use. The service runs without the need for provision code, Vogels stated during the keynote. Barr called it a “zero administration compute platform”. Lambda reacts on events from other AWS services like DynamoDB and Kinesis. Barr stated in his blog that integration with other AWS services is possible. Pricing for Lambda is dependent on the number and duration of compute times. The first one million requests per month are free. Every million thereafter will cost $0.20. Every 100 millisecond of compute time is charged. A free tier is available for up to 1,000,000 requests and 3.2 Million seconds of compute time per month. Register here to get the Lambda preview. It is available from AWS datacenters in Ireland and Northern Virginia. To cap off his keynote speech Vogels made a few other announcements about AWS services.