Recently, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has released a slew of new features for the popular cloud computing platform. These include the new Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), two-factor authentication, and the Amazon Mechanical Turk. For traditional IT administrators considering going to cloud technologies, Elasticfox is a great tool to get started. I introduced Elasticfox in an earlier blog post, and the popular Web plug-in has been updated for new features of AWS.

VPC will be one of the easiest mechanisms for mainstream IT to use to hash out a cloud solution to see if it is going to work for them. If VPC is new to you, be sure to check out this good post outlining the hot, new cloud technology from Larry Dignan at ZDNet.

The Elasticfox plug-in for Mozilla Firefox has now been updated to be VPC-aware. Installation and the use of the Elasticfox plug-in remains largely unchanged, except for the new Virtual Private Clouds and VPNs tabs in the dashboard. Figure A shows these new features.

Figure A

Click image to enlarge.

The use of VPC inside Elasticfox is a huge jump forward for ease of use for a seamless cloud configuration. The main link that the updated Elasticfox interface provides is having the VPC configuration mapping out the network configuration that is correlated to the server instances (Windows, Linux) that run on the other Amazon clouds.

The other critical part of VPC is the associated Virtual Private Networking (VPN) configuration. The VPNs are IPSec-based tunnels that have been tested with Cisco and Juniper devices, explained in the AWS documentation here. On the other end of the VPN is a collection of instances that you stand up for your workloads that you want to place in the cloud, yet have on a private network through the tunnel.

The updated version of Elasticfox will manage the provisioning of the instances, VPNs, and VPC and allow you to decide where all these pieces sit within the other clouds. Example configurations such as putting cloud workloads on your internal Active Directory domain are now really a possibility with VPC. Are you getting interested yet?

Elasticfox does not provide access to all the AWS services, however. One particular example is the S3 storage cloud from AWS. Like other cloud products from AWS, it is accessible via an application programming interface (API), but it is not made available in the Elasticfox tool.

VPC is in a beta stage now, but if you are considering a cloud solution, this could be one that you should really get involved with. Have a thought? Drop a comment below.