AWS rolls out enterprise document storage and sharing

The service, called Zocalo, was highlighted at an Amazon Web Services event

Amazon Web Services is offering a new document sharing service with management and security features designed to appeal to businesses.

Werner Vogels, Amazon chief technology officer, introduced the service, called Zocalo, at the AWS Summit, Thursday in New York City.

Zocalo is a "fully managed document storage and sharing service," Vogels said, referring to how AWS will take care of the storage, authentication, security and other aspects of running a document sharing service. AWS also introduced services to aid in mobile application development and system administration.

With the new offerings, AWS continues to vigorously pursue the growing market for hosted computing services. Both Google and Microsoft, for instance, also offer services that allow users to share and annotate documents.

A Zocalo user can upload a document and indicate who else can access it. Approved users can then annotate the shared documents and the owner will get a notice that has happened.

AWS product marketing executive Paul Duffy showed how Zocalo can be used to open and annotate Microsoft Word and PowerPoint documents as PDFs.

A user of the service can pick which folders on their computer will be copied to a workspace on the service. The files in those folders then can be opened by a variety of devices, including PCs and tablets.

AWS found that its enterprise customers were "frustrated by old-guard document management and collaboration tools. They wanted something a lot easier," said Ariel Kelman, AWS vice president of worldwide marketing, in an interview after Vogel's presentation. "We wanted to give enterprise IT organizations everything they would expect in one of these collaboration systems."

The service syncs credentials from Active Directory, widely used software from Microsoft that keeps tracks of the users in an organization and what access rights they have to enterprise materials.

Organizations can also choose which region they want documents to be stored in, which can help meet internal and government regulations.

"We will not move the content out of the region you store it in," Vogels said.

The service costs US$5 per user per month and provides up to 200GB to store documents. A free trial is available.

AWS also launched tools to help programmers write applications that run on mobile devices using services from AWS. One service analyzes how clients use a mobile device. Another service, called Cognitio, provides a way for users to log in to mobile clients and keeps track of user data as they sign onto multiple devices.

Typically, adding user authentication and data synchronization to mobile clients is a lot of work. "It is hard to do right from the functionality side and from the security side," Kelman said. Every app has to have these features, he said, so there is no point in a developer re-creating them from scratch in each app.

Another new service collects all the performance and error logs that AWS produces for a customer, allowing administrators to access them from a single location.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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