cloudSmall companies that are growing fast often can’t expand their computing infrastructure to keep up. Amazon is announcing a test version today of its Amazon Virtual Private Cloud service to let those companies tap into a much bigger computing infrastructure.

Startups and big companies alike can tap into Amazon’s web services infrastructure, dubbed the “cloud,” which consists of racks and racks of servers. The good thing is that companies pay only for the resources they use, much like they pay for electricity.

Further, customers can create their own logically isolated pieces of the cloud. These are servers or partitions within servers that are isolated from other customers and can be completely controlled by the customers, who configure it as they see fit over a secure virtual private network (VPN connection). By tapping into the cloud, you can own and control web addresses and manage various things such as how many servers to allocate to different functions within your enterprise.

Amazon promises to keep your data safe. You can use the private cloud as your disaster recovery plan. But, as a talk at the recent Black Hat conference suggested, cloud computing isn’t truly as rock solid on security as it should be. The service will likely compete with a variety of rivals, including Google, who host web services for companies.

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