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Cloud computing
has often been touted as the technology of the future. However, in Australia, where the vast majority of businesses fall into the small to medium range, the Cloud is the technology of right now.

The last thing SMEs need to worry about is capital expenditure on infrastructure for hardware and software, as well as the considerable cost of maintaining software compliance. The burgeoning market for Cloud Services has finally come into its own, with Australia leading the way in adoption.

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Amazon Web Services has added Glacier and Redshift to the range of services available from its Sydney region.

Amazon Web Services' (AWS) Sydney region was launched in November 2012, and the company has now made two significant additions to the range of services available locally: Glacier and Redshift.

Glacier is AWS' low-cost data archiving and backup storage service. Prices are as low as $0.01 per gigabyte per month.

"Everyone has storage challenges," AWS principal solutions architect Simon Elisha told iTWire.

Glacier provides a way of storing large amounts of data at modest cost and without having to manage hardware, he said.

AWS also offers a service for automatically archiving data from its S3 storage to Glacier according to rules set by the customer.

One local user of Glacier is aerial imagery provider nearmap. Senior VP of product and engineering Paul Peterson said "Without Amazon Glacier’s secure and scalable archival solution, it would be cost prohibitive for us to keep these [thousands of terabytes of] images, which are important intellectual property to our business.

"It has been a game-changer for us, offering an extremely cost-effective, long-term archival solution. Amazon Glacier was a key factor in us moving from our previous on-premises solution to AWS, and we are excited this service is now available from the Sydney Region."

Redshift is a fully managed data warehouse in the cloud. Company officials claim it significantly lowers the cost of a data warehouse compared with on-premises approaches.

Redshift automates many of the tasks associated with data warehouse operation. It provides reduced query processing times with "virtually any size data set" according to the officials, and can be used with existing SQL-based business intelligence tools.

Online marketing service provider Advive has adopted Redshift after experiencing MySQL performance issues.

"By switching to Amazon Redshift we saved tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours over other options that would have required us to retool the application and hire additional staff," said CTO Richard Buggy.

Elisha said AWS was offering Glacier and Redshift in the Sydney region in response to customers that wanted to use the services but required local storage for performance or data sovereignty reasons.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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