Thursday, 29 January 2015 13:32

Amazon joins email market with WorkMail

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Amazon has further broadened its AWS portfolio with the addition of a hosted, Exchange-like email service.

Many organisations have already decided they don't need to run their own email servers, instead farming out the task to hosting specialists or major players such as Google and Microsoft.

Another of the industry's big guns has decided to enter this market: Amazon has announced its WorkMail email service.

WorkMail appears to be a form of hosted Exchange, as it provides native support for Microsoft Outlook on Windows and Mac OS X, and integrates with an on-premises Active Directory setup or AWS Directory Services' Simple AD function.

In an apparent dig at Google's Gmail, Amazon points out that WorkMail can be used with Outlook without any additional software.

Customers can use their own encryption keys and control where their data resides.

The idea seems to be to combine the low cost of a cloud email service with the security and manageability that many organisations require.

WorkMail includes a migration tool that can load mailboxes from existing servers, as well as a web interface for users of devices or mail clients that do not support Exchange ActiveSync.

"Customers have repeatedly asked us for a business email and calendaring service that is more cost-effective and simpler to manage than their on-premises solution, more secure than the cloud-based offerings available today, and that is backed by the same best-in-class infrastructure platform on which they're reliably running so many of their current (and future) workloads," said AWS Compute Services vice president Peter De Santis.

"We built Amazon WorkMail to address these requests and to help businesses achieve agility and cost savings by letting AWS manage the non-differentiated heavy lifting involved in corporate email and calendaring."

WorkMail costs $US4 a month for each user, including 50GB of mailbox storage. There are no minimum commitments or long-term contracts, you simply pay for as many mailboxes as you need.

It can also be purchased in combination with Amazon WorkDocs for $6 a month for each user.

In general, AWS charges different prices for the same services in different regions. So it is quite possible that there will be a higher price for WorkMail delivered from the AWS Sydney region.

WorkMail is currently in preview. If you want to join the waiting list, you can register here.

Amazon did not indicate when WorkMail will go into full production.

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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 and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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