Take your Cloud With you: Amazon announces VM Export

While most people were getting ready for the long weekend, Amazon was busy releasing it's first phase of being able to take your cloud with you: VM Extraction for Windows-based EC2 instances. While this might seem like a small bit of functionality for most, what it does is show that Amazon is thinking about it's customers concerns.

The biggest concern many businesses both big and small have about moving to any cloud platform is the risk of Vendor Lock-in. Amazon is the biggest instance of this kind of potential problem, as they have more cloud services then any other cloud provider. This means that it's not very easy to migrate away from Amazon's Cloud services (even though they do have "compatible" solutions like Eucalyptus which offers a compatible API). Recently Amazon Announced that it was partnering with Eucalyptus in an effort to reduce the risk of vendor lock-in that many clients feared. Of course it's still in Amazon's best interest to keep you, but they want to make sure you don't feel like you're going to "get stuck" with them.

While currently all you can export is Windows-based AMIs, obviously the long-term plan is to make sure that you can export anything you want out to a VMware image. Since VMWare images can be uploaded to a few cloud providers, and since you can run your own VMWare solution, this really increases the flexibility you have with working in a Cloud Computing environment like AWS.

This also adds one additional feature which most people probably haven't thought of; you can now export your EC2 instance, work on it locally, then upload it again to EC2 when you're ready to run it in the cloud.

That concept is huge. Uploading a VM that was downloaded from an original EC2 AMI means that you can ensure compatibility with EC2, and you're suddenly able to really have full control over your AMIs. This may not be the original reasoning for launching this feature, but it certainly is a nice side-effect.