New iPhone apps let you control Amazon cloud services

A pair of new iPhone applications let Amazon EC2 users manipulate their systems on the go.

Amazon Web Services customers will soon have a pair of options for managing their systems from an Apple iPhone.

Ylastic, which makes a browser-based management dashboard for EC2 and other AWS services, released a version for the iPhone and Google's Android platform this week. The company is charging US$10 per user per month for the mobile application.

It can be used to manage EC2 instances, Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets and SimpleDB domains, among other capabilities, but leaves out some features found in Ylastic's Web-based application, such as daily S3 stats and user management.

Meanwhile, an EC2 management app for the iPhone is now in development at the Rochester, New York, application development firm Directthought.

The company is hoping to have the application, directEC2, ready for sale on Apple's App Store within a month, said senior software architect David Kavanagh.

The company believes there's a ready market for directEC2.

While it's not uncommon for IT staff who are responsible for a Web application to have some monitoring and alerts pushed to their mobile device, enabling them to go ahead and make system changes as well is "pretty powerful," Kavanagh said.

For one thing, you can't always have your laptop open, and second, the iPhone "gives you almost continuous connectivity" to the Web, he said.

DirectEC2 is built using ctypica, an Objective-C version of typica, an open-source Java client library for tapping into various Amazon Web Services. Kavanagh, who started the typica project, said ctypica will also be open-sourced under the Apache 2.0 license, enabling other iPhone applications to connect with AWS.

The company has also considered whether to develop applications for Android but chose to go with the red-hot iPhone for now, according to Kavanagh.

"If there were more [Android] devices out there I would target that as well," he said, adding that he hasn't "been as hot on Windows Mobile."

DirectEC2 will be available in a free version that does EC2 monitoring, he added. Pricing has not been determined for the full-fledged edition.

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