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AWS Management Console makeover coming to a browser near you

User interface beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but AWS shops feel good about the newly redesigned AWS Management Console so far.

Amazon Web Services is undertaking a phased rollout of the AWS Management Console, the Web-based user interface for its cloud services, which users said is a welcome refresh.

The new design groups services by category and includes Quick Starts for launching certain apps, such as backup and data analytics, as well as launching a virtual machine in the Elastic Compute Cloud. Recently used services also appear on the console's front page.

Screenshots of the new console design were posted this week in online forums, and users opening new accounts in AWS were sporadically seeing the new design pop up.

The updates are generally a good thing, according to AWS shops, particularly for new users just getting started with AWS.

"It looks like a step in the right direction," said Erik Peterson, director of technology strategy at Burlington, Mass., company Veracode, a cloud-based Web application risk assessment service that runs on AWS. "With 55 services listed on the console page today, things can be quite confusing to anyone just starting with AWS."

AWS resources also can be managed with a command-line interface (CLI), API or through the Web-based user interface (UI). Experienced users may fuss about aspects of the new design, but they're more likely to use the CLI or API than the Web UI anyway, according to Alex Witherspoon, vice president of platform engineering for FlightStats Inc., a global data service company in the aviation space located in Portland, Ore.

"We'll have some folks who love the UI and who will love how simple it is, and we'll have some other folks who really won't mind, because they're getting all the same data out of the APIs," Witherspoon said.

The new UI, based on HTML5, is a welcome refresh that addresses "some little trivial things that are kind of clunky in the UI for folks who are living in the UI frequently, according to Witherspoon. For example, little things such as copying and pasting IP addresses are very easy in the API, I but not in the UI.

"The new kind of metro, tiled design ... is going to make all those tiny little quirks go away," he said.

The new UI also will work in more browsers more consistently and offer live telemetry, Witherspoon noted. Instead of waiting for the page to refresh CloudWatch data, users of the new AWS Management Console will be able to send real-time data and make the page more reactive.

Also key to the new AWS Management Console is what hasn't been done -- namely, too many changes to the underlying functionality.

"I'm not aware of any features that got dropped," Witherspoon said. "I'm not aware of anything you could do in the old one that you can't do in the new one."

Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for SearchAWS. Write to her at [email protected] or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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