Written by George Reese
The web interfaces of cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) have consistently lagged behind third-party consoles in both user experience and functionality. Third party consoles supported rich meta-data around AWS resources in addition to integrating CloudWatch and CloudFront support long before the AWS console.
The initial lack of capabilities in the provider interfaces created the market for cloud consoles. The initial crop of cloud consoles, however, has grown beyond simply providing a better interface into the cloud. This market has evolved into cloud brokers that act as the trust layer between the customer and their cloud infrastructures. The evolution from cloud console to cloud broker occurred in less than a year. In 2008, the only way to access Amazon Web Services was a command-line tool or writing your own code. As a result, a number of people built their own custom web interfaces for accessing AWS and a number of third-party tools like enStratus appeared in the market to simplify the job.