Amazon Web Services moves into productivity with Workmail cloud email and calendar

29 Jan 2015

Amazon’s cloud juggernaut Amazon Web Services is on a path to disrupt the cloud market with a new suite of productivity tools called Amazon WorkMail.

The go-to on-demand storage provider for companies ranging from start-ups to established corporations has unveiled a new managed email and calendaring solution that will compete with similar products from Google and Microsoft’s Exchange platform.

It will also compete with Dropbox which has been steadily building up its repertoire of productivity technologies aimed squarely at end-users.

A preview version of the new WorkMail email service launched last night on the US East Coast and in Europe from Amazon’s data centres in Dublin.

“WorkMail was designed to work in today’s data-rich, email-intensive environments,” explained chief evangelist at Amazon Web Services Jeff Barr.

“Each inbox has room for up to 50 gigabytes of messages and attachments. Messages can range in size all the way up to 30 megabytes.”

After a 30-day free trial (25 users and 50 gigabytes of storage per user), pricing is on a per-user, pay-as-you-go basis. You will be charged US$4 per month for a 50 gigabyte  WorkMailmailbox, or US$6 per month for a bundle that includesWorkMail and WorkDocs.

WorkMail makes use of a number of AWS services including Amazon WorkDocs (formerly Zocalo), the Directory Service, AWS Identity and Access Management, AWS Key Management Service and Amazon Simple Email Service.

Working in the cloud

“You can set up WorkMail for a new organisation in a matter of minutes,” Barr explained. “As I mentioned earlier, you can use your existing directory or you can have WorkMail set one up for you. You can send and receive email through your existing domain name by adding a TXT record (for verification of ownership) and an MX record (to route the mail to WorkMail to your existing DNS configuration).

“As a WorkMail user, you have access to all of the usual email features including calendaring, calendar sharing, tasks, contact lists, distribution lists, resource booking, public folders, and out-of-office (OOF) messages.

“The browser-based interface has a full array of features. It works with a wide variety of browsers including Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and newer (IE 9 and higher) versions of Internet Explorer. The interface gives you access to email, calendars, contacts, and tasks. You can access shared calendars and public folders, book resources, and manage your OOF,” Barr explained.

Cloud worker image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years