Amazon Web Services has leveraged its head start in the cloud space to address a nagging barrier to greater cloud adoption in the enterprise -- the ability to bridge internal corporate IT infrastructure with the cloud in a secure, reliable and cost-efficient way.
SEATTLE-Amazon Web Services has leveraged its head
start in the cloud space to address a nagging barrier to greater cloud adoption
in the enterprise-the ability to bridge internal corporate IT infrastructure
with the cloud in a secure, reliable and cost-efficient way.
The company's release of the Amazon
Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) enables this and, hopefully, though Amazon
officials are reluctant to say, helps put to rest competitor claims that
Amazon's Web services business might be more of an experiment by a huge
retailer than the serious competitor the organization has become, as quiet as
it has been kept.
Amazon officials, such as Adam Selipsky, vice president of product
management and developer relations at the company, maintain that Amazon's head
start in the cloud is "an important advantage" for the company.
"Very few advantages are eternal or indeterminate," Selipsky said.
"But I don't think there's a substitute for the learning we've had over
the last three and a half years." Selipsky spoke with eWEEK in a wide
ranging interview at AWS offices here.
Perhaps some will argue over whether or not Amazon even has a head start in
the cloud, though the company was clearly among the first, if not the first, to
generate revenue selling generic, horizontally focused cloud computing as a
service. That translates to a head start. Salesforce.com began pushing its
cloud-based CRM solution earlier and has
been very successful, but that was a more specific offering and another story.
Since then Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, VMware and others have entered the fray
announcing or preannouncing products and strategies that leverage the cloud.
Selipsky echoed other AWS officials who display something of an "Aw,
shucks" attitude to the company's continued success in the cloud space.
"We are surprised that there haven't been more companies out on the market
with broad, horizontal platforms that look and behave like ours," he said.
"AWS has had platforms and services on the market for more than three
years now-since 2006. S3 [Amazon's Simple Storage Service] alone has over 64
billion objects in it."
At an event in New York in the
fall of 2008, Mike
Culver, a Web services evangelist for Amazon, said a very similar thing:
"We were really surprised that we were able to take off as fast as we did
and maintain our lead."
However, going a step further, Selipsky said, "We see this shaping up
to be a very big market. I think enterprises, SMBs and startups are indicating
the direction they're moving, and the cloud will be part of the IT landscape
for years to come. In any large market there are going to be multiple winners.
We expect to be one of those winners."
Yet, a knock against Amazon has been, despite any head start, whether the
company has the capacity to scale not only to support the growing needs of
large enterprise customers, but also to sustain the onslaught of deep-pocketed,
indefatigable competitors such as Microsoft.
In another eWEEK story from last fall, John
Shewchuk, a Microsoft distinguished engineer, appeared to look beyond
Amazon when discussing Microsoft's plans to deliver cloud services. Said
"We're probably one of the biggest acquirers of data center space around the
world. I think you've probably seen these statistics. There's Google, there's
Microsoft, Amazon to a degree, but really we're making a massive, massive,
massive investment in having the computational capabilities, the Internet connectivity
capabilities and the geo-presence to be a leader in that business. Now, it's a
little bit hard to see what we're doing until we bring more of those pieces
together, but I think you'll be excited about the work that we're doing in that
At the same time, Selipsky seems bemused at the notion of Amazon being
viewed as a solution for SMBs or mom and pop operations. "Our services
have been tested and used for mission-critical applications by thousands of
customers, and I'm slightly surprised there haven't been more competitive
offerings," he said. "We've had large enterprises-Fortune 50
companies-using us from Day 1. Microsoft was even a launch customer of S3. It's
true we've created a lot of excitement and usage among startups and VCs, but at
the same time we've seen significant interest, testing, integration and
adoption by enterprises of all sizes."
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.