LAS VEGAS—While the rest of the world's cloud service providers are still getting their shops in order, Amazon Web Services keeps widening the gap between itself and everyone else.
At the annual re:Invent here this week, AWS Senior Vice President Andy Jassy presented the usual superlative numbers of revenue growth (up 81 percent year over year), Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instance usage (up 95 percent) and database usage (up 127 percent), and pointed out that AWS is about as far to the upper right corner of the Gartner Magic Quadrant as it can be.
He also pointed out that Amazon Aurora, the MySQL-compatible relational database service, unveiled at last year's re:Invent, has surpassed Amazon's RedShift data warehouse as AWS' fastest-growing service.
But Amazon's biggest announcements this week, in particular the cloud-based BI service QuickSight, have Jassy's eyes fixed on AWS's next target: the enterprise.
For the past few years, statements about AWS and the enterprise sounded a lot like the early days of Linux and the enterprise. Was it ready? It took a while, but today Linux is all over the data center, especially the cloud data center. At the Oct. 7 keynote, speaking about Accenture's new AWS Business Group, Jassy said there was nothing stopping AWS in the enterprise now. "Giddy up!" he said.
In the Future, Data Centers Will Be Fewer, Smaller
"Over the fullness of time, relatively few companies will have their own data centers," he told the media later. "Those that do will have much smaller footprints. And those that have data centers will be running in hybrid mode"—which, he added, will be one of the functions of the Accenture partnership. And, as usual, partners such as Logicworks, 2nd Watch, Datapipe and hundreds of other AWS Marketplace vendors are there to fill a need in private, hybrid and public clouds and everything in between.
It will take a while for that vision to be achieved, obviously, but the momentum is clear and, more importantly, enterprises are taking bigger and bigger bites of the cloud pie.
A couple of this week's announcements will help make the migration to cloud even easier. The new AWS Database Migration service allows users to migrate from any on- premises database to its counterpart in the AWS cloud. And the AWS Schema Conversion Tool allows users to migrate from one database type to another.
Two other new tools, AWS Config Rules and Amazon Inspector, give users more control over security and compliance.
In addition to the new services, what really separates AWS is its focus on the future rather than its "old guard" competitors' focus on the past in the form of living off software maintenance contracts.
Knocks Oracle for Its Tactics
Jassy took a none-too-veiled shot at Oracle on that topic during his keynote. "We are extremely long-term-oriented," he remarked, saying that AWS is not calling customers on the last day of the quarter pushing a sale on something trying to make quota. "We don't want to make money from our customers if they are not getting value out of it."
Jassy claimed that due to AWS's programmatic checks on customer usage, AWS was able to save users $500 million on an annualized basis. "How many technology companies will call their customers to stop using to the tune of half a billion a year?" he asked.
What that means is that AWS can win the enterprise—but not the old enterprise. It's winning a new, different enterprise. It's not the enterprise of yesterday; it's the enterprise of tomorrow, in the cloud.
Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture, at TechTarget. Before that, he was the director, Editorial Operations, at Ziff Davis Enterprise. While at Ziff Davis Media, he was a writer and editor at eWEEK. No investment advice is offered in his blog. All duties are disclaimed. Scot works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.