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AWS CEO hails "changing of the guard" in enterprise IT on the back of cloud growth

AWS CEO Andy Jassy hits out at “old guard” enterprise IT suppliers, while talking up his company’s ability to out-sell and out-innovate them

The “old guard” technology suppliers are feeling the pinch from Amazon Web Services’ (AWS’) ability to out-perform them from both a product release and enterprise growth perspective, according to AWS CEO Andy Jassy.

Jassy used the opening keynote of the AWS Re:Invent customer conference to stick the boot into the cloud firm’s competitors on multiple fronts, starting with their attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of enterprise IT leaders with their datacentre expansion plans.

It is not uncommon, he said, for cloud firms to talk up the launch of a new geographic datacentre region when – in reality – it may only consist of a single site or a few server racks in a local colocation facility.

With uptime and availability a top concern for CIOs, this type of approach is why some of its competitors sometimes struggle to win over enterprises with their cloud propositions, he said.

“We have these constructs called regions. It’s a place in the world with multiple datacentres we called availability zones. It’s a little bit of a different approach to the some of the later-coming cloud providers that will launch a region with just one datacentre,” he said.

“It’s partly why you don’t see a lot of meaningful workloads being run in those regions because companies that care about availability want to make sure they architecture their applications so they work across multiple datacentres.”

Competitor baiting

Warming to his theme, Jassy also talked up the company’s ability to out-innovate its competitors, while offering its customers a broader and deeper range of cloud services than they can.

“If you look at the AWS platform, we’ve built a very robust and fully featured infrastructure platform. We have more than 70 services, and we have a more services than you’ll find anywhere else by a large amount,” he said.

“So [we have] a fully featured, very robust technology infrastructure platform – with a lot more capability than you’ll find anywhere else – and we’re also iterating at a faster clip than anybody.”

To back this point, he pointed to the company’s quickening release cadence for new services and features, launching 280 of them in 2013 compared with close to a thousand this year.

“Think about that, as a builder on the AWS platform, every day you wake up on average with three new capabilities you can choose to use,” he said.

In line with this, the company is building out its range of cloud instances to accommodate the wide variety of workloads enterprise customers have, which may have higherinput/output (I/O) and memory requirements.

Among these is a Field Programmable Gate Array-based (FPGA), hardware-accelerated instance, which the company said is a cloud first.

On the release front, the company continued its ongoing trend of rolling out products designed to simplify complex processes that may have previously put off enterprises from shifting more of their workloads to the cloud, with the roll-out of its Amazon Lightsail offering.

Aimed at developers, the service is designed to allow users to deploy a virtual private server (VPS) in just a few clicks, without needing to get bogged down having to configure storage, set up security groups or DNS and IP addresses.

If users do want to get more hands-on with the service later down the line, they can, said Jassy.

Changing of the guard

This type of innovation, and the speed at which Amazon is able to roll it out, are reasons why the company is outperforming the “old guard” IT companies, with Jassy name-checking IBM, Oracle and Microsoft as examples of firms that fall into this category.

“There is a real changing of the guard happening now. The old guard companies are either contracting or growing at [slow pace]. These are companies such as Oracle, IBM or Microsoft,” said Jassy.

“The new guard, at the same time, are rising to become the technology partners of the next couple of decades for companies. AWS continues to be the fastest growing billion dollar-plus enterprise IT company, growing at 55% year-over-year,” he added.

In days gone by, one of the reasons why these “old guard” firms succeeded was because it was harder and more expensive for enterprises to put the claims they made about products and services to the test, but cloud has changed all of that, said Jassy.

“These old guard leaders would stand up and make all kinds of wild claims, manipulate benchmarks to suit their own purposes or take out full-page ads claiming whatever they claim and you had no ability to know what was real. You’d have to make a buying decision before you could actually figure it out,” he said.

“With the cloud, that’s not the case. That ship has sailed. The reality is, any of these [cloud] technology infrastructure providers will allow you to benchmark their services, test these services for any period of time so you get to make an educated decision about what the best platform is for you. That’s a good world for customers.” 

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