Androm -

AWS CEO Andy Jassy urges cloud laggards to stop trying to ‘fight gravity’

During a fireside chat during the first AWS Summit Online, cloud giant’s CEO held forth on how the firm is responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and the trends he is seeing with how some enterprises are approaching cloud adoption

CIOs that continue to drag their feet on moving to the public cloud need to stop trying to “fight gravity”, claims Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy.

The adoption of public cloud technologies continues apace in enterprises operating across all verticals, as CIOs seek to tap into the well-documented benefits of moving more of their IT applications and workloads off-premise.

During a fireside chat at this year’s first virtual AWS Summit Online, Jassy acknowledged that resistance to moving to the cloud still endures in some enterprises, despite the well-documented cost, scalability and business agility benefits that cloud can provide.

CIOs and business leaders who continue to resist the move to cloud will find it increasingly difficult to retain this stance as time goes on in the face of these benefits, he said, as the reasons for continuing to run and retain their own datacentres becoming increasingly uncompelling.

“At the end of the day, you could not want something to happen all you want, but you can’t fight gravity,” said Jassy. “If there’s something that’s really good for customers or for businesses, it is going to move that way whether you want to or not. So I think the cloud is very much like that.”

As well as those attempting to “fight gravity” where cloud is concerned, Jassy identified another group of cloud adopters who are tentatively taking steps to move more of their enterprise applications and workloads off-premise, but not at any kind of pace that will see them reap the full benefits of doing so.

“They know that they should move to the cloud, they understand conceptually why they’re getting pressure from their CEO or from their board [to do so] and a lot of times they just kind of dip their toe in the water a little bit to appease the people that are pushing them – but they end up never really committing,” he said.

“But the problem with that is that while all your competitors have really gone all the way in and are moving much more quickly, and much more cost-effectively, you’re still kind of in this experimental phase where you haven’t transformed your company.

“And you are operating with lots of different environments, and until you actually make the commitment to move, you’re operating with two different infrastructures, which means you’ve got this financial bubble as you’re making that change.”

A recurring theme of discussion at this year’s summit, which moved online for the first time in accordance with the coronavirus-related restrictions on mass gatherings, was how the pandemic has shaped Amazon’s own business, and influenced its customers’ usage patterns.

As previously reported by Computer Weekly, the coronavirus lockdown has led to a surge in demand for online shopping deliveries, as retailers across the globe have shuttered their bricks-and-mortar sites during lockdown.

In response, Amazon’s retail business has embarked on a series of “out of season” recruitment drives to ensure its fulfilment centres have sufficient staffing levels to handle the uptick in demand for the online goods it sells.

Read more about AWS

AWS, meanwhile, has played an important role in supporting businesses and consumers through the pandemic to date, given that its public cloud is used to host part of the infrastructure underpinning the videoconferencing service Zoom, for example, said Jassy.

He said it is also responsible for providing a home to many of the major streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Hulu, and gaming platforms – such as the Sony Playstation Network – that consumers have turned to during the pandemic.

The pandemic has also served to highlight the differences in the business models and resiliency between AWS and its competitors, said Jassy, making thinly-veiled references made to the outages and generalised capacity issues some of its public cloud rivals have run into in recent weeks.

For instance, during the early weeks of the pandemic, Microsoft Azure users reported issues with accessing resources run out of some of its European datacentres, as the software giant grappled with the surge in enterprise demand for its portfolio of cloud services.

Meanwhile, the IBM Cloud suffered a global outage earlier this month that left users of its off-premise platforms unable to access several core services within its cloud portfolio.  

“I still think that people don’t really understand how incredibly large a logistics and operational challenge the cloud is,” said Jassy.

“If you land too much [capacity], you have a very wasteful and ineffective cost structure, and [if you have] too little, you run out of capacity and have outages, as seen in some of the other providers in the last several weeks. So it’s an incredibly hard logistical challenge.”

Read more on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Data Center
Data Management