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AWS CEO says enterprise appetites for proprietary database tech are waning

Speaking at the Re:Invent 2017 Partner Summit Keynote, AWS CEO Andy Jassy hits out at the firm's cloud competitors, and says the functionality gap between them all is widening

Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy has stuck the boot into the proprietary database provider community by claiming enterprises are desperate to abandon their technologies in favour of cheaper and better-performing alternatives.

Jassy told delegates, during the Partner Summit Keynote at the annual AWS Re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, that – in his experience – finding enterprises happy to be using the technology offered by commercial database software suppliers is rare.

“I don’t meet an enterprise customer that isn’t looking to flee from the old guard commercial database provider they are using today. I don’t have one meeting where they’re using one of these providers and they aren’t looking to change,” he said.

He then urged the company’s partner community – which consists of a mix of resellers, independent software suppliers and system integrators – to follow the money and consider the long-term business prospects of supporting a technology enterprises are slowly losing interest in.

“Many people have these business practices, Oracle practices as an example, and I’m sure those business are good businesses, but they are not what customers want, and I challenge you to find a lot of customers using Oracle who are happy about it,” he said.

“So you have to decide whose side are you going to be on: Are you going to be on the side of customers or are you going to be on the side of pushing an existing business that is frankly going to change regardless of whether we want it to change or not?”

Jassy’s comments could see the long-running war of words between AWS and Oracle, over who rules the roost in the relational database space, reignited.

The pair have repeatedly locked horns on this subject since AWS debuted the preview release of Aurora at Re:Invent 2014, which is pitched as a faster and cheaper alternative to the proprietary relational database technologies offered by the likes of IBM and Oracle.

In response, Oracle CTO, Larry Ellison, has publicly slammed AWS’s portfolio of database technologies, which include Redshift, Dynamo and Aurora, for being behind the times and putting users at risk of lock-in.

Computer Weekly contacted Oracle for a response to Jassy’s comments, but had not received a reply at the time of publication.

Points of competitive difference

Jassy also used the keynote to highlight some competitive points of differentiation between AWS and its other cloud competitors, and how the gap between the company and its rivals is widening as a result.

Particularly where their rates of innovation are concerned, with Jassy revealing the firm will announce around 70 additional capabilities for its cloud platform at Re:Invent. This will be on top of the 1,300 “significant services and features” he said the firm has already unveiled in 2017.

Read more about cloud

  • Oracle CTO Larry Ellison criticises Amazon Web Services as a cloud database environment at Oracle Open World 2016, fleshing out earlier critique.
  • With analysts citing Amazon’s speedy product release cycles as a major source of competitive difference for the cloud firm, AWS CEO Andy Jassy opens up about how it keeps its innovation engine ticking over.

”The pace and innovation in AWS is continuing to accelerate, and because we have so much more functionality and capability than anyone else by a large amount – and we’re innovating at a faster clip – when you really get into the detail and study the platforms, the gap in functionality is continuing to widen,” he said.

Referencing the company’s most recent set of financial results, which peg the firm as being an $18bn business, growing at a rate of 42%, Jassy said enterprise adoption of cloud is still in its relative infancy.

“It’s still the early stages of the meat of enterprise and public sector adoption, [and] the vast majority of mainstream enterprises are just now starting to plan their broad-scale migrations,” he said.

“That’s in the US. Outside of the US, it’s about 12-to-36 months behind. We’re at the early stages still, but it’s growing very quickly,” he added.

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