AWS assures customers it's atop the cloud

LAS VEGAS -- The head of Amazon Web Services told customers on Wednesday that the company is still leading the cloud market, despite all the new competition coming at it.

Andy Jassy, senior vice president of Amazon's cloud-computing business, led a two-hour keynote on the first day of its annual cloud conference re:Invent.

While he made several product announcements, including one for Kinesis Firehose, a service for loading streaming data, and another on a business intelligence service called QuickSight, his message was clear: AWS is standing up to its rivals, despite the traction and attention those rivals have been gaining.

"The cloud has become the new normal for companies of all sizes," Jassy said. "AWS has over 1 million active customers. Those are non-Amazon entities that have used the platform in the last 30 days."

He also was quick to point out that analyst firm Gartner reported that AWS has 10 times more compute capacity deployed than the other 14 cloud providers combined.

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said it's not surprising that Jassy would spend some time emphasizing AWS's top position in the cloud market, considering the oncoming competition from Google, IBM, Microsoft and Salesforce.

"I believe they are feeling some pressure, not only from companies like IBM and Microsoft but also from organizations that are building their own private clouds," he told Computerworld. "But while they are feeling more pressure than ever before, no one is close to them yet. They've had a five-year lead, but that lead is reducing."

Stephen Orban, global head of Enterprise Strategy at AWS, said the company hasn't been caught by surprise by the increasing cloud competition.

"We've always known that there was going to be a pretty competitive race for the market share in the cloud business," he told Computerworld. "If you look across global IT spend, it has be into the trillions of dollars. It makes sense there are so many vendors fighting for that pie."

Orban added that he's not worried about the rivals moving behind AWS.

"AWS has had a massive head start," he added. "We have nine and a half years of doing that, and over a million customers. When you hit that point of scale, which no other provider has hit yet, it continues to play to our advantage."

While Jassy stayed away from naming his company's biggest rivals, there was a thinly veiled slap to Google, showing slides of news articles about unhappy Google customers with the company name only partially blacked out.

"It's not just that we have a lot more services than any other provider. We have a lot more features," he said.

Jassy also listed a broad range of AWS customers, flashing the names of companies like Shell, TicketMaster, GE, Netflix, Boeing and Dole on the giant screen in back of him.

Rob Alexander, CIO of Capital One, a major U.S. financial company, took the keynote stage to say that his company is turning to the AWS cloud to more quickly and efficiently build a better mobile experience for its customers.

"This is a game changer for Capital One," Alexander said. "We want to be in the business of building great apps for our customers ... One of the reasons I'm standing here today is because it's a great draw for talent. We have thousands of open roles we need to fill at Capital One, and we need great engineering talent."

Jim Fowler, CIO of General Electric (GE), also spoke during the keynote, saying his company is undergoing one of the largest and most important transformations in its 140-year history.

"The world is changing. We have to go digital going forward," Fowler said. "We have 9,000 apps across the business ... and too many data centers to talk about. Self service and automation have to be the motto of everything we do."

GE has worked with AWS for the past four years. The company plans to migrate more than 9,000 workloads onto the AWS cloud platform over the next three years.

"We intend to move more than 60% of our workload onto AWS," added Fowler. "It's not probably. It's inevitable and we're moving with AWS."


Sharon Gaudin

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