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Why Amazon Web Services?

Mitch Wagner

SAN FRANCISCO -- Structure 2016 -- The big four US cloud infrastructure providers have used the conference stage here to differentiate themselves from each other. Amazon -- by far the biggest of the four -- sees itself as a platform for businesses to try out new applications, often involving mobile and big data analytics.

Amazon Web Services Inc. provides "entirely new categories of applications enabling existing companies to do net new things in net new ways," Matt Wood, GM product strategy for AWS, said Wednesday.

For example, MLB outfitted its stadiums with technology to measure acceleration and timing of different players and the baseballs in play, delivering visualization of that data to TV audiences. The application runs on AWS, Wood said. (See San Diego Padres Swing for the Fences With IoT and DirecTV to Broadcast MLB Games in 4K .)

Making the Case for Amazon
Amazon's Matt Wood (left) and Steven Rosenbush, The Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal.
Amazon's Matt Wood (left) and Steven Rosenbush, The Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal.

Capital One does mobile banking on AWS, with higher security than in its own data centers, Wood added.

Biotech companies are using Amazon for analytics, with greater volumes of increasingly complex data emerging. Genomics instrumentation generates terabytes of data, and the equipment is preconfigured to stream data on to AWS, which provides analysis and data warehousing.

Unlike other cloud providers, which are invested long-term in private and hybrid clouds, Amazon sees the vast majority of workloads moving to the public cloud -- in the long run. "At AWS, we believe that in the fullness of time the majority of companies will not run their own data centers," Wood said. However, companies with existing data center investments will need to continue to maximize value from them, which means they'll need to deploy hybrid cloud. (See AWS CEO: Enterprise Data Center Is Doomed.)

Support for hybrid cloud drove a recently launched partnership between AWS and VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) to run VMware virtualization environments on AWS, to use existing tools to automate and run virtual machines across AWS and on-premises, Wood said. (See Enemies No More: Amazon & VMware Partner on Cloud.)

Historically, the data center was a competitive asset for big companies, Wood noted. AWS's mission was to "democratize" data centers, "taking the technology that only the biggest companies had access to and broadly distributing it."

Over the next decade, companies will differentiate on collecting and using data effectively to deliver business value, Wood believes.

Amazon's focus on greenfield deployments makes sense for them. Unlike competitors Microsoft and IBM, Amazon doesn't have an installed base in on-premises computing.

Microsoft and IBM have strong hybrid strategies, with large customer segments already deploying those companies' technologies internally.

Amazon doesn't have that advantage in on-premises technology, so it makes sense for them to talk up public cloud as the future.

Which doesn't make them wrong.

Microsoft sees itself as specialized in enterprise needs, with a global presence, expertise in security and compliance, hybrid connectivity, and enterprise software-as-a-service providers such as Adobe, SAP and DocuSign already running in Azure, Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group, said here Tuesday. (See Why Microsoft Azure?)

Are you a service provider executive who wants to learn more about the impact of web-scale competition on the communications sector? Join us for Light Reading's third annual 2020 Vision Executive Summit taking place in Rome, December 6-8. Contact our events team to find out if you qualify for a VIP pass.

IBM is also focused on enterprise hybrid clouds, with IBM delivering cognitive computing through its Watson cloud service.

Google's overall differentiator isn't entirely clear. However, certainly a big part of Google's value is delivering high-performance cloud services as the slowdown in Moore's Law makes performance more valuable and harder to achieve. (See Google's Hölzle: Moore's Law Slowdown Drives Cloud Demand.)

Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM are the leaders in infrastructure-as-a-service, with Amazon far ahead, according to a recent analyst report. (See Amazon Bigger in IaaS Cloud Than Microsoft, Google & IBM Combined.)

— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud

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