AWS burnishes its enterprise credentials with host of goodies
By Edwin Yapp October 9, 2015
- New services, an appliance and new partnership announced at re:Invent 2015
- All to burnish its enterprise cloud credentials, but key would be implementation
CLOUD giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced new services, a hardware appliance, and a strategic partnership with consulting firm Accenture – all of which the company said are designed to help enterprises make their journey to the cloud more easy, reliable and secure.
The announcements reinforce what the Seattle, Washington-based cloud arm of Amazon.com tried to convey last year at its annual re:Invent conference: That the cloud is the ‘new normal,’ and that AWS is ready for prime time as a serious enterprise cloud solutions provider.
Speaking to 19,000 delegates at this week’s re:Invent 2015 in Las Vegas, AWS cloud chief Andy Jassy (pic above) said AWS gives companies the freedom to innovate and developers “to build software in an unfettered” manner.
He said the AWS cloud gives freedom for enterprises that want to innovate quickly “to say ‘yes’ to new innovation” because they will not be held back by costs and other considerations that haunt “traditional IT.”
“Essentially, it’s about freedom and control over their own destiny,” he told partners, customers, analysts and members of the media during his two-hour long keynote address at the Sands Convention and Expo.
The new announcements include:
- Amazon QuickSight, a cloud-powered business intelligence (BI) service catering to non-technical personnel, designed to help them quickly get business insights from their data;
- AWS Database Migration Service, which allows customers to migrate their production Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL, as well as a new database flavour – MariaDB – to AWS with virtually no downtime;
- AWS Schema Conversion Tool, which makes it easy for enterprise customers to switch database engines;
- Amazon Kinesis Firehose, a fully managed service for loading streaming data onto AWS;
- AWS Snowball, a hardware appliance designed to enable petabyte-scale data transport that can securely transfer 50TB (terabytes) per appliance per time of data into and out of AWS; and
- The Accenture AWS Business Group, which brings together dedicated professionals to help enterprise clients move unto the AWS Cloud.
Jassy stuck to the same script as last year, bringing a slew of customers, both large and small, on stage to drive home the point that AWS is ready for the enterprise.
This year, the lineup included General Electric chief information officer (CIO) Jim Fowler; finance company Capital One CIO Rob Alexander; Major League Baseball Advanced Media chief technology officer Joe Inzerillo; and payment tech company Stripes manager Jorge Ortiz.
All executives testified as to how they had benefited from AWS’s services and expertise, without which it would not have been possible for them to innovate and bring their services to the market in a quick and cost-effective manner.
Digital News Asia (DNA) spoke to some analysts on the sidelines of re:Invent 2015, who said the announcements were intended to boost AWS’ credibility as a serious cloud service provider that could cater to the needs of enterprises, which include managing their mission-critical workloads.
Gartner research director Michael Warrilow said the announcements were made to “solidify” AWS’ position as a serious cloud player for traditional enterprises.
“It’s like the icing on top of a cake,” he told DNA.
“Given what AWS is known for, which is Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), this move is more about solidifying and continuing to make its services enterprise-ready.
“Last year, it did good work on encryption and identity management. This year, the exciting stuff is around big data and analytics [QuickSight], database migration, schema conversion – all of which is the smart extension from IaaS into data-type services,” he said.
With AWS, it is easy for customers to get a basic environment running, Warrilow argued. The key challenge now is to get customers to use its data and value-added services more.
“Having a bit of data services helps AWS compete against its rivals as the more customers use these services, the stickier the platform is – and customers are going to stay with them for longer.
“It’s particularly important for AWS to build stickiness as the competition such as Microsoft Corp has deep roots with its customers,” he said.
Forrester Research senior analyst Naveen Chhabra said that the messaging at this year’s re:Invent was clearly that AWS was trying to remove all barriers for enterprises to adopt the public cloud.
Historically speaking, public cloud players were not seen as being able to cater to enterprise needs, but over the years, this trend has begun to change, he said.
“Enterprise requirements are different and are focused on business applications, but this is where public cloud providers have begun moving into, including AWS,” he said.
“AWS’ portfolio is increasing to an extent that now enterprises can consume services from the public cloud and be confident that their requirements can be met,” he added.
Naveen described the AWS Snowball appliance as one good example of how the company was trying to make it easy for enterprise data to be moved to its cloud.
He also highlighted the alliance AWS has formed with Accenture, which he said would instil confidence in CIOs that AWS can meet enterprise requirements.
However, Naveen said it is still too early to say whether AWS would be able to pull all these strategies off, as all it has done is to talk about it – the true test will come with execution.
“It’s important to see how effectively these innovative solutions are implemented, especially when they are actually rolled out,” he said.
Edwin Yapp reports from AWS re:Invent 2015 in Las Vegas, at the invitation of Amazon.com Inc. All editorials are independent.
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