AWS Summit London: Convenience, Safety, and Glass Houses
We’ve just wrapped up the AWS Summit that took place here in London earlier this week. While there were no new service announcements (unlike at the San Francisco summit), Amazon CTO Werner Vogels made some very interesting points in his keynote that I think are worth taking a closer look at.
Werner made the point that AWS sees themselves as “shifting the balance of power from IT providers to IT consumers.” And they are. AWS doesn’t stall you with contracts—a startup can be up and running on the same infrastructure that Netflix uses in minutes. AWS is quickly becoming the Amazon.com of IT services, with same day delivery of everything from virtual desktops, to high-performance computing clusters, to machine learning workbenches.
The old contractual “lock-in” is gone, but the increase in breadth and depth of AWS services has very effectively replaced it with an addiction to “IT convenience.” As we know from using Amazon Prime, it’s not easy to forego all that convenience once you get used to it. Don’t worry—cost management tools like Cloudability can help you keep track of your spending.
Capacity Planning? What’s That?
Werner claims that “with the cloud there is no longer any capacity planning,” and he’s right.
In the past, whenever you built a new application, you had to carefully forecast its usage in order to figure out the type and quantity of hardware you needed to run it on. This was a very time consuming process with a lot of second guessing—if you miscalculated that your application was going to be memory intensive and it turned out to eat CPU for breakfast, you were pretty much stuck or facing project delays.
Fast forward to today, where AWS offers seven different instance families that are designed for different compute workloads. Now if you choose the wrong hardware, it’s a few clicks to fix that kind of mistake. As Werner says, “You can make mistakes—just switch instance types.”
All true, but there’s a subtle underlying message being delivered here: run like the wind to get your app out there, because we’ve got your back with infrastructure and services to get around whatever roadblock you run into.
My take is that AWS is creating a giant safety-net for IT teams to run fast on their cloud.
Safety In Numbers
Security is one of the top issues that prevents companies from moving their applications to the cloud. The perception often is that the cloud is less secure because you cannot control the entire physical stack.
Werner’s view on this was that “security in the cloud is much stronger than on-premise.” You might think this is a predictable thing for him to say, but I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve heard anyone at AWS make this claim. There’s more than bravado here. Werner’s point was that working with lots of high end, security-conscious customers results in a constant stream of security improvements that goes back into AWS services. It’s very likely we’ll never even hear about most of these.
The cloud used to be the glass house that security kids like to throw stones at. Now, according to Werner, it sounds like the rocks are starting to bounce off the glass.
Between Werner’s keynote here in London and Jassy’s in San Francisco last week, there are a lot of signals as to how AWS thinks about the market and where they might be headed next.
Speaking of next, the Cloudability team continues its world tour. Stay tuned for more news as we head to Sydney, Australia, where we’ll visit with customers and see what AWS has up their sleeves at the AWS Summit there later this week.