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5 key takeaways from Amazon's big cloud day

Brandon Butler | July 11, 2014
Amazon Web Services continued to push the IaaS market forward today by challenging established cloud players like Box and Dropbox with the company's own document collaboration platform and rolling out new features to its public cloud focused on supporting mobile applications.

Amazon targets, and shows off, enterprise customers

Perhaps equally as important as the new products launched were the portions of the keynote where Amazon customers shared their experiences using the company's platform. One perception the company is attempting to overcome is that it is focused on startups and developers, but not enterprise users. One way to get more enterprise customers is to show nervous potentially customers that their peers are using your platform.

Vogels outlined how startup Airbnb - which processes 150,000 stays per night on its site - has grown from using about 400 Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) servers a year ago to now more than 1,300. The company has a five-person IT team that manages it all in Amazon's cloud. Siemens, which had $5.5 billion in sales last year, uses Amazon's cloud to process HIPAA-complaint diagnostic images. Publishing company Conde Nast is selling its data center and servers because it's moving into AWS's cloud. It's one thing to have enterprise customers using your cloud-based platform in some small test and development capacity; it's another for them to be shutting down data centers in favor of using the public cloud.

Amazon eats its partners

Another new product the company launched today is named Logs for CloudWatch. Last year Amazon released CloudTrail, which is a stream of information customers can sign up for that reports every action that is made in a user's account. That information alone is not extraordinarily valuable because it needs to be processed in a way that makes sense. A variety of third-party AWS partners have taken that data and made applications out of it that customers can use to track their cloud usage and find unusual behavior. Today, Amazon rolled out some of those features themselves.

The point here is that Amazon continues to develop features in its cloud, even if it has partnering companies who do the same thing. AWS has done this before; it made life difficult for companies that had built up cost optimization tools when it launched its own service that does the same thing named Trusted Advisor. It can be tough being an Amazon partner; the key for these vendors is staying ahead of Amazon's fast innovation cycle.

Lots of interest

One of the most notable aspects of the day was the amount of interest it drew. AWS said that more than 10,000 people registered to attend the event, which included a keynote by CTO Werner Vogels and then breakout sessions throughout the afternoon. Thousands of others watched a live stream. The biggest takeaway of all is that the cloud is real, and a lot of people are interested in it.


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