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The egalitarianism of the cloud

Zafar Anjum | Jan. 8, 2013
CIOs in Asia must be better prepared to compete globally and cloud computing is here to help them in this battle, says Werner Vogels, the CTO of AWS, in this exclusive interview.

Vogels said that Redshift is a unique data warehousing solution. "I am not aware of any other data warehousing service on cloud," he said. And why will it take off? "The ease of management, the reduction in cost and the tremendous speed, I think, are the three most important differentiators," he said in response.

AWS-the Journey So Far

AWS was launched in 2006. I asked Vogels about the beginnings of AWS and how far it has come. What were the milestones of this exciting journey? "If you look at the original mission of the AWS, it is to help developers and businesses, to help them build scalable and sophisticated applications," he said. "That was our original mission. Maybe in the very early days it was more geared towards developers than businesses. Enterprises realised that this was way too good a deal for them too. They could do many things that they could not do themselves. The early enterprises to use this were companies with large compute farms-financial services, pharma, oil and gas. They were our earliest customers."

Vogels accounts this success with the company's ability to connect with its customers. "We are very humble with respect to desire for our customers," he said. "We listen very closely to our customers, take feedback from them and see really what they want us to develop and allow them to draft the development agenda. If you see what we have developed over time, the different regions that we have around the world (nine regions), we are largely driven by requests and requirements of our customers."

"If you look back at the past year, a lot of our focus has been helping customers migrate from their on premise environment to the cloud. We have worked really hard this year for building a whole range of tools that makes it easy for our enterprise customers to migrate what they have on premise into the cloud using familiar technologies that they are used to. So, we have gone from (being) a very developer focused (company) at the beginning into helping our customers grow to worldwide audience and now also helping them migrate from their own data centres into the cloud."

Planting of a Seed

When AWS started, it was a new concept. When they were starting out, were there any doubts about its success?

"You see this as planting of a seed," Vogels said, building an analogy. "You know that this thing is going to grow into a big tree. You don't know how fast the tree is going to grow and what type of tree it is going to be."

"We always knew that this was going to be successful," he said. "Given the capital and intellectual investment that we had made in this product, we knew that it was going to be worthwhile in business. We just didn't know beforehand how fast it would grow. And if you would have asked me five years ago that we would be sitting here in a room at a user conference, with 6,000 people there, I probably wouldn't have predicted that. Something else we would not have predicted is the competition."


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