I’m just back from re:Invent, the Amazon Web Services (AWS) conference covering all things cloud. AWS is the largest public cloud provider by far and its speed of innovation is mind-boggling. re:Invent is always a great forum for getting the pulse of the industry and this year’s event underscored how astonishingly fast the cloud is growing. More than 19,000 guests attended with additional 38,000 watching on the live stream. The enterprise customers showcased included some major corporations like General Electric and Capital One.
Andy Jassy, SVP of AWS led a two-hour keynote on the first day of re:Invent and provided some numbers to illustrate the staggering pace of growth it is seeing. AWS has more than one million active customers. Its EC2 instance usage has almost doubled since last year. Data transfer on its Simple Storage Service (S3) has increased 120 percent year over year.
AWS is today the fastest growing multi-billion dollar enterprise IT company in the world, with total annual revenue growth of 80 percent. And this success hasn’t slowed down its pace of AWS innovation. AWS announced a long list of new services aimed at helping large enterprises transition to the cloud.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Baird Equity Research says AWS represents less than five percent of global datacenter spend today and less than one percent of the roughly $1.2 trillion enterprise/software IT services market.
There were also some compelling messages from AWS customers to go with these numbers. CapitalOne runs its core customer facing applications on AWS and during re:Invent CapitalOne Chief Information Officer Robert Alexander told an audience of more than 70,000 that he believes AWS is more secure than the company’s own datacenters. It was a remarkable statement from a major credit card company and one of the top 10 banks in the world, and a company that holds a great responsibility to not only process large volumes of transactions but to protect personal customer financial data.
Another endorsement came from GE CIO Jim Fowler, who essentially said data centers were passé. Fowler said that GE is undergoing the largest transformation of its 140-year history and that cloud technology is at the heart of the change. "The world is changing. We have to go digital going forward," Fowler said. "We have 9,000 apps across the business ... and too many data centers to talk about. Self-service and automation have to be the motto of everything we do." Fowler said that GE is closing entire datacenters as it moves more of its workloads to the cloud. In fact, cloud technology has moved so swiftly that for GE, success is measured by how many datacenters it can replace with cloud deployments.
These statements are extremely significant for a number of reasons:
- First, they show that cloud technology isn’t just for startups or greenfield IT anymore. Just two years ago, AWS was showcasing Netflix as its largest enterprise customer. GE, by contrast, is one of the ten largest corporations in the U.S.
- Second, Capital One’s endorsement of AWS security means that risk is really no longer a factor in cloud adoption. Eliminating the risk question eliminates a major barrier to even broader cloud deployment.
- And finally, there is the matter of massive cost savings and business agility. When you come to understand the cloud as a technology that can not just supplement traditional infrastructure but replace it altogether, you open the door to staggering savings. As those of us in the business are fond of saying, “Friends don’t let friends build datacenters.”
Thus, in a few short years, the cloud has gone from an interesting idea to being accepted in the mainstream, and has now become the de facto standard for the vast majority of enterprises today. It represents the largest disruption in enterprise computing since the PC.
As with any technological disruption, there are the "disrupted" and the "disrupting". We at Nouvola are thrilled to be part of the leading edge among this massive paradigm shift in the global technology landscape - and we're excited to contribute to what's next.
After all, as Andy Jassy put it, the cloud is now completely normal. So here's to the next wave of big innovation!