The future of AWS: From big data to content delivery networks
By Jason Tee
Keeping up with the latest happenings at Amazon Web Services is a full time job. As demand for cloud services and infrastructure increases year on year, AWS is positioning itself to become ever more indispensable to the enterprise client. How, you ask? Well, here are just four of the many ways the web services giant is continuing its conquest to dominate the enterprise programming world.
Does the government's stamp of approval make you feel AWS is more trustworthy? Do you feel more secure about AWS than you did two years ago?
Come hither, big data
There, there, Dear. You didn't think you could actually host all those petabytes of data in your private, on-premise enterprise database did you? Open those tightly fisted fingers and let the data flow into the cloud where it belongs. That wasn't so bad, now, was it?
Amazon's CTO Werner Vogels says the cloud is the natural place for big data. It's not just about having enough storage space for the burgeoning data store. Businesses must have the management and computing capacity to use their data for real-time analytics. Hadoop may soon be an invisible as-a-service layer with a BI analytics layer on top. Doug Henschen at Information Week says, "It would be interesting (and not terribly surprising) to see Amazon acquire or invest in BI and analytics technologies for Hadoop and other platforms."
How Low Can You Go?
AWS boasts about having made more than 30 price cuts since 2006. This year alone, there have been about half a dozen. Notably, Amazon recently announced a price reduction of up to 80 percent on EC2 Dedicated Instances. These single-tenant hardware instances are a favorite for enterprise since they tend to be more compliant with strict corporate or industry regulations for privacy and security. Amazon RDS is also lowering on-demand prices globally for MySQL and Oracle BYOL (bring your own license) customers. This move is certainly in alignment with the AWS strategy to ingratiate itself with data customers.
In an interesting twist, Microsoft has vowed to price match AWS for storage, bandwidth and compute services. AWS says that MS can bring it on. They have nothing to fear and believe that more choices in the marketplace will simply drive more cloud adoption. It will be fun to see the two technology providers acting like retail supermarkets, offering to match any price from another grocery store if you bring in the circular.
Uncle Sam wants AWS
Earlier this year, AWS announced that it had received two ATOs (Agency Authority to Operate) permissions from the Department of Health and Human Services. This is the latest big government victory for Amazon under the FedRAMP program. The more AWS can prove itself in the public agency sector, the more cred it gets with enterprises. Having the ATOs on file will also make it easier for additional government agencies to adopt AWS products and services. Not surprisingly, Amazon is ramping up the Webinars for this target audience, touting the ITAR compliant AWS GovCloud US Region as the ideal environment for Controlled Unclassified Information workloads.
What's next for AWS?
Amazon is notoriously tight-lipped about discussing potential features until they are ready for deployment. But various spokespersons have given big picture hints. For example, CloudFront (the AWS Content Delivery Network) is planning to extend dynamic and static CDN to a larger customer base. New locations across the globe will help manage volume and decrease latency. This follows Amazon's recent pattern of rolling out a new feature for big business and then following up with bite sized versions to capture the lower scale but high volume end of the market.
Overall security is also at the top of Amazon's to do list. The company goes to great lengths to point out that its current security features for private companies are already able to meet the needs of a typical enterprise customer. The provider is currently looking to further expand its security offerings with more extensive encryption features and hosted intrusion protection appliances. According to Stephen Schmidt, chief information security officer at Amazon Web Services, "Amazon's road to improve encryption functionality has already started with the recent addition of Oracle Transparent Data Encryption to its Relational Database Service (RDS), and with the introduction of CloudHSM, a service that uses a separate appliance to protect cryptographic keys used for encryption."
What new features would you like to see from AWS? What rumors have you heard about their next big reveal? Let us know.
07 Sep 2013