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The Cloud Lines Blurring at AWS re:Invent

I spent last week in Las Vegas at the AWS re:Invent show and it was a great week – and not just because I love Vegas! As Co-Founder and CTO of 6fusion I spend a lot of time evaluating new cloud technologies and cloud trends, and then leveraging the best cloud technologies into our technology platform for our customers’ and partners’ benefit. We have an advanced cloud platform that is pushing the boundaries of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and cloud federation.

That’s one of the reasons I enjoyed the AWS re:Invent conference, because it’s great to see an industry leader and very large company like Amazon also pushing the boundaries of what’s next. For those that weren’t able to attend the conference, here are some highlights that I found interesting:

1. AWS launched 2 new services last week that are of interest:

First, the AWS data warehousing service they launched in beta and are calling Redshift is interesting not only because of the order of magnitude lower costs, but also because it is fully managed – data warehousing-as-a-service if you can call it that. Amazon takes care of all the set up, maintenance and scaling of the data warehouse.

Second, AWS Simple Workflow Service (SWS), also launched in beta, is a workflow service aimed at asynchronous and distributed processing needs for applications. This obviously encourage application development and deployment in AWS, but is also interesting because you don’t necessarily have to use AWS for the application. You can leverage SWS only for workflow processing-as-a-service without having to develop and coordinate tasks across distributed applications, again fully managed and maintained by Amazon.

2. Both of the services launched last week are indicative of a move by AWS toward a data-centric, IT in the cloud world where gathering, organizing and processing relevant data is becoming a competitive differentiator. AWS is moving this way by expanding platform-as-a-service (PaaS) on top of the IaaS foundation they have established. If you look at services such as Beanstalk, CloudFormation, Identity and Access Management (IAM), and others you see services that support the development, integration, operation and management of applications in AWS. These are PaaS services and cloud software applications that support building more robust applications on AWS. I expect to more of this coming in future product announcements from AWS.

3. The move to build more PaaS services is a highly logical move for AWS to drive additional usage of AWS infrastructure, something Andy Jassy (AWS SVP) commented on in his keynote presentation. He referenced a virtuous circle of growth AWS is experiencing where reduced prices leads to more customers, which leads to more AWS utilization, which leads to more IaaS that AWS builds, which gives AWS better economies of scale, which lowers infrastructure costs, which reduces prices and the circle continues. We’ve recently seen AWS and Google drop prices on compute and storage.

4. Andy Jassy also referenced a few other things in his keynote worth noting regarding the adoption of cloud computing and IaaS. First, you no longer need to guess about capacity anymore like you do when build your own infrastructure. I completely agree and this is a foundational component of 6fusion’s technology platform and the WAC. Getting detailed IT resource consumption data is key to understanding exactly how many resources you need regardless of where they are being sourced from. Second, companies can now stop spending resources on undifferentiated “heavy lifting” involved in infrastructure. As much as I hate to call infrastructure undifferentiated, he’s right. Today infrastructure and computing capacity does not differentiate – it’s critically important to run any organization but the day-to-day operation and maintenance of infrastructure doesn’t separate you from your competition. Third, even the smallest companies can go global in minutes. We see this as a key value proposition for IaaS and 6fusion’s iNodes in 4 countries on 3 continents attest to that. Customers absolutely see the value and necessity for putting workloads in different locations (see 6fusion’s recent UK expansion).

5. All of the items above are indicative of a larger trend within AWS and the IaaS market as a whole, which is the abstraction of the infrastructure and OS/hypervisor layers. The lines between machine and application are blurring – similar to the way PaaS is blurring lines across the industry as a whole. The world is moving to an app-centric model where you don’t have to worry about individual machines and servers – how many cores, how much storage, what processing power, etc is included in each machine and how many machines we need. Instead of worry about servers and capacity, we are moving to a world where we think about the amount of cloud computing power needed and for how long. Compute infrastructure is becoming a true on-demand utility compute-as-a-service. My fellow 6fusion Co-Founder John Cowan has a great series of blogs on utility computing.

Overall what I saw at the conference validated several trends that we at 6fusion are seeing and working on every day. I look forward to continuing to push the envelope in IaaS and cloud services in general. To that end, we are working on building some exciting new technology that will leverage AWS and 6fusion’s metering technology that we call Cloud Resource Meter. More on that to come in future posts.

Delano Seymour

6fusion Co-Founder and CTO

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More Stories By John Cowan

John Cowan is co-founder and CEO of 6fusion. John is credited as 6fusion's business model visionary, bridging concepts and services behind cloud computing to the IT Service channel. In 2008, he along with his 6fusion collaborators successfully launched the industry's first single unit of meausurement for x86 computing, known as the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC). John is a 12 year veteran of business and product development within the IT and Telecommunications sectors and a graduate of Queen's University at Kingston.