Today’s clear market leader for growing enterprises is Amazon Web Services (AWS), which began the cloud services trend in 2006 and has led the marketplace ever since. By integrating their systems with AWS, companies can focus on deploying and operating their own software instead of infrastructure, and consume shared storage, computing and other resources faster and more efficiently. In this article, we’ll examine why large enterprises like Salesforce, Netflix and others are increasingly turning to AWS for their cloud infrastructure services, and discuss the benefits they can realize from doing so.
Making the Switch to AWS
Microsoft Azure – the current runner-up to AWS – is experiencing strong gains of late, with wins such as Boeing and others strengthening their position in the marketplace. Some companies today are opting for multi-cloud solutions as well and some select a specific vendor for services such as automated cloud backup or cloud storage. But there is a strong case for moving heavily to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and specifically to AWS. With AWS establishing itself as the market leader, a long list of well-known companies are going ‘all in’ with Amazon, and declaring AWS as their strategic cloud platform. These companies have made the decision to shut down their own data centers, and instead utilize the storage, software and other services AWS that offers. But how and why do companies make this switch?
The idea of transitioning to a public cloud provider can be daunting due in large part to the availability and security concerns that come with it. But public cloud providers such as AWS must adhere to strict compliance protocols, and maintain industry-compliant cloud infrastructure such as HIPAA and PCI-DSS standards. The AWS shared responsibility model also provides a structure that AWS customers can use to secure their assets. Salesforce, for example, ran its service on its own data centers in the past, but recently selected AWS to migrate more of its workload to the public cloud.
Salesforce anticipates that the move to AWS will help them deliver their cloud services and bring new infrastructure online more quickly and efficiently in many of their international markets. Netflix, for its part, selected AWS because it provided Netflix with the greatest scale and the broadest set of services and features. They were also looking for a secure cloud path for their billing infrastructure and customer and employee data management systems. Today, AWS enables Netflix to quickly deploy thousands of servers and terabytes of storage within minutes. Users can stream Netflix content on PCs and most mobile devices from anywhere in the world.
AWS’ Appeal as the Market Leader
While the infrastructure market is certainly large enough to support other competitors such as Microsoft and Google, and while we expect enterprises to migrate not only to AWS, the appeal of AWS as the market leader seems to be taking hold. With an active customer base of over 190 countries and more than a million active customers, AWS is as big as its next four competitors combined. AWS’ global infrastructure is comprised of 33 availability zones across 12 geographic regions worldwide, with five additional regions to be added in 2016.
Gartner Research recently named AWS as having both the furthest completeness of vision and the highest ability to execute of any cloud service provider. But statistics only tell part of the story. Other AWS strengths include an extensive network of partners that provide app development expertise; a large technology partner ecosystem including a wide array of software vendors that have integrated their solutions with AWS; versatility, from the AWS content delivery network to the elasticity of EC2 to storage with S3; and data centers located on each continent, giving customers the guarantee of high availability and stability.
AWS Benefits: Why Companies Are Choosing AWS
Companies are switching to AWS in large part to become more agile, efficient and scalable. But these are just some of the benefits of switching to AWS. Below we’ll discuss a few use cases and examples of what has led to AWS’ success.
Enterprises traditionally looking for large amounts of storage would need to physically build a storage space and maintain it. Storing on a cloud could mean signing an expensive contract for a large amount of storage space that the company might not even need. As opposed to other competitors that often ask for high up-front licensing costs, with AWS, companies pay for what they use and their costs are scaled as needed – with no need to estimate usage. AWS also provides low-cost migration services so that existing infrastructures can be moved over to AWS seamlessly. Nokia Corporation, for example, uses its Xpress Internet Services platform to provide mobile Internet services for emerging markets. By moving to AWS, Nokia has been able to run queries twice as fast as with its previous solution, and use business intelligence tools to mine and analyze big data at a 50% costs savings.
AWS’s auto scaling feature enables companies to build a self-managing infrastructure aligned to their needs, based on their actual traffic/resource utilization. This greatly improves the availability of a company’s services, and provides an efficient means of optimizing cloud costs. Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics recently made use of auto scaling to build a secure, scalable platform on AWS. AWS scalability enabled Siemens’ customers to make better decisions about how small or large they wanted to be, creating more agility for Siemens Healthcare to deliver better patient care at a lower cost.
AWS Relationship Building
Through programs such as the AWS Partner Network and AWS Business Builder program, Amazon has made great strides to establish and nurture business relationships with existing and prospective business partners. The AWS Partner Network program provides its partners with continuous knowledge about how to better utilize AWS resources, as well as updates on trends, cloud solutions, and overviews on the various programs tied to APN Partner success. The recently announced AWS Business Builder program was established to help AWS partners understand what go-to-market resources are available, determine which resources best suit their needs, and provide information on how to get started with the program and grow their business. Through these programs, partners are often motivated to offer business solutions and associate with the AWS brand, participate in joint selling and marketing activities with AWS, etc.
As public cloud adoption continues to grow at a rapid pace, AWS has established itself as the dominant market leader in the space. Whether because of reliable security, pay per use flexibility, low IT expenditure, or partner relationship benefits – customers today are turning to AWS more and more for their cloud service needs. AWS’ global reach means there is always more storage, bandwidth, and computational power available if needed. This gives companies using AWS the ability to be more agile, efficient and scalable – and manage their costs and limit unneeded infrastructure while doing so.