AWS conference indicates cloud computing’s evolution

Nov. 28, 2016

The history of Amazon Web Services’ conferences illustrates the evolution of cloud computing. Jay Greene at The Wall Street Journal reports that the first conference in 2011 attracted 6,000 attendees, many of whom worked for startups and wanted to buy processing power and storage from AWS rather than buy servers and software and maintain their own data centers.

Greene quotes Andy Jassy, AWS chief executive, as saying 32,000 people are expected to attend AWS re:Invent 2016, this week in Las Vegas. Attendees will represent not just startups looking to avoid investing in data centers but also large companies looking to close their existing facilities and move their processing and storage operations to AWS.

Green reports that Amazon is expected to announce today that Honolulu-based shipping company Matson Inc. is closing its data centers and transferring core computing operations to AWS is a move that will cut its IT operating costs in half.

Greene notes that AWS is moving beyond core computing and storage operations. He quotes Jassy as saying, “We’re not close to being done adding new capabilities. When we look at areas that we choose to participate in a little bit further up the stack, they are almost always in areas that our customers are demanding us to get involved in.”

Greene quotes Gartner analyst Lydia Leong as saying the new “up the stack” service offerings, in addition to attracting new customers, create a “gravitational pull” that makes it more difficult for customers to switch providers.

The trick for AWS is to manage competition with its cloud ecosystem partners as it moves up the stack, Greene reports.

AWS re:Invent 2016 is sold out, but you can sign up to live-stream keynote addresses.

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