Amazon CTO: Building the Ninth Wonder of the World

Michael Vizard

By now, everyone realizes that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the biggest cloud computing platform out there by a wide margin. What most people don’t really appreciate is how big AWS really is and why size really matters in the age of the cloud.

Speaking at an AWS Summit 2013 conference in New York today, Dr. Werner Vogels, CTO for Amazon, described an IT environment that consists of over 5.5 million clusters and over 2 trillion objects stored in an S3 cloud storage service that handles 1.1 million peak requests a second.

That kind of scale, says Vogels, has not only allowed AWS to deliver 31 price reductions since 2006, but it has allowed AWS to either update or roll out 159 services last year. In the first quarter of this year alone Vogel says AWS has already updated or added 53 services. Officially, there are 37 defined AWS offerings that will continue to expand as AWS targets new application segments.

With those economies of scale in place, Vogels says AWS will always be the pricing leader in the public cloud computing space because of its commitment to continually pass savings on to the customer. The goal, says Vogels, is to give organizations the incentives they need to develop new applications that will consume massive amounts of AWS resources because the cost of failing will essentially be zero.

Just as importantly, Vogels says that over a five-year time period the total cost of deploying an application on AWS is 70 percent less than deploying that same application on premise, while at the same time IT no longer has to waste time guessing what its future capacity requirements are going to be for any given application.

When you take all that into consideration, Vogels says AWS could be considered the ninth wonder of the world, which he says will serve as the foundation for delivering 21st century applications.

As grandiose as that may seem, the reality of IT infrastructure in the cloud is that it’s a means to a business end. Organizations want to be able to access the most inexpensive cloud computing platform that gives them the most amount of business agility possible.

While there is no shortage of cloud service providers these days, the economics of competing in the cloud tend to favor the rich. And right now, as far as public cloud computing services go, only a few players such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and IBM will have the deep pockets needed to compete in the public cloud space over the long haul.

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