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AWS Covers All Bases To Extend Cloud Dominance

Amazon executives this week left no stone unturned with an extensive barrage of new deliverables covering a wide gamut of services -- many that will define its next generation of cloud services. This week's annual springboard of new offerings ranges from added instance types to services aimed at addressing the next wave of IT, which, for many business and technology planners rests on undergoing digital transformation efforts.

During five hours of keynotes spanning two days at the annual AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, Amazon executives set out to prove that their company's cloud dominance will remain uncontested anytime soon. More than 30,000 customers and partners attended this year's event as AWS enters its second decade with a consistent focus on driving organizations to tap its broad portfolio of services to replace more and more of the functions now running in datacenters.

AWS has become so dominant that 451 Research this week put out a report predicting that "AWS +1" will become a strategic choice, or "operating principle," for enterprises in 2017." At this year's gathering, which has become AWS' largest staging event for new offerings, the new services ranged a from simpler starter kit for developers to spin up VPCs via the company's new Lightsail offering and a code-free visualization workflow tool called AWS Step Functions. A wider range of compute options including GPUs for all instance types and new field programmable gate arrays for gaming and high performance computing, a new batch processing service, management and automation capabilities, extended open source contributions and tools to advance its push into AI, machine learning, Internet of Things and edge locations were also on display

Customers' trust in the public cloud to transform the way they deliver IT was equally a key theme as well-known customers including Capital One Bank, McDonalds, Netflix and FINRA all explaining how they are broadening their use of the AWS. Netflix, which streams 150 million hours of programming each day and has 86 million customers, remains the poster child of companies that have transitioned from on-premises datacenters, an effort that dates back to 2008. Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt told attendees that this year marked the final phase of that transition. "We unplugged our last datacenter," he said.

Still, the customers touted by AWS are the exception rather than the rule, said Chris Wegmann, managing director at Accenture, which this week extended its partnership with AWS that it first kicked off a year ago. Accenture's AWS Business Group now has 2,000 IT pros that have 500 AWS certifications that are working with several large enterprises such as Avalon, Hess, Mediaset and Talen Energy. Wegmann said Accenture believes in the coming years cloud migrations, especially to Amazon's, will become more prevalent, while concerns still linger for some.

"We are seeing customers that are still hesitant," he said. "They're still trying to figure out whether or not it's the right thing for them, or whether or not they are going to try to have cloud independence. We are seeing them try to go slow and hit some roadblocks and they lose momentum. When you lose momentum, it doesn't go very well." Often those organizations "can't get out of their own way," Wegmann added.

In contrast, organizations that are successful in making the transition take disciplined approaches but still stick with their plans.

The companies that are being successful are maintaining that momentum," he added.  "They are not wavering on their decisions and they make realistic decisions, while not trying to end world hunger."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/02/2016 at 1:42 PM


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