Way back in 2006, when Amazon began offering IT infrastructure in the form of web services, not many people knew about cloud computing. Today, cloud computing is the undisputed future of computing, and Amazon is arguably the cloud computing king, or at least for infrastructure platforms on the cloud.
The Amazon EC2 (elastic cloud) and Amazon S3 provide a scalable infrastructure platform for hundreds of thousands of customers in 190 countries. A business does not have to plan for IT investment and figure out when they are going to add additional servers and where to put them. They simply use Amazon’s IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) to create virtual servers on the cloud as and when required (on demand).
The concept is simple enough – you pay for what you use, and your resource usage is scalable and elastic. So, when you need to deploy new applications, you can instantly cook up as many servers as you need on AWS. You can use them for a few hours or round the clock, and only pay for what you have used.
The best part is that it does not really lock you in – on a proprietary cloud development platform or run time environment for the application. AWS merely provides the IaaS, and you can then use the virtual servers for any programming model and development platform just as you would with an in-house setup.
AWS is a cost-effective and scalable platform whether you need to host applications or websites, deliver content or need storage space or a database. It works particularly well for cloud-based enterprise IT solutions.
The extreme capability of AWS can be judged from the fact that Amazon was able to build the world’s first virtual super-computer on EC2. It is currently ranked as the 42nd fastest super-computer on the planet. Remember that this machine does not really exist, but has been put together using virtual resources provided by Amazon’s data centers.
Just as Google owns search and started offering analytics for websites to make sense of the traffic the search engine was sending to the site, Amazon is now building on its leading position in the cloud computing sector. They are now working on introducing analytics as a service for the vast amounts of data companies store on AWS, with a focus on fraud detection and product recommendation.
Actually, Amazon already offers something like this for its biggest retailers, called Amazon Retail Analytics (ARA) Premium. But it would be a big break-through for Amazon to do this on a commercial basis and sell analytics as a service. It would mean a shift for Amazon from being a back-end provider of computing power and storage on the cloud to being a front-end player with products for finance and marketing.
There are, of course, other companies offering data warehousing and analytics tools. There is nothing to stop IBM, Oracle, Teradata or SAS Institute from offering analytics as a service on AWS and beating Amazon at its own game in its own backyard. However , they would still be working at a disadvantage due to lack of access to ARA data and Amazon will run laps around them, just as Google blew away stat counters and the rest of the competition for website analytics.
Author: Cloud Consultant at CIONNE.com.
©CIONNE copyright 2012. The information contained in this site is for entertainment purposes only. The article Cloud Computing King has been written by one of our consultants. No copyright infringement intended. If you wish to re-use all or part of this document/publication you will need a licence. Applications can be sent to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Where we have identified any third party copyright material you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned. Names within this article or website may be trademarks of their respective owners.
If you feel someone else deserves to be Cloud Computing King – please write to us.