Here’s What Makes AWS a Grow­ing Force in En­ter­prise IT

Be­yond the prospect of mov­ing all IT as­sets to the cloud, AWS is beck­on­ing en­ter­prises with pos­si­bil­i­ties in server­less com­put­ing, AI, and ma­chine lan­guage

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Ama­zon Web Ser­vices (AWS), Ama­zon’s 11 year old sub­sidiary, is a be­he­moth in com­put­ing that is re­defin­ing the rules of en­ter­prise IT. In 2015, Gart­ner es­ti­mated that AWS cus­tomers are de­ploy­ing 10x more in­fra­struc­ture on AWS than the combined adop­tion of the next 14 providers. AWS’ glory out­paces that of its par­ent: in the first quar­ter of 2016, Ama­zon ex­pe­ri­enced a 42% rise in stock value as a re­sult of in­creased earn­ings, of which AWS con­trib­uted 56% to com­pany’s profit. With a 50% in­crease in rev­enues the past few years and a quar­terly run-rate of $3 B plus, it is pre­dicted AWS will have $13 bil­lion in rev­enue in 2017.

Stephen Or­ban, Head of En­ter­prise Strat­egy, AWS was in In­dia to speak at the AWS In­dia Sum­mit early May. Stephen has been the CIO at Dow Jones in his ear­lier role and much of his ideas are shaped by what he faced in that role. Said Stephen, “I was the CIO at Dow Jones where I led a sev­eral big IT - busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion projects. Cloud was a ma­jor part of that. I helped push the strat­egy for pub­lic cloud adop­tion to cre­ate an

en­vi­ron­ment where the com­pany could ex­per­i­ment with a min­i­mal in­vest­ment. I saw the writ­ing on the wall and re­al­ized there is no time like the present to em­brace the cloud. So, I moved to AWS.”

MAK­ING AWS THE GROW­ING FORCE IN EN­TER­PRISE IT

Stephen’s role at AWS is to work with en­ter­prise cus­tomers to un­der­stand the chal­lenges and re­al­i­ties of their ex­ist­ing IT en­vi­ron­ment that cut across peo­ple, process, and tech­nol­ogy. He helps them come up with an im­ple­men­ta­tion plan and ex­e­cu­tion strat­egy to cre­ate a busi­ness case for the cloud, align re­sources and ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and en­able dif­fer­ent busi­ness units to tran­si­tion to the cloud.

AWS preaches the re­li­gion of pub­lic cloud. But many en­ter­prises look at build­ing pri­vate cloud to han­dle mis­sion-crit­i­cal work­loads rel­e­gat­ing pub­lic cloud to han­dle non-crit­i­cal or for ac­com­mo­dat­ing sea­sonal work­loads. In de­fense to the point about pri­vate cloud, Stephen who built pri­vate cloud at Dow Jones, says that it takes an in­cred­i­ble amount of en­ergy to op­er­ate it.

The big pitch by AWS to en­ter­prises is to move all IT as­sets— in­fra­struc­ture, ap­pli­ca­tions, plat­forms—to the AWS cloud. Why? Said Stephen, “The story be­hind what we pro­vide at AWS is that we want our cus­tomers to fo­cus their time, men, and money on what matters to their busi­ness and not do the heavy lift­ing when it comes to IT. For our en­ter­prise cus­tomers too, we do the same.”

Stephen spends a lot of time un­der­stand­ing cus­tomer is­sues, chal­lenges, and re­quire­ments and feed­ing it back in. He cites the phe­nom­e­nal growth in AWS ca­pa­bil­i­ties as a di­rect re­sult of tak­ing client feed­back and re­quire­ments and in­cor­po­rat­ing it as fea­tures or of­fer­ings. Il­lus­trat­ing an ex­po­nen­tial growth in fea­tures, Stephen reeled out num­bers: AWS had 80 ser­vices in 2011, 160 in 2012, 280 in 2013, 560 in 2014, 722 in 2015, 1017 in 2016… which trans­lates to roughly three new fea­tures every day in the year. Some of AWS new of­fer­ings in­clude Ama­zon Lambda and Ama­zon Dy­namoDB which taken to­gether makes com­put­ing with­out server and data­base a re­al­ity, par­tic­u­larly suited for net new na­tive cloud ap­pli­ca­tions. Stephen gives an ex­am­ple of a Sil­i­con Val­ley soft­ware com­pany which first did a lift-and-shift of its ap­pli­ca­tions to AWS to save 30 per­cent and then it went on to Ama­zon Lambda to get a fur­ther sav­ing of 80 per­cent.

AWS IN IN­DIA

Speak­ing about AWS’ en­ter­prise cus­tomer base in In­dia, Stephen says, “We have di­rect proof of what we have done to help our en­ter­prise cus­tomers achieve. For ex­am­ple in In­dia, AWS has helped Tata Mo­tors go dig­i­tal by mi­grat­ing their ap­pli­ca­tions to the cloud; we helped Su­perMax, a blade man­u­fac­turer move their SAP sys­tem to the cloud; we helped Zaro, a mo­bile game de­vel­oper re­duce their churn. Sim­i­larly Axis Bank, Fu­ture Group and many oth­ers.”

Trac­ing the dra­matic growth of AWS’ foot­print in In­dia, Stephen said, “We launched the In­dia re­gion in June 2016 and we have seen 60 per­cent growth in num­ber of cus­tomers since then. Nine months ago, we had 75,000 busi­nesses in In­dia. To­day, we have 1,20,000 ac­tive cus­tomers in In­dia. This is dra­matic growth by any stan­dards in en­ter­prise IT mar­ket. But we still think it is Day 1 in our busi­ness.”

AWS has a global foot­print com­pris­ing 42 avail­abil­ity zones in 16 re­gions which in­cludes In­dia. Out­lin­ing mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties in In­dia, Stephen said, “We look for­ward, par­tic­u­larly, for net new ap­pli­ca­tions and new busi­nesses that cus­tomers are ex­plor­ing. We are ex­cited

About 18 months ago, we kept hear­ing from our cus­tomers that they were ex­cited to be a cloud-first busi­ness where every new ap­pli­ca­tion was be­ing de­vel­oped on the cloud. But they ad­mit­ted that a ma­jor­ity of their fo­cus, in some cases 80% of their bud­get, was still spent to­wards cater­ing to the ex­ist­ing legacy sys­tem. In re­sponse, we have built a sys­tem­atic pro­gram to help our cus­tomers mi­grate their ex­ist­ing legacy sys­tems to AWS — Stephen Or­ban, Head of En­ter­prise Strat­egy, AWS The story be­hind what we pro­vide at AWS is that we want our cus­tomers to fo­cus their time, men, and money on what matters to their busi­ness and not do the heavy lift­ing when it comes to IT. For our en­ter­prise cus­tomers too, we do the same

about server­less ar­chi­tec­ture. That’s a very ex­cit­ing value propo­si­tion for cus­tomers. There a big op­por­tu­nity in the AI and Ma­chine Learn­ing space. We are at the be­gin­ning of ex­per­i­ment­ing and test­ing what’s pos­si­ble there. You can take large datasets and make some very com­plex de­ci­sions and in­fer­ences on it based on the plat­form tools that we have been de­vel­op­ing.”

MI­GRA­TION PATH­WAYS

Help­ing cus­tomers mi­grate from ex­ist­ing IT to the AWS cloud is the num­ber 1 and pos­si­bly the only strat­egy AWS needs to pur­sue. In any case, Stephen says that 90 per­cent of the net new devel­op­ment hap­pens on AWS.

Said Stephen, “About 18 months ago, we kept hear­ing from our cus­tomers that they were ex­cited to be a cloud-first busi­ness where every new ap­pli­ca­tion was be­ing de­vel­oped on the cloud. But they ad­mit­ted that a ma­jor­ity of their fo­cus, in some cases 80% of their bud­get, was still spent to­wards cater­ing to the ex­ist­ing legacy sys­tem. In re­sponse, we have built a sys­tem­atic pro­gram to help our cus­tomers mi­grate their ex­ist­ing legacy sys­tems to AWS.”

There­fore, the com­pany is fo­cused on mak­ing the process of mi­gra­tion easy. AWS has taken all the dis­parate parts of the busi­ness – part­ner ecosys­tem, train­ing, and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram, pro­fes­sional ser­vices team and wrapped all of that into a holis­tic pro­gram called the mi­gra­tion ac­cel­er­a­tion pro­gram (MAP) that helps cus­tomers mi­grate from ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture to AWS. Other ini­tia­tives in­clude:

De­vel­op­ing mi­gra­tion com­pe­tency in part­ners. For in­stance, in In­dia, AWS has lo­cal part­ners like In­fosys, Wipro, Cog­nizant and Ac­cen­ture fa­cil­i­tat­ing the mi­gra­tion for its cus­tomers.

Built a ‘Mi­grat­ing to AWS’ train­ing pro­gram for part­ners and cus­tomers to help them un­der­stand the dif­fer­ent as­pects of a mi­gra­tion all the way from build­ing a busi­ness case to port­fo­lio dis­cov­ery to mi­gra­tion it­self.

There are many tools like the AWS Server Mi­gra­tion Ser­vice to help cus­tomers mi­grate Vir­tual Ma­chines. AWS has a data­base mi­gra­tion ser­vice to help cus­tomers mi­grate data­bases. More than 22,000 data­bases have been mi­grated us­ing the data­base mi­gra­tion ser­vice.

De­vel­oped pro­fes­sional ser­vices spe­cialty in mi­gra­tion cod­i­fy­ing our ex­per­tise into run­books and play­books.

In­no­vated on how to mi­grate large amounts of data by cre­at­ing de­vices that would phys­i­cally trans­port the data. Snow­ball is 80 TB de­vice, Snow­Mo­bile which is a 27 PB truck that can carry data from legacy sys­tems phys­i­cally into AWS data cen­ters.

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