Amazon Web Services (AWS) is touting the benefits of leading with public cloud infrastructure when adopting a cloud computing strategy, claiming that "old guard" private cloud providers cannot offer key benefits such as pay-per-use and scale on demand.
The firm was also keen to highlight its security credentials in light of recent revelations of NSA snooping and the like.
At Amazon's AWS Enterprise Summit in London, senior vice president Andy Jassy told an audience of corporate technical leaders that cloud computing was the future of IT delivery, and that it made more sense to outsource this to a public cloud provider such as AWS than to build it themselves.
"The reason customers typically get started with the cloud is cost. It's a huge advantage if you don't have to lay out any cost for servers up front before you can even start deploying new applications and services," Jassy said.
According to Jassy, the "old guard" technology companies initially poured scorn on cloud computing, and later reluctantly adopted it, wheeling out private cloud as a way of preserving their traditional business models.
"The old guard technology companies charge enterprises as much as they are willing to pay under the traditional IT model," he said.
"So, as cloud adoption has picked up, the old guard told their customers ‘what you want is private cloud', but this approach has none of the benefits just mentioned: no variable cost, no elastic scaling and no pay per use," he continued.
Amazon's claim is that private cloud infrastructure costs the owner the same to operate, no matter how much of it they use, while with public cloud, customers only need to pay for the resources they are consuming at any given moment.
Meanwhile, Amazon is able to offer this to customers because of its sheer scale of operation, offering five times the capacity of the other major cloud providers combined, according to figures from research firm Gartner.
"What we advise customers is that building a private cloud from scratch is not the right decision right now. However, many of them have a data centre with existing infrastructure, and what they want is a way to use those resources with AWS as they go through this transition [to the cloud], and that's what we're trying to provide," Jassy said.
Looking to the future, Jassy predicted that "in 20 years, hardly any companies will have their own data centre, and those that do will be much smaller than today."
Meanwhile, chief information security officer Stephen Schmidt was keen to talk up Amazon's security credentials, perhaps not surprisingly in light of recent revelations about the US security services' wide-ranging snooping activities on the internet and the data held by service providers.
Most of what Schmidt said was a re-run of a presentation he gave at an AWS Summit earlier this year, covering how Amazon carefully controls which of its employees can change the infrastructure or gain physical access inside one of the data centres.
Of more interest to customers, however, is AWS CloudHSM, which allows customers of Amazon's Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) service to securely manage their own encryption keys for data stored in the cloud.
"Customers are the only ones who have access to their cryptography keys, making it useful for those concerned about [Amazon] getting a request for a key from a law enforcement agency," Schmidt claimed.
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