Cloud computing is simply an accepted part of doing business now, according to Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is aggressively pushing the benefits of using its cloud platform for IT services, likening using a cloud service to paying for electricity instead of firms generating it for themselves.
Speaking at the AWS Enterprise Summit 2014 in London, vice president Stephen Schmidt said organisations are increasingly comfortable with deploying applications and services in the cloud, and this is increasingly just a normal part of doing business.
"We're going through a shift in technology now, which is arguably the biggest we've ever gone through. It used to be that questions would be asked about what can and should be in the cloud, but now this has flipped around and it has become ‘why shouldn't this be moved to the cloud?' instead. It's how people do business today," he said.
Schmidt was keen to tout the benefits of moving IT resources to Amazon's cloud instead of continuing to do things the traditional way, although he was also careful to point out that AWS offers customers flexibility rather than a stark all-or-nothing, cloud or on-premise choice.
AWS offers customers the ability to be more agile, a global reach, continual updates to services and cost savings, Schmidt explained.
Agility means having the ability to experiment without risk of failure, as well as being able to scale out infrastructure to meet demands almost immediately, rather than having to go through a lengthy procurement process to deploy extra hardware.
The global reach of AWS is also a key point, according to Schmidt, with the firm's data centres supporting 10 regions and 26 availability zones worldwide. Customers also benefit from new services and features that are continually being rolled out, without having to install any new software themselves, he added.
However, cost savings are likely to be the most eye-catching benefit for many potential customers. Schmidt told the assembled audience that they could trade large sums of capital expenditure for variable expenditure based on just those resources they are using.
"Our economies of scale provide lower costs than companies can achieve on their own, and we pass those savings on to the customer through continual price reductions," he said. AWS implemented its 42nd wave of price reductions at the beginning of April.
Repeating a theme from last year's summit, Schmidt poured scorn on the "old guard" IT companies that he said are trying to stay relevant by promoting private cloud infrastructure that is simply not as scalable or flexible as using AWS.
"Which is a better path? Spend a fortune building your own on-premise clone of what AWS looked like back in 2010, or go with AWS and enjoy continual updates as well as cost savings?" he asked.
Reasons cited for not using public cloud, such as the ability to control and manage resources, privacy for data and corporate governance compliance are all being addressed, he claimed. "The good news is you can do all of these with AWS," he said.
AWS also had customers on hand to back up the company's claims. One such is News UK, publisher of The Sun and The Times, which started using AWS in order to control subscription access to The Times content online in 2010.
Today, AWS hosts over 35 percent of the computing resources for News UK, supplemented with software as a service (SaaS) such as Salesforce and Google Apps. This is planned to increase over time, according to the firm's IT director Chris Birch.
"Now we have a three-year plan to move approximately 75 percent of our compute to the cloud, which will allow us to reduce from 46 down to six data centres around the world", Birch said.
"We have projected huge savings on data centre management and the rental of physical infrastructure, some of which we plan to spend on Amazon, and the rest will go on new product development or get returned to the shareholders," he said.
Birch showed the results of a cost analysis that News UK had carried out for the next 10 years of maintaining its on-premise IT versus moving to AWS. The figures showed that AWS worked out at about half the cost.
"But that doesn't take into account any future price reductions from Amazon, so we would expect that figure to track further downwards," he said. "We expect savings to be tens of millions of dollars just for one single app."
The push around the cloud comes amid fresh concerns on data security, after a US judge ruled on Friday that US cloud firms must turn over data under warrant, even if it held overseas.
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