Amazon’s “state of the cloud” — it isn’t stacking up

Werner Vogels - CTO, - Structure 2011When it comes to the cloud, just forget about the stack. Cloud computing is evolving beyond the data structure of interchangeable layers, said Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President at Amazon (s AMZN), during his “state of the cloud” address at GigaOm’s Structure conference.

“I’m moving away from this picture of a stack with infrastructure on the bottom and platform on top. It’s outdated,” he said. “Most of the Amazon cloud is much more than services.”

Instead, the cloud — and Amazon Web Services — is about pulling together services from a million different ecosystems that allow enterprise customers to build highly sophisticated applications. And while much of the enterprise world says they are buying instead of building, they are actually building too, he says. They just aren’t starting from scratch.

Both Oracle and SAP are now certified for software production on the AWS cloud, allowing businesses to build their own very sophisticated solutions using “standard, off the shelf” pieces from across different providers, he said.

Vogels was on hand to discuss where Amazon sees cloud computing and where he plans to take the industry next. Vogels helped elevate the cloud computing industry into the mainstream when his team at Amazon launched EC2 and S3.

The Amazon public cloud accounts for an estimated 40 percent of the total public cloud market. And Vogels said the number of objects on AWS has more than doubled in the last year, from 150 billion to over 339 billion objects. And that’s just the beginning. “On a daily basis we are adding as much capacity as Amazon retailer used in year 2000,” he said.

Looking back to the early days of AWS, Vogels said the original mission was to enable businesses and developers to build scalable, sophisticated applications. So how did that pan out?

“Predicting the world of now has been really hard. But if I look back some has come through,” he said. “Both developers and businesses are building increasingly sophisticated applications in the cloud.” He said the cloud has allowed young businesses to become extremely fault tolerant.

Vogel also pointed to expanding geographies in Amazon’s cloud network. AWS now operates in five regions and recently launched in the Singapore and Tokyo regions.

He said within the next year, AWS will focus on making governance, billing and user-management easier, as well as offering customers “more detail and more choice.”

Asked to make a ten-year prediction for the cloud, Vogels said it just wasn’t possible.

“Almost on a yearly basis we see ‘cloud’ evolving more. We definitely see customers building more and more sophisticated applications,” he said. “As such it is still day one. There is a lot of work to be done.”

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