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Amazon veep: We tweak our cloud code every 16 seconds – and you?

Tech giant laughs off rivals touting on-site AWS wannabes

workman in high vis jacket bent over, super-imposed on cloud background

AWS Summit 2014 A top Amazon bloke has scoffed at rivals who claim they can build Amazon Web Services-like systems in their customers' private data centres.

Stephen Schmidt, Amazon Web Services security veep, bragged during the London leg of Amazon’s worldwide AWS Conference tour on Tuesday that these private clouds are years behind his company's public cloud offering.

The Amazon cloud tweaks its software every 16 seconds, Schmidt claimed, with features available to anybody and everybody subscribed to the service. And he reckoned AWS offers the comforts of data security and regulatory compliance enjoyed by private on-site clouds.

"The old-guard software and hardware companies like to talk about how easy it is to build something like Amazon Web Services in your data center," Schmidt told the AWS Conference. "The problem is the reality is in most cases the customer experience is very, very different to what you get on AWS.

"Amazon rolls out a new version of our software every 16 seconds. Change in our world is constant, it’s expected and it’s something we are extremely used to.

"Would you rather spend an enormous amount of money creating a clone of something that appears to look like AWS from a couple of years ago or would you rather use AWS today?"

He claimed Amazon added 280 new AWS features and services in 2013, suggesting it’s on track to exceed this number in 2014 with 105 new additions rolled out since January. The trend is upwards, he said, starting from a base of 24 new features in 2008 – two years after AWS launched.

One of the latest new services is Amazon’s virtual desktop offering, the wobbly Workspaces that he reckoned had been "the number-one requested service from enterprise customers".

For all that, enterprises are conservative: on-site clouds powered by VMware tech are taking off because businesses want to retain full control of their data, or because they are concerned about regulatory and security issues involved in storing data on another person’s servers – especially if that person is in a different jurisdiction.

He stressed AWS can deliver private networking, virtual private cloud computing, drive-level encryption, dedicated instances, and audit tracking, and that it complies with the usual regulations plus those in verticals, such as health and banking.

He also said AWS can work with existing IT infrastructure – for example, connecting Amazon Workspaces through Active Directory and LDAP. ®

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