Amazon pitches 'safe and responsible' AWS at suits

We have database engines, too

Skeptical manager image via Shutterstock

Sandwiched between its third-quarter results and re:Invent conference, Amazon's been pitching AWS as production-ready.

Amazon wheeled out a host of corporate big names and government super-users to testify to AWS's suitability beyond pure dev and test at a London event on Tuesday. AWS chiefs sought to reassure the suits of middle and upper management that its cloud is safe and familiar. Among the names cited by AWS were HSBC, British Gas and Hive, Direct Line, the FT and the UK Met Office.

Microsoft is offering healthy competition in the enterprise space with Azure, now ranked number two by Gartner.

Indeed, London's Excel conference centre, which hosted AWS's Enterprise Summit, had posters for Azure from Microsoft's recent Future Decoded still adorning the approaches. Google, meanwhile, is pitching GCP as a platform for machine learning and AI for the business user – rocket science finally within the grasp of suits.

Amazon, therefore – among other things – flagged up AWS as a platform for IoT citing Hive, which is sucking up consumers' sensitive data to run their home heating systems remotely via smartphone. It also talked up "democratisation of security."

Stephen Schmidt, AWS chief information security officer, reckoned AWS is not just secure and safe but also familiar as you don't need to stop using your favourite enterprise software for something web lite or developed by Amazon only for AWS.

"You don't have to if you don't want to – you can use something from Oracle, Adobe and AutoDesk in AWS as you'd use on premises," Schmidt said.

Although he added that sometimes you'd need "just a little bit of a twist". That's where consulting partners, name-checked by Schmidt, come in. He reiterated the recent rollout for AWS X1 instances with 2TB of memory to run SAP Hana and the P2 Nvidia nodes with 16 GPUs for supercomputing-like performance.

Schmidt did make a play for getting off legacy brands, though. "You can transition the same workload and use it without changing operations then you can decide to optimise your position by moving away from a database like MySQL and move to something like Amazon Aurora," he said.

The Met Office admitted on stage to having felt uneasy about getting locked into AWS but overcame this. The Met is serving weather data to the public via AWS, having replaced an older FTP service. Crunching of its weather apps and massive weather models remains on the new 16PB Cray supercomputer for the foreseeable future, although "other" workloads will likely to go AWS.

The nation's weather science and forecasting service told The Reg that context was important in overcoming those early lock-in concerns.

AWS could be rebuilt elsewhere without too much difficulty. It rolled out on AWS in part because the Met is a Java on Linux shop and found AWS's integration and support for Java better than Azure 18 months ago, when the project began. The Met uses Azure elsewhere.

For the home audience, Schmidt pitched data security and sovereignty – that you can specify the region in which to house your data. A UK AWS region, which comprises of different data centres, is due by early 2017.

Aside from that, it was the standard AWS message of innovation and price cuts: Schmidt claimed 52 cuts in prices to AWS services since 2006, more than 70 services and 706 new features this year to September. Amazon's re:Invent conference takes place at the end of November, when the cloud platform player is expected to update that number. ®

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