The Amazon AWS Trap (Cloud Computing)
Today, at the CloudOps conference in Frankfurt I talked to many users of cloud services. The discussion started around my presentation with the title (translated into English) "German and European Competitors of Amazon AWS". In the presentation I gave an overview over the competitor landscape that Amazon AWS is facing in Germany and Europe. The take-away message is: There exist great German and European cloud services that compete with Amazon AWS. However, none provides the extreme depth of the cloud stack as Amazon is doing with its huge number of cloud services. Additionally, for a given cloud service most competitors lack the feature richness Amazon is offering.

During the discussion after my talk I realized that all of users of Amazon AWS do not use only one service (such as EC2 (IaaS) or Beanstalk (PaaS)) instead most of them use five to ten or even more services (e.g., CloudWatch, CloudFront, and S3). The reason for this is that is it so easy to use another Amazon AWS service that developers or DevOps are not thinking twice before using it. The cloud services Amazon is offering are often so logically combined and interact so perfectly smooth with each other that you use automatically an additional service even that you intentionally wanted to use another one. Cloudwatch and EC2 are a good example: If you start using EC2 Cloudwatch is automatically enabled (in its basic version). If EC2 is used in a professional environment you need a decent monitoring solution to see how your instances behave (e.g., CPU utilization, and network throughput). For this CloudWatch is already active so you stick with it and built on it.

This service creep makes sure that you integrate Amazon AWS service deeper and deeper into your product and processes. This in return makes it difficult to replace Amazon AWS if you are unhappy with their service (for whatever reason). And because their is no competitor that provides the same depth of the cloud stack as Amazon AWS it is even more difficult to replace AWS. You have to go to three or four or even more cloud services providers to get the set of cloud services you need to replace AWS. This is what I call the "Amazon AWS Trap".

If I would be the VP Product Management at Amazon AWS I would be really happy about this well integrated and logically combined services that interact so smoothly. I assume this was hard work and not easy to accomplish.

From a customer point of view you have to be careful about how deep you integrate Amazon AWS into your products because replacing them can be tough. However, if you do not plan to replace Amazon AWS is makes a lot of sense to deeply integrate these services.

This text represents my personal opinion and has nothing to do with any company I associated with.
Posted by Thomas King at 23:32 2013-10-01 | Trackbacks (0) | Comments (0)