Amazon Profits From Early Cloud Start

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Other vendors have arrived on the scene, but Amazon is reaping the benefits of pioneering the concept of cloud computing resources, says vice president Adam Selipsky

“We firmly believe in providing our customers with as much flexibility as possible,” Selipsky said. “We don’t care about the OS or programming language, be it Java, Ruby, PHP, Perl, C# or whatever. In EC2 [Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud] you can have Linux, Solaris, Windows and more over time. We want our service to be flexible and easy to use. I don’t think that will be the approach that every vendor will take, but it’s something we hold very dear,” he said in an apparent dig at Microsoft’s Windows focus.

What exactly is a private cloud?

Despite the name of Amazon’s new service, the “private cloud” part is more of a nod to industry acceptance of the term than to the company’s core thrust in the area.

“We have difficulty understanding the concept of a private cloud and what that really means,” Selipsky said. “It’s just another means of virtualization. Private clouds don’t offer true elasticity; they offer what I call ‘fauxlasticity.’ We think there is just ‘the cloud.” And Amazon VPC is meant to bridge internal IT with ‘the cloud.'”

Selipsky expanded on AWS’ heritage in running Amazon.com. “There was a decade of building Amazon.com before there was AWS.” In the early days Amazon was driven primarily by big iron, and then the core Amazon.com application emerged from being a hard-wired application to a service-oriented architecture supported on massive amounts of low-cost, commodity hardware. The map leading to AWS has been marked with Web services and APIs, he said.

Looking beyond Amazon is a mistake. As Selipsky said, he expects the company to be one of the winners in the cloud space as things shake out. The company is shoring up some of its weak spots in middleware and tooling with partnerships and building out libraries, code samples and new services.

Moreover, Amazon has its track record. Central to the company’s cloud strategy is that track record—that Amazon can run cloud infrastructure better, more reliably and less expensively than anyone else.

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