Amazon: Debunking The Cloud Computing Myths

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Amazon’s Adam Selipsky addresses some of the more persistent myths related to the cloud, ahead of the International Cloud Expo in New York

As the 5th International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo (Cloud Expo) opens in New York City on April 19, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is tapping into the attention the event is placing on cloud computing to address some of what the company views as the more persistent myths related to the cloud.

Despite being among the first to successfully and profitably implement cloud computing solutions, AWS officials said the company still has to constantly deal with questions about the reliability, security, cost, elasticity and other features of the cloud. In short, there are myths about cloud computing that persist despite increased industry adoption and thousands of successful cloud deployments. However, in an exclusive interview with eWEEK at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, Adam Selipsky, vice president of AWS, set out to shoot down some of the myths of the cloud. Specifically, Selipsky debunked five cloud myths.

“We’ve seen a lot of misperceptions about what cloud computing is,” he said.

Thus, the Cloud Computing Expo, as well as the virtual Cloud Lab and Cloud Slam events happening during the same week, provides a solid backdrop for Amazon’s myth busting.

Myth 1: The Cloud Is Not Reliable

Setting the tone for his argument, Selipsky first laid out the landscape. He noted that chief information officers (CIOs) in enterprise organisations have tough jobs and often are responsible for several thousand applications. They very much feel on the hook for the performance and security of these applications. And, when there are problems, they are used to walking down the hall or picking up a phone and choking their own person. There’s a certain comfort in knowing you can take some action if there is a problem. And, relinquishing that control and ability to scurry and take action is understandably difficult.

However, Selipsky says there are a few things customers should consider, and more and more customers are doing so as they adopt the cloud. One key thing to consider is that AWS’ operational performance is quite good. In addition, customers have full control over their data. Said Selipsky:

  • They own the data, not us
  • They choose which location to store the data and it doesn’t move unless the customer decides to move it
  • They can encrypt their data at rest and in motion
  • Regardless of whether customers choose to encrypt or not, we never look at the data

Moreover, Selipsky said, “We have very strong data durability – we’ve designed Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) for eleven 9’s of durability. We store multiple copies of each object across multiple locations.”

Selipsky also said AWS has a “Versioning” feature that allows customers to revert to the last version of any object they unintentionally delete or somehow lose due to application failure. And customers can ensure additional fault tolerant applications by deploying their applications in multiple Availability Zones or using AWS’ Load Balancing and Auto Scaling features.

“And, all that comes with no capex  [capital expenditures] for companies, a low per unit cost where you only pay for what you consume, the ability to add or shed servers for your business (and balance sheet) in minutes, and the ability to focus engineers on unique incremental value for your business,” Selipsky said.

The origin of the reliability claims come from an illusion of control, he said. “People think if they can control it they have more say in how things go. It’s like being in a car versus an airplane, but you’re much safer in a plane.”

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