Post #20: Outlook – bright clouds

On the scale of a pop concert with lasers and a soundtrack to match, Amazon hosted its biggest ever one-day summit on AWS in London yesterday. Some 12,000 developers and users as well as your intrepid author descended upon the ExCel centre in London’s Docklands to learn more about the cloud. In summary, the outlook is bright.

We have long been advocates of cloud computing, but some statistics shared by Amazon threw its importance into sharp context. Developers can perform tasks 5 times more quickly using cloud services than traditional compute approaches, resulting in a typical 20% uplift in productivity. Owing both to the cost savings and productivity benefits, the London School of Economics estimates that some 95% of UK start-ups would have been prevented from launching had they used a traditional IT model rather than a more relevant cloud-based approach. Cloud, in other words, is reducing barriers to entry.

While the AWS event was awash with start-ups, it was also interesting to hear testimonials from other, more established businesses. We heard the Chief Information Officer of Sainsbury’s (a UK supermarket, with 150 years of operating history) highlight that since the business had deployed AWS services, it was using 30% less computing infrastructure and has seen a marked uplift in general performance. Some 80% of Sainsbury’s customer data has now apparently been migrated online, with zero outages so far. Meanwhile, a representative from the Ministry of Justice reported how this arm of Government was now “cloud-first” in its approach to IT and had experienced “major savings on hosting” with “much better reliability.”

In order to accelerate cloud migration, the Amazon approach (which can be considered an effective template for the industry) is to develop an increasing number of “relevant tools for customers”, per Matt Garman, VP for Amazon Compute Services. AWS already has a service suite of more than 160 propositions. Expect more, particularly in respect of blockchain and machine learning. The outlook is certainly becoming ever-more ‘cloudy.’

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