Amazon: king of the enterprise IT cloud

In a previous post, I marveled at the irony of a bookseller going into the software business (Amazon Web Services), while some IT companies go into the book publishing businesses (IBM Press).Now the bookseller-turned-IT-vendor has teamed up with the IT-vendor-turned-bookseller.

In a previous post, I marveled at the irony of a bookseller going into the software business (Amazon Web Services), while some IT companies go into the book publishing businesses (IBM Press).

Now the bookseller-turned-IT-vendor has teamed up with the IT-vendor-turned-bookseller. In light of Amazon Web Services' latest agreement with IBM, observers say the formerly exclusive online bookseller is increasingly leveraging its technology to become a dominant player in the software world.

John Foley, writing in InformationWeek, observes that "IBM is the latest software company to make its wares available as machine images on Amazon Web Services. Expect to see more enterprise-class software vendors do the same as a fast-and-easy way to move their software into the cloud."

ZDNet blogging colleague Larry Dignan puts agrees that AWS has gained a lot of clout in the enterprise computing space: "To the enterprise IBM’s endorsement makes Amazon an official member of the corporate cloud club. Sure, partners like Capgemini, Salesforce.com, Sun’s MySQL and OpenSolaris, Oracle and Red Hat all gave Amazon enterprise clout, but IBM seals the deal." The AWS-IBM deal may also mean that Microsoft is "surrounded" in this market, Larry points out.

AWS saw the handwriting on the wall when it first launched its cloud computing services leveraging its own architecture in 2005. The line between service providers and service consumers keeps getting blurrier and blurrier. My only surprise is that more "non-IT" companies haven't followed the AWS example. Maybe Amazon wants to keep it that say.

In fact, the only blurriness from Amazon is how the Web services/cloud business is doing. There were few details in recent financial statements (the company did great in the fourth quarter overall). As John Foley put it, "As AWS becomes a distribution channel for the enterprise software industry, analysts and others (myself among them) are going to want to visibility into that business. IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, Sun, and Oracle are all licensing software through Amazon, yet Amazon is mum on AWS revenue, growth, and other information that would help us understand how it's going. Pressure will grow on Amazon and its partners to be more forthcoming." It would be interesting to see how big a part of Amazon's revenues are from IT infrastructure services.

UPDATE: ZDNet colleague Dana Gardner also analyzes the IBM-AWS deal, observing that Microsoft will be getting a run for its money, while Oracle will be sitting pretty.