AWS chief defends absence of price cuts at annual cloud expo

Amazon Web Services famously boasts price cuts on a near-routine basis. Yet there were none mentioned at the cloud giant's conference. Here's why.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

LAS VEGAS--- Amazon Web Services famously boasts price cuts for storage on its cloud platform on a near-routine basis.

Yet there were none mentioned at the cloud giant's annual expo, Re:Invent, on Wednesday morning.
AWS chief Andy Jassy
AWS chief Andy Jassy

AWS chief Andy Jassy had an explanation for that: Amazon simply chose not to focus on that this week.

"Prices will continue to go down. Prices went down several times already this year," said Jassy during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Jassy defended that after nearly a decade in the cloud business, Amazon has experience an "absence of competitive pressure" to slash rates, hinting it's just a normal practice and strategy for the corporation.

Additionally, Jassy opined about how the conference structure and agenda is typically shaped by customer feedback -- an ethos Amazon exceedingly applies to every department in its tech empire.

Jassy said customers usually respond that they are more interested in hearing about "how the cloud is transforming and what you're making available to us" rather than price changes.

AWS has slashed rates dozens upon dozens of times, and the Seattle-based corporation is certainly not alone. Microsoft and Google, among other cloud providers, also conduct similar practices frequently. Google Cloud Platform executives have gone so far as to liken cloud storage price cuts to Moore's Law for processors.

Smaller cloud companies have followed suit in what has become a cloud pricing war, so to speak.

Nevertheless, pinpointing the best rates for a company's needs can still be a headache, suggested Hassan Hosseini, a product manager at cloud management specialist RightScale.

Hosseini elaborated in a blog post published to coincide with Re:Invent, lamenting how cloud pricing can drive IT managers bonkers.

"By the time you multiply the number of instance sizes by the number of regions and then multiply again by operating system options, the number of price points quickly explodes," Hosseini wrote. "Add in a variety of purchase options or discounts from each cloud provider (like AWS Reserved and Spot Instances or Google Sustained Use Discounts and Preemptible VMs) and the number of price points quickly gets out of hand for mere mortals using spreadsheets."

The Software-as-a-Service company is aiming to remedy the situation with a new cloud pricing service, consisting of a repository of more than 100,000 current and historical public cloud prices updated in real-time. Users can access these price points through an API to compare costs by workload or even by types of instances on AWS, Google and other cloud platforms.

As for Amazon, Jassy didn't reveal about when customers and analysts could expect another round of price reductions from AWS, but there's a chance it could happen before the end of the year.

"You can expect to continue to see that from us," Jassy promised. "We just chose not to do that during the keynote."

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