AWS re:Invent 2014: Cloud competition from Azure, Google scales

Amazon Web Services will clearly launch a bevy of new services next week in Las Vegas, but the elephants in the room will be Google, Microsoft Azure and a crowded field of cloud competition.

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Amazon Web Services re:Invent conference this week in Las Vegas will have something that the cloud provider hasn't seen since inception: Intense competition.

In 2013, AWS' conference highlighted numerous capabilities, an all-star roster of enterprise capabilities and new services. In 2012, AWS' conference turned heads largely because of the enterprise heft and the realization that Amazon's fast-growing business unit wasn't some side venture. The 2014 version of AWS' conference will have three elephants in the room:

  • Google's rapid build out of its cloud platform, aggressive pricing  and scale. 
  • Microsoft ability to roll out features , navigate the hybrid cloud via partnerships and building in hooks from Windows Server, System Center and other on-premises tools to Azure.
  • And an increasingly hostile investment community questioning Amazon's spending and product miscues such as the Fire Phone amid weaker-than-expected holiday shopping forecast.

One thing is certain: AWS is powering Amazon's expansion moves with products like Echo as well as any other cloud-enabled services such as Prime Video and Mayday. AWS also happens to be powering a lot of enterprises with its compute, storage and various offerings.


Simply put, cloud infrastructure is the norm, the three scale-out providers are set and it's unclear that AWS can enjoy the green field opportunities it once had. Toss in everyone from IBM SoftLayer to HP to Rackspace to Verizon to Oracle and there are a lot of hands in the cloud pie today. AWS had a few years to really get rolling while incumbents pooh-poohed the effort. AWS will have a tougher time going forward. This chart via Stifel Nicolaus of "other" revenue tells the tale.

I argued that growth concerns about AWS were overblown largely due to the maturity of the cloud. Indeed, the pie will be large enough to support a bevy of players.

But AWS will have to keep customers happy. Google is largely matching features, but can land enterprise customers over time. Microsoft Azure is a cloud juggernaut. And the cloud game is going to be increasingly about partnerships, interoperability and an innovation cadence that operates at light speed.

Notable sessions at re:Invent include:

  • Coca-Cola's migration to AWS
  • Running Docker on AWS
  • Hybrid datacenter architectures
  • Internet of things overviews in the cloud 
  • Analytics
  • Running big data projects in AWS 
  • How Autodesk leverages Splunk on AWS
  • Bakeoff sessions vs. Azure
  • Nasdaq's migration to Amazon Redshift 
  • AWS guides for health care and government deployments 
  • State of the union addresses in various AWS categories
  • Best practices for traffic spikes

ZDNet's Monday Morning Opener is our opening salvo for the week in tech. As a global site, this editorial publishes on Monday at 8am AEST in Sydney, Australia, which is 6pm Eastern Time on Sunday in the US. It is written by a member of ZDNet's global editorial board, which is comprised of our lead editors across Asia, Australia, Europe, and the US.

Previously on Monday Morning Opener