Workday takes customer workloads into the cloud with AWS

The HR software firm has selected AWS as it preferred provider for public cloud customer workloads.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

HR and financial management software solutions firm Workday has announced that it will be walking away from the self-managed datacentre, selecting Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred provider for public cloud customer workloads.

Speaking at the AWS re:Invent conference on Wednesday, Workday senior vice president of technology development David Clarke said Workday will begin its AWS transition in Canada early next year, before expanding worldwide from there.

"This means that all of the workday applications will be running on the Amazon cloud," he said.

"We have been using AWS services for quite a long time. We started way back in 2008 and I distinctly remember our first bill of $34.31 -- it was on my personal credit card at the time. Since then we've used well over 100,000,000 hours of compute services from Amazon and we've long since burned through my credit limit."

Workday originally built out its own datacentres and infrastructure, but as the company looked forward to the ten next years, it thought about where the world was headed and decided on-premises was not the best option scale out its increasingly successful platform.

Clarke said that after exploring the many options in the space, Workday was more than satisfied that AWS is a highly reliable and scalable platform to achieve what he said the company needs to.

"We made the decision to focus on building great applications, but leverage the very powerful and broad platform of AWS," he said.

"It is right for enterprise workloads which is why we made this selection and embarked on this multi-year partnership with Amazon.

"Also, this means that we can focus on what we do best, building great applications for our global customer base. It also means we can offer more choices for our customers in terms of how and where to deploy."

Aneel Bhusri, cofounder and CEO of Workday, said that 11 years ago he had the opportunity to start with a clean sheet of paper and design and use the most modern technologies in building out his company.

He took a page out the consumer internet book, following the likes of what Facebook and Amazon were doing. He said Workday embraced the concept of the power of one, which meant having one code, one user model, one interface, and all of the company's customers were in the one place.

"That might seem like a fairly simple thing to do, but if you compare it with the likes of our competitors Oracle and SAP, which we effectively call 'Frankensources'. They actually got to the cloud through consolidation -- they bought many companies, and today they have a portfolio with over 20 different interfaces, different security models, different SLAs and they're spending most of their time trying to tie all of those things together," he said.

"For us with the power of one, we're able to move quickly ... and innovate rapidly. When we move from one version to the next, our customers come with us."

Disclosure: Asha Barbaschow travelled to AWS Re:Invent as a guest of AWS.

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