How Amazon Web Services dominate infrastructure as a service

During Mobile World Congress I met with some folk from Twilio, the cloud telephony company, who said something that interested me. Twilio uses Amazon Web Service (AWS) for its infrastructure and told me that essentially there is no choice, AWS is the only cloud provider which can scale on demand quickly and smoothly as required.

Today at QCon London I met a guy from another major cloud-based company, which is also built on Amazon, and I put the same point to him. Not only did he agree, he said that Amazon is increasing its lead over the competition. Amazon is less visible than some, he said, because of its approach to PR. It concentrates on marketing directly to developers rather than chasing press stories or running big advertising campaigns.

Amazon has also just reduced its prices.

This is mixed news for the industry. In general developers I speak to like working with AWS, and its scalability is a huge benefit when, for example, you are entering a new market. You can do so without having to invest in IT infrastructure.

On the other hand, stronger competition would be healthy. My contact said that he reckoned his company could move away from Amazon in 12 weeks or so if necessary, so it is not an absolute lock-in.

2 thoughts on “How Amazon Web Services dominate infrastructure as a service”

  1. Amazon is essentially a nonprofit organization. It’s also the scale leader. That’s pretty hard for anyone to compete against. When Amazon is selling at cost, others can match it only by selling at a loss.

    The key is not to tie yourself too closely to Amazon’s APIs. If you have an appropriate abstraction layer on top, you make it easier to switch away from Amazon at some point down the road.

  2. Essentially they have no competitors of the same scale. Azure is great (I use it), but it is a different product, PAAS not IAAS. There are then other IAAS players but much smaller.

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