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Amazon spreads gospel of cloud, serverless computing

M. Taufiqurrahman

The Jakarta Post

Las Vegas, United States  /  Wed, November 28, 2018  /  08:00 pm
Amazon spreads gospel of cloud, serverless computing

Amazon Web Services (AWS) leader Terry Wise (left) engages in a fireside chat with AWS CEO Andy Jassy during an event to kick off the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, United States, on Nov. 27. (The Jakarta Post/Handout/AWS re:invent)

E-commerce giant Amazon kicked off the Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent conference this week in Las Vegas, United States, during which the company delivered its sales pitch on the power of cloud computing to a global audience.

More than 50,000 participants, including vendors, analysts, software developers and cloud computing observers, gathered at the heart of the gambling and entertainment center to hear Amazon executives and some of the company's cloud computing partners share their roadmap on how to make the transition toward cloud-based, serverless computing, which the e-commerce giant expects will deliver faster economic growth in the near future.

During the week-long event, AWS has also unveiled some of its new services including its collaboration with Lockheed Martin to make it easier for firms to download data from satellites as well as an internally developed processor called Graviton that poses a fresh challenge for chip giant Intel.

In the past few years, AWS re:Invent has become one of the most important tech events where Amazon outlines its cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) services, which have now become the key source of Amazon’s income.

Over the first nine months of 2018, Amazon's North America e-commerce operation brought in an operating income of US$5 billion from net sales of $97.24 billion. The international e-commerce division suffered an operating loss of $1.5 billion from net sales of $45 billion during the same period.

AWS, meanwhile, delivered an operating income of $5.2 billion from net sales of $18.22 billion. Analysts have estimated that AWS will account for half of Amazon's total enterprise value by 2020.

Cloud computing is a $60 billion-a-year business and has grown by 50 percent in the first quarter of 2018. AWS holds a 33 percent share of the market, and has been in the lead since 2015. Over the same period, Microsoft's share rose from 7 percent to 13 percent, while Google's share doubled to 6 percent.

Other players in the market include Alibaba, Oracle and IBM.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy said during his keynote address on Tuesday morning that the key to getting more companies to migrate their data to the cloud was by allowing them to complete the process quickly.

"A good chunk of companies want to move to the cloud more quickly and become more competitive. They are mostly looking for help to do mass migration [to the cloud] that would take between two to five years. Longer than five years will drag on," Jassy said.

He said that more and more companies found it more cost effective to move to the cloud. "I can't find companies that are not moving to the cloud because database service is expensive," Jassy said.

The Amazon executive said that moving data to the cloud would transform business in the next five years.

"The focus will shift to machine learning and artificial intelligence because of so much data collected from lots of devices and all will move to the cloud. Increasingly we will see robots operating companies [in the next five years]," the AWS CEO said.

For the conference, AWS invited a number of CEOs of companies that use its cloud services to share their success stories with the platform.

CEO of consulting firm Slalom Brad Jackson said that cloud computing had been the great accelerator of growth for his company.

"We bet early on cloud and it finally paid off," Jackson said, adding that his company was now present in 28 countries and employed more than 7,000 people.

Management board member of insurance giant Allianz Bernd Heinemann said cloud computing had been key in improving the service his company provided to customers.

Allianz has agreed to use Amazon's cloud service to transform itself into a digital-by-default insurer.

Currently, 70 percent of Allianz customers use both digital and in-person services to purchase insurance. "Now it takes only 60 seconds for customers to get their quotes and buy insurance," Heinneman said.

"The key is to think digital but be human at the same time."

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