Dominating the cloud computing market for well over a decade, AWS has long since been the go-to choice for businesses and developers alike. As the Amazon-based tech giant continues to expand and offer services that are business-centric and uniquely positioned to cater to goals in the long term, much ado has taken place before the organization reached the heights that it has today.
Although Amazon didn’t invent cloud computing per se, they can be attributed to leveraging the capabilities of cloud computing and pioneering an infrastructure that has now become the standard for application development. Paving the way for cloud support services on a global scale, its widespread presence of data centres across the continents and a range of pricing structures prove just how focused AWS has been towards the businesses and developers that utilize its services.
But all this hasn’t happened without falters and failings; after much trial and error during the early 2000s, the idea for Infrastructure-as-a-Service was still a partially understood concept. What started as a meeting during the summer of 2003 is what led Amazon’s executive team to think that they had something to offer which was much bigger in terms of resources and value – and something that went far beyond the routine e-commerce retail purchase.
During the early 2000s, Amazon was simply an e-commerce retailer that had its own share of bottlenecks to resolve when it came to expanding its services in a cost-effective way – especially considering the fact that it reaped low profit margins. Upon establishing a highly functional website that served hundreds if not thousands of customers on the daily, Amazon then decided to venture towards offering its finely polished e-commerce engine (merchant.com) as a proprietary platform for other retailers to build their own shopping cart websites on, such as Target.
Since Amazon itself was a startup during the 1990s, little consideration had been given towards how scalability would be managed. As a result, there was no structure available to follow for the purpose of streamlining tasks and work processes, which then led to much confusion and clutter when it came to producing the offerings of merchant.com. This was rectified not long after, by creating organized APIs that thereby streamlined processes for the service provider.
The strategic establishment of this internal application development system can therefore make it safe for us to say that this was the birth of AWS, albeit a homely one. The manner in which the APIs for merchant.com were prepared made the executive team at Amazon notice the potential it had to streamline processes for other businesses too.
But as the company continued to expand and hire new software engineers, bottlenecks were still rampant. For projects that had 3-month deadlines, simply building the infrastructure to house applications took the same amount of time, if not more. This is because teams were working in silos by configuring and managing their own infrastructure. In turn, this ended up being more time-consuming as these silos then had to integrate often – a process that wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now.
The solution was a centralized environment which gave all teams access to one main point for collaboration. While this smoothened workflows across the organization, it also led rise to the realization that an internal infrastructure of this sort could be beneficial to other organizations too. This was in 2003, and at this point, Amazon began to further fine-tune their entire gamut of services which could then be released to the public domain.
Fast forward to 2006, and Amazon released its Simple Storage Service (S3) bucket-based data storage product. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) released not very long after. Offerings steadily increased, and so did annual revenue, with the cloud computing giant hitting $10 billion in revenue within the next decade. While this was the start of AWS, it was yet to reach the heights that it later did – with many monumental developments occurring throughout the years.
The story behind the conceptualization of AWS has indeed been an illustrious one. If one observes the milestones they’ve reached in order to land the cloud computing empire they have today, one key factor tends to stand out. This is the drive to improve services by looking within for existing problems – and being focused to solve them. As cliched as this sounds, the Agile manner in which Amazon has performed and delivered quantifiable solutions is something that is highly exemplary, especially for an agency like us that also happens to be an AWS partner.
With AWS now an established (and market dominating) cloud provider, this quality of being completely focused on the solution and on the pains/inconveniences businesses face (even when using their own offerings) is still evident in the updates and new services that it rolls out on a regular basis. While business/user/customer centricity is something that is popularly discussed and advised in this day and age, very few organizations have actually nailed it, such as AWS. This is the reason behind AWS’s success – further proof that focusing on solving the pains of your target consumer is a tip that has been tried and tested to be repeatedly effective.
Other leading names in tech followed suit.
After the launch of AWS, competitors weren’t far off to launch their own cloud service networks too. These included but weren’t limited to Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM, with many unique advantages surfacing for each of these providers. While Azure would’ve been easier to migrate to for existing Microsoft users (which was the vast majority of users, thanks to a leading operating system and an office suite that contained mainstream applications such as Outlook), Google Cloud offered valuable links to a digital marketing network owing to dominating the search engine market. This still didn’t deter AWS from being less than number one, as it had long since established a strong foothold in the enterprise tech infrastructure market from the very beginning.
Private and regional cloud networks that amp up exclusivity, while also being reassuring.
While cloud computing took developers and most tech-savvy individuals by storm, its newness was still tough for most businesses to grasp – especially in terms of privacy and security. Although businesses have complete autonomy over the cloud services they choose, AWS took this a step further by offering virtual private cloud servers in 2009. This enabled many otherwise traditional businesses to make the move to AWS, while having all resources stored in a server that was reserved solely for their own use. The year 2016 was another turning point in terms of data exclusivity, and as more organizations demanded local data centres, AWS opened one in the UK during the course of the year. With 24 regions that collectively consist of 76 availability zones, expanding this even further is constantly in the works for AWS.
Re: Invent is AWS’s annual moment in the spotlight.
Attracting thousands of tech entrepreneurs, developers and almost anyone that falls within the vast spectrum of information technology, this AWS event addresses the very latest in the field in addition to its most recent releases, of course.
The CIA is one of AWS’s most noteworthy clients, with the Pentagon almost having being one.
Chosen by the CIA to fulfil its cloud infrastructure needs back in 2013, AWS had been up against IBM – a leading tech giant that had already fulfilled several contracts for the US government in the past. Receiving this contract gave AWS even more of an upper hand in the cloud services industry, thereby creating a bigger gap in terms of monopoly than before. Another high-profile contract was that of the Pentagon, and while this was awarded to Microsoft, competition was fierce, even ending up in controversy in due course.
While competition prevails, so does the need to co-exist – enter the hybrid cloud.
As brutal competition between cloud service providers persists to achieve large-scale contracts, an intricate network of services, applications and infrastructure across the digital landscape also creates an overlap between on-site and hosted systems. As a result, it isn’t possible to depend on the cloud alone, and AWS has been swift in addressing this too, with its Outposts offering. A hybrid system that provides on-site servers in addition to the usual gamut of cloud-based services, all hardware is configured accordingly and delivered for use in a physical location.
Data is king – and nobody knows this better than AWS.
While AWS has created seamless pathways to input, process and output data in meaningful ways (along with a variety of pricing structures that you can take your pick from depending on which one’s the most affordable), transferring and analysing large volumes of data isn’t something that can practically be done via today’s usual means i.e. through the internet. This is what led to the creation of AWS Snowball and Snowmobile. While Snowball is a storage device that has a volume of up to 80TB, Snowmobile is a 45-foot long truck that consists of 100PB of storage space. Helping eliminate high data transmission costs over the internet, the Snowball and Snowmobile have been developed for applications that have vast quantities of data, which include but aren’t limited to high-resolution satellite images.
It isn’t breaking news that cloud services are indispensable in today’s technology landscape, as they make so much possible. From scaling up or down with zero downtime to hosting applications without having to worry about infrastructure, cloud services are only increasing in demand and offerings. Specializing in software outsourcing in Sri Lanka, we’ve learned a thing or two with regards to the industry’s leading cloud service provider, AWS – what with being a dedicated partner and offering its services to our own clientele. But the journey that led AWS to where it is today is one that has been replete with numerous trials.
Starting off with an API-based e-commerce engine that mimicked its very own Amazon website for the use of other retailers, Amazon strived to also polish its internal processes by developing technology infrastructure that massively helped in operational optimization. This was the start of the very infrastructure that would grow to be AWS as it is today. What was initially developed to improve Amazon’s own e-commerce processes was now being considered as a framework for other businesses to also set base on, with the additional perk of not having to worry about hardware in the first place. It was the sheer business-centric nature of Amazon that led to such innovation, and this is something that is still highly evident in the updates and releases that AWS rolls out on a regular basis.
A pioneer in offering cloud services to the public at large, AWS has become the most widely used in terms of cloud computing since its inception in 2006. While competitors such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM follow suit, AWS continues to dominate market share, thanks to its longstanding presence. With an extensive global data centre network, AWS is able to supply services with high efficiency and low latency. On top of that, its hybrid model further heightens the autonomy that businesses can make the most of, while preserving necessary data on an on-premise server in the interest of exclusivity/sovereignty.