Emil Sayegh

Aug 27, 2013

The Flight From Amazon?

I got this email last week, from a customer commenting on a prior blog post I wrote about the high cost of AWS, saying:

Great post!

Don’t believe the HYPE: Dedicated Hosting is 3x cheaper than AWS

I am a disgruntled ex-AWS customer turned happy 5-server Codero customer.

Keep it up!

Dennis L., Singapore

This prompted me to realize that an opposite and counter-intuitive trend is going on in the face of the hyped news of Amazon’s enterprise cloud growth. It’s something we see more and more of – companies are picking up and moving AWAY from Amazon. They’re doing it for a number of reasons, but it increasingly reinforces the limitations of what Amazon’s cloud offers to the enterprise.

In some cases they’re bringing their operations in-house because they got too big, and in others they are moving to a hosted/hybrid cloud environment. As we look at the case of retail giant Target Corporation, we can see some of these notions as clear as day. Target decided in 2011 that after a decade of utilizing Amazon it would bring the operation back in-house in order to have better controls all around. A recent Wall St. Journal article called “Why Target ditched Amazon” quotes Target’s CIO on this decision:

“It was absolutely the right decision to make sure we are in control of all aspects of our technology and our guests’ shopping experience,” Target CIO Beth Jacob told CIO Journal. Knitting together online and in-store guest experiences will be crucial to creating a seamless customer experience, she said.

As the article notes, Target, like CoolAsia and General Motors, is but just one of many companies that has reclaimed IT operations to better suit their business needs. The lack of control, lack of visibility, and the high cost of pure cloud infrastructures are all factors that are adding up in a massive unfulfilled stack of promises to the industry.

Stories like this bear the danger of casting a shadow over all hosted and cloud services and that’s a shame, because there is a better way. Dedicated hosting is one answer, espousing tremendous advantages of security, reliability, cost and more being realized by customers daily. Hybrid cloud is another even more powerful solution, with the advantages of both dedicated architecture and the flexibility of the cloud in one powerful package. Codero feels that hybrid is the present and future of the cloud, hosting, and IT in general. Hybrid allows for quick, extensible computing, on-demand while retaining the advantages of dedicated architecture that fulfills the needs of security, control, performance, and value.

Target reports that since taking their website in-house, they’ve been able to get better data from their operations. That aspect of control, that aspect of customization, that level of information reporting – it can’t be done if you’re completely, 100% in the public cloud. Target’s transition wasn’t without pains as they did experience a pair of major outages shortly after the move, but this was an opportunity to improve from. That’s but one use case for dedicated and hybrid cloud solutions because if there had been a true Hybrid platform at the time, Target would have been much better suited with a Hybrid hosting platform.

Service Provider vs. Platform Provider:

Back to the flight from AWS– it’s real and it’s happening, and it shouldn’t surprise people. Amazon Web Services positions themselves as a platform provider, and not a service provider and they’re quite open about that. That notion illustrates how AWS feels about customers: they’d rather not talk to them! – service isn’t first. Coincidentally, for retailers and ecommerce companies that make their living off their internet presence (just like www.amazon.com), that’s just not good enough and that is why we are witnessing the “repatriation” away from AWS.


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