What's Amazon's enterprise strategy for the cloud?

By Brandon Butler, Network World |  Cloud Computing, Amazon, Amazon Web Services

CEO Jason Stowe helps companies use AWS resources for high-performance computing needs. Cycle works with a majority of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies, he says, including Novartis, which ran a 30,000-core workload over 95,000 compute hours in AWS's cloud to run analysis of drug tests. It's a game-changer for the enterprise, he contends.

"This is like moving from the horse and buggy to the automobile," he says. As Cycle Computing ramps up, he says large-scale workloads of 10,000 to 20,000 cores have becoming "pedestrian" for Cycle to manage and AWS to handle. Robert Half International, The Hartford and Pacific Life all discussed at Amazon's conference ways in which they're doing HPC in AWS's cloud.

Still, when Novartis, Pacific Life and other major enterprises are doing these massive workloads on AWS's cloud, it's not the company's entire IT operations running the cloud; it's a couple of really big workloads.

"The public cloud is great for that spike of usage and resources that are needed," says Zev Lederman, of Newvem, which helps companies track and optimize their AWS usage. For AWS, and the public cloud in general, to move from intermittent use to consistent, all-the-time usage, customers, he says, need to have better tools to manage their cloud workloads, which is what Newvem helps companies do.

Enterprises at re: Invent seem to echo that sentiment. Eliza Corp. is a healthcare engagement service outside of Boston that has built a version of its proprietary tool that informs customers about healthcare information that will run in AWS's cloud. Technical Director Josh Siegel is optimistic about the scale that AWS will provide the company, but he's unsure about if customers will be comfortable with their data being stored in a public cloud. "If you're a startup, it's a no-brainer," to use AWS services, he says, but enterprise use cases are a little trickier, he says. Along with another developer at the firm, Siegel has been architecting the cloud-based version of the company's product, which he hopes to launch this month for a trial version. Depending on how that goes, additional workloads could be moved to the cloud.

Bharat Shyam, CIO for the state of Washington -- a state with 64,000 employees that serve 6 million residents -- says "governments tend to be very risk averse," which is why no personally identifiable information (PII) of Washington state residents have been placed in AWS's cloud by his staff. He does use AWS services for disaster recovery, backup and some applications, though. For example, the state's traffic advisory system can experience a tenfold increase in usage during heavy storms. Using AWS's services allows the application to scale up virtual machine instances as needed, which means users get the most current information possible.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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