UPDATED 21:00 EDT / MAY 13 2020

aws-summit-online-wrap CLOUD

As AWS Summit Online wraps, analysts discuss public-cloud strategies for surviving COVID-19

The ability to scale workloads up and down at will is one of the key attributes of cloud, and one that is critical during a crisis. From the crash of 2008 to the disruptions of COVID-19 in 2020, cloud adoption has been boosted by economic disasters as companies look to flexibility to help them weather the downturn.

As the global Amazon Web Services Inc.’s Summit Online wrapped up today, John Furrier, Dave Vellante and Stu Miniman, co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, discussed key insights from the event. Topics covered include the keynote by Werner Vogels, Amazon.com Inc.’s vice president and chief technology officer; who’s winning in the perennial battle for public cloud supremacy; and strategies for surviving and succeeding under the constraints of COVID-19. (* Disclosure below.)

AWS provides a solid foundation for prospering under COVID-19

Vogels’ keynote focused on Amazon’s cloud services as the foundation for companies to build on, allowing rapid scale during good times, and bad. Citing examples of companies that have experienced unexpected surges in use during the pandemic, such as Netflix Inc., he discussed how Amazon is stepping up to support its customers.

“Public cloud is being put under the spotlight right now,” Furrier said. “Amazon, to their credit, is doing a real good job. We’ve not been hearing any challenges. They’re not leaving their customers behind.”

“[Vogel talked about] COVID19 is not just about the technology, but it’s about how we access applications, how we build applications,” Vellante said.

Amazon is betting on data and video, according to Vellante. “Clearly Amazon is seeing a huge demand for video services,” he said, referring to the Amazon Prime network that holds second place behind Netflix for viewing in April 2020. “We’re seeing a giant disruption in content distribution networks, and Amazon, I think, is at the heart of that.”

All clouds are equal, but some are more equal than others

The big three cloud providers — Amazon, Google and Microsoft Inc. — just reported cloud revenue estimates, and, “If you just look at raw numbers, you know Amazon’s just adding another Google Cloud like every quarter to their to their revenue,” Miniman said.

But while Amazon is still the clear leader in terms of revenue, Azure and Google Cloud Platform are growing faster. “You are seeing Azure close that gap,” Vellante said.


“Where are Microsoft and Google going after Amazon? Where they can,” Miniman said. Retail partnerships may be harder for Amazon to secure than its cloud competitors.

“The fear of many companies is: ‘If I partner with Amazon, are they going to come after my business?’” Miniman said.

But although they may be rivals for business, “it is important to point out that these clouds have different capabilities,” Vellante added.

COVID-19 forces tough business decisions

Businesses are being forced to make some tough calls right now, doubling down on growth projects and laying off or redeploying staff working in unprofitable areas, Vellante pointed out. He noted AWS Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy’s concept of one-way door decisions versus two-way door decisions.

“The former cannot be undone, hence need to be thought over,” he said.

“It’s about the need to have optionality,” Miniman added. “2020 is a key example of having to react to things that we weren’t prepared for.” He noted how Amazon has been a “walled garden” in the past but is now softening its stance to open-source and hybrid-cloud strategies.

“When you talk about emerging technologies like serverless and edge computing, is it the Amazon way … or will they play in an open ecosystem? Will they allow things to be more flexible?” Miniman asked.

In crises, “companies that came out on the upswing became real master-class examples of growth,” Furrier said. And cloud is shaping up to do better than most industries from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s not surprising,” Vellante stated. “Companies that previously wouldn’t even think about cloud, now they really have no choice.”

Here’s the complete video analysis, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the AWS Summit Online event. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the AWS Summit Online event. Neither Amazon Web Services, the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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