Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud platform created and offered by Amazon.com Inc has become a giant of the e-commerce giant’s business portfolio. In the second quarter of 2021, AWS brought in a record of $14.8 billion in net sales, and has accounted for just over 13% of the total net sales of Amazon. Due to its steady growth in the 30% range in the past few quarters, AWS has become a leader to other cloud computing platforms such as Microsoft Azure.
AWS is a collection of multiple things. It is made up of many different cloud computing products and services. The highly profitable division of Amazon provides the servers, storage, networking, remote computing, email, mobile dev, and security. AWS can be divided further into three main products:
1. EC2, Amazon’s virtual machine service
2. Glacier, a low-cost cloud storage service
3. S3, Amazons storage system
AWS us so large and present in the digital world that it has far outpaced its competitors. As of the first quarter of 2021, one independent analysis reports AWS has over 3/4th off the market at 32.4%, with Azure at 20% and Google Cloud at 9%.
AWS has about 81 availability zones in which its servers are located. These serviced regions are divided in order to allow users to set geographical limits on their services, but at the same time provide security by diversifying the physical locations in which data is held.
Overall, the behemoth that is AWS, spans 245 countries and territories.
Jeff Bezos has likened AWS with the utility companies in the early 1900s. One hundred years ago, a factory needing electricity would build its own power plant but, once the factories were able to buy electricity from a public utility, the need for pricey private electric plants subsided. Similarly, AWS is trying to move companies away from physical computing technology and onto the cloud.
Traditionally speaking, companies would look for huge amounts of storage and would require to build physical storage and maintain it. Storing on a cloud on the other hand would simply mean signing a pricey bit of contract for a large amount of storage space that the company could “grow into”. Building more storage or buying too little storage could be disastrous if the business did take off and expensive if it didn’t.
The same logic can be applied to computing power. The companies that experience traffic surges would traditionally end up purchasing tons of power to just sustain their business during peak times.
With AWS, the companies using it just pay for whatever they are using instead of the unused storage. There is no upfront cost of building storage and no requirement to estimate the usage as well. AWS customers simply use what they need and their costs are scaled accordingly.
Scalable and Adaptable
AWS is typically startups go-to service since AWS’s cost is modified on the basis of the customer’s usage. Small businesses see the obvious benefits of using Amazon for their digital processing and computing needs. To be honest, AWS is great for building a business from the bottom as it provides all the necessary tools for a company to start up with the cloud. For pre-existing companies, Amazon provides very low migration services so that the existing infrastructure of the company can be seamlessly moved over to the Amazon Web Services.
In the journey of a company, as it is growing, AWS aims to provide resources to aid the expansion. As the business model associated with it allows for flexible usage, customers will never need to spend their time thinking about whether or not they have to reexamine their computing usage.
Aside from budgetary reasons, companies could realistically “set and forget” their computing needs.
Security and Reliability
In terms of others, AWS can be argued as much more secure than a company hosting its own website or storage. AWS, at the present, has dozens of data centres across the globe that are monitored 24/7 and strictly maintained.
The diversification of data centres ensures that a disaster striking one region would not cause permanent data loss worldwide. To take an example, just imagine if Netflix were t have all of its personnel files, content and backed-up data centralized on-site in the event of a hurricane. The chaos and madness that would ensue can only be left to the imagination.
In fact, the localisation of data in an easily identifiable location where hundreds of people can realistically obtain access is unwise. AWS has attempted to keep its data centres as hidden as possible, locating them in out-of-the-way locations and only allowing access on an essential basis.
This, therefore, ensures that the data centres and the data contained within therein are safe from intrusions, and with Amazon’s experience in the cloud service, outages and potential attacks can be quickly identified and easily remedied 24/7. The same is obviously not true for a small company whose computing is managed by a single man working out of a large office.
Criticism of AWS
The success of the Amazon Web Service is without a doubt unquestionable, but critics of the service mention that Amazon is abusing or misusing its control of the market share by engaging in anti competitive behavior. The criticism comes from open-source database makers who claim that Amazon is copying and integrating software that was originally created by other tech companies.
In a way, Amazon is stealing and misusing its power.
A company by the name of Elastic did in fact file a lawsuit against Amazon for allegedly violating trademark laws. A statement released by them says that “Amazon’s behaviour is inconsistent with the norms and values that are especially important in the open-source ecosystem.”
The Amazon Web Service is nothing but a cash cow for Amazon. The services are shaking up the computing world and the market in the same way that Amazon is changing America and the world retail space. Due to the cheap pricing for their cloud products, Amazon can provide easy and affordable and scalable services to everyone from the newest startup to a Fortune 500 company.