Cloud Computing Dominator AWS held its Santa Clara Summit last week, and used the event to announce a number of changes to its existing product portfolio as well as some new bits and pieces, too.

It also took the time to, in its own words, “connect, collaborate and learn” about AWS. What that latter part means is that company executives took to the stage to evangelise about what AWS does, why it is so good, and why businesses should start using its services. So far, so normal, for a company-run trade show.

What’s exceptional with AWS is that it is so dominant in its industry. The cloud computing market is highly competitive, but by every measure, AWS leads the way by a country mile. Looking at the event’s agenda, it is, in some ways, easy to see why.

Company representatives announced a raft of new things to sell but also – and this is crucial – they continued banging the drum that Jeff Bezos has personally been thumping for years; a constant promotion of the virtues of cloud that has moved it from a dubious upstart technology to near dominance of the technical infrastructure market.

Tech publication The Register summarises it neatly: “Thirteen years on, the message has gotten out. The cloud is no longer an experiment; it’s rentable compute infrastructure made palatable for almost any application and industry. But old habits die hard and because there are still companies that haven’t become AWS customers, the cloud gospel will continue to be preached.”  

New stuff

But now down to the nitty-gritty. The company announced new, cheaper EC2 M5ad and R5ad instances, which used AMD rather than Intel processors. They’ll be 10% cheaper than those using Intel. It also told visitors about a new “glacier” storage service, called Glacier Deep Archive, which is very cheap and very, very slow.

“Many AWS customers collect and store large volumes (often a petabyte or more) of important data but seldom access it,” the company’s product description said. “In some cases raw data is collected and immediately processed, then stored for years or decades just in case there’s a need for further processing or analysis. In other cases, the data is retained for compliance or auditing purposes.”

That can be for things like financial transaction logs, medical records, raw production footage or vehicle telemetry data, it said. Glacier Deep Archive will “provide durable and secure long-term storage for large amounts of data at a price that is competitive with off-premises tape archival services”, according to Amazon.

It also announced a big tie-up with carmaker Volkswagen, through which the two companies will create what they call the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud. The idea of that, they say, is to standardise and bring data together from all the different Volkswagen manufacturing plants around the world – around 30,000 facilities, they say – to optimise and get the most out of them.

The two companies will bring together data from across VW’s manufacturing and supply chain to create an IoT ecosystem and harness some of AWS’s machine learning technology to improve Volkswagen’s business.

Volkswagen said that “IT at the product level of machinery, equipment and systems – for example for production planning and inventory management – is to be standardised and networked across all 122 production plants.”

Other clouds

AWS is, of course, not the only cloud in the sky. One other is Oracle, which, despite its prominent existing position in the IT market, has not witnessed such a meteoric rise to cloud dominance as Amazon or Microsoft’s Azure range.

The company, which has witnessed its fair share of troubles, including some tricky court cases, has been in the news again lately, this time for slashing more than 300 jobs in California. Redundancies are often an unfortunate part of any company – sometimes even those that are not necessarily struggling. Businesses may decide to change focus, and put more resources into one area.

That’s the case with Oracle, it seems. As reported by Data Center Dynamics, Oracle executive vice president Don Johnson emailed all Oracle employees about the “Organisational Restructuring.”

In the email, he reportedly said that the restructuring “will streamline our products and services, focus investments on our most strategic priorities, and help us to more effectively and rapidly deliver the full promise and reach of Oracle’s Gen 2 Cloud.”

Another company then, focussing more fully on its cloud. As demonstrated by the high regard with which Amazon holds its cloud business, and the restructuring of Oracle, it is clearly still in its ascendancy – but now worth, more than ever, big money.

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