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Summary:

Now that GCE is available to all — complete with by-the-minute charges and a new NoSQL database service, we eagerly await Amazon’s response. Make no mistake, there will be one.

Google Compute Engine vs. Amazon EC2

Now that the fog of hype is starting to lift from the Moscone Center  where Google rolled out its promised Amazon cloud killer, don’t expect the folks up in Seattle to stand still. As Amazon Web Services has made clear over the past 7 years, inaction is not an option.

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels and CEO Jeff Bezos on stage at AWS: Reinvent

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels and CEO Jeff Bezos on stage at AWS: Reinvent

Here are a few things AWS (which after all, remains the cloud to beat) could do to shore up its defenses as GCE, Windows Azure and soon VMware’s AWS competitor (to be re-announced May 21) come online.

1: Get more granular in pricing

One headline item Wednesday was Google’s decision to rent cloud instances by the minute instead of by the hour (well, you have to buy a minimum of 10 minutes with incremental charges for each additional minute.) AWS rents by the hour, which is something it could well change. Both companies are late to this particular feature however: Both Cloud Sigma and Profitbricks have offered sub-hour models for some time.

2: Keep pounding on enterprise support …

And management options like Trusted Advisor, which instructs AWS users on how to deploy their workloads more efficiently and more securely.  The knock on Google remains that it (let alone its cloud) doesn’t “get” the enterprise — millions of  Google Apps and Gmail business users notwithstanding. A CIO might ask herself: “Gee, do I want to trust my workloads to a search and advertising company? I still can’t believe I’m trusting some of them to a book seller! “

If enterprise is a key business, you have to keep earning it.

3: Prove that AWS is an Amazon corporate priority

The perception that Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos and corporate don’t care that much about AWS continues to dog the cloud services arm. It was a big deal that Bezos showed up at AWS: Reinvent last year, but he really doesn’t talk about the cloud business all that much. What might help there? BREAKING OUT AWS REVENUE! If AWS is a $2 billion-a-year-plus business, get transparent about it. And talk profitability, not just revenue. Come on guys, it’s time.

4: Keep the services coming

Much was made of Google’s brand new NoSQL database service, which, as my colleague Derrick Harris pointed out, is “eerily similar” to Amazon’s DynamoDB. Google SVP Urs Hölzle noted that Google, 11 months after announcing GCE, rolled out 10TB persistent disk, something that an “unnamed competitor” hadn’t done in its 7 years. That may be, but AWS has lots of other services and perks and maturity counts — especially among corporate buyers.

So, Amazon. It’s your move.

  1. Amazon has been doing a good job of providing enterprise features for big companies who suddenly realise that AWS is being used already. It’s an “after the fact” approach. Google has added these kind of support services in right from the beginning because cloud isn’t new any more (AWS essentially invented the “cloud” concept we have now). I think they’ll find a good route in as part of the Apps Suite.

    However, they need to get more developer mindshare. This is done through grass roots level work like meetups, hackathons and bigger regional conferences, something Google used to do (and I really enjoyed!) but don’t seem to as much nowadays. It’s slower but avoids the overheads of traditional enterprise sales.

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  2. GigaOM, could you please stop pumping this DOA product and not notice the elephant in the room (aka Windows Azure) which will never be surpassed by this so called “cloud”?

    “Here are a few things AWS (which after all, remains the cloud to beat) could do to shore up its defenses as GCE, Windows Azure and soon VMware’s AWS competitor (to be re-announced May 21) come online.” —- What? Azure comes online? It’s been commercially available for 3 (!!!) years, and to put this 1B+ business in one sentence stucked between 20% time project and a product that wasn’t even announced is a chronic case of bad biased journalism. Barb, what did Microsoft do to you?

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    1. Azure’s IaaS capabilities that are more directly competitive w/ AWS (as opposed to the Azure PaaS which has been around for years) were made public a month or so ago.

      thanks for your comments.

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      1. Actually, the original Azure was more of a IaaS/Paas depending on what you were doing. Also, at best, it was a special purpose PaaS (i.e. lockin) that would be compared GAE.

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  3. Amazon doesn’t really need to change its approach or strategy in the enterprise, but just keep doing what it’s been doing – continue to broaden sales, services and support. Amazon’s strategy for AWS in the enterprise has actually been pretty consistent over the years as it steadily moves upmarket – http://bit.ly/13dYAnb

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  4. I watched the video streaming of the announcement of the GA of GCE at a Google I/O Extended party. They talked about the GCE read/write performance advantage over “a well known competitor”, though it has been argued by many people before that GCE has not seen as heavy usage as the competitor, and it is not certain whether the performance advantage would sustain if the GCE usage increases by several orders of magnitude.

    On the other hand, the pay-by-the-minute move is pretty smart. Nobody wants to pay extra money for unused minutes in an hour when renting computes. Had the GCE API been compatible with AWS, I believe many people would move their computation tasks from AWS to GCE, unless, of course AWS releases a similar feature soon.

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