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Amazon's New Management Console Treads Lightly

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Today, Amazon ( s AMZN) Web Services announced a management console that illustrates how carefully Amazon is playing its role as a platform provider. The new console competes in part with products from  RightScale, Elastra (which has backing from Amazon) and Enomaly, but doesn’t crush them out of existence.  Currently those vendors offer management products beyond Amazon’s — either in functionality or in managing other clouds too.

I had wondered before whether or not Amazon would launch features that would make startups building around its platform obsolete. I came to the conclusion that Amazon’s willingness to share information would help vendors plan ahead in time for them to shift or expand beyond EC2 or other Amazon products.

A quick peek at RightScale’s blog entry about this potential business threat shows that it had some warning and was thinking about this announcement ahead of time — but it still may cause problems. RightScale points out that some of its business comes from developers trying out their free product (which is similar to Amazon’s) and then paying to upgrade for more features. If those developers go straight to Amazon, RightScale may miss a chance to convert some sales. Michale Crandell, CEO of RightScale says he doens’t know if that will be a problem, but he doesn’t think the Amazon console directly threatens his business.

Smart startups accept that they will need to expand beyond Amazon quickly and pump more money into their marketing efforts to showcase why their subscription  products add value to what Amazon does and will offer.

8 Responses to “Amazon's New Management Console Treads Lightly”

  1. John Kearse

    The only complete console for all of the AWS webservices out there is actually Ylastic. They are also the only ones that have mobile versions too – both for the iPhone and for Android powered phones. In my opinion they are one of the few companies out there building truly innovative stuff. Rightscale is also more than just an EC2 console. They have Rightscripts and other nice stuff, and are also going to support other clouds. Enomaly is vaporware. I don’t think it even belongs on this list. My two cents …

  2. Amazon’s willingness to share information would help vendors plan ahead in time for them to shift or expand beyond EC2 or other Amazon products?

    Are you kidding me? Amazon Web Services is a company that bases their business on others who build their businesses on Amazon’s Infrastructure, yet doesn’t have partner program? AWS appears to have a complete lack of respect for their bread butter eco-system, it is a joke to they give “time to shift”. Shift to what? A business model that doesn’t compete with AWS directly?

    It’s time for AWS to get a partner program in place and get a clear product roadmap.

  3. Growing as a platform provider is another step forward for Amazon — and a necessary step to increase it’s already massive reach. EBay has already made significant moves in that direction — and Facebook is similarly encouraging and providing developers with tools to create apps on its platform. These all represent moves to make the underlying platform more relevant and valuable to a wider user base seeking more value added and greater integrated functionality from established market leaders.

    I believe it is a Darwinian style evolution process where entities must continue to evolve and adapt or lose relevance at their peril. Big is not always better perhaps, but growth, adaptability, and evolution in a fast changing marketplace via the integration of desirable functionality that may compete with third party solutions has become a necessary part of doing business in order to remain relevant — and as such competitive irrespective of size (especially given the ability of superior technologies to enjoy swift user adoption rates and hence scale quickly).

    Therefore, in an open and dynamic marketplace, all parties should avail themselves of the best possible solutions to be as seamlessly integrated as possible into their product / platform offerings as in the end this is what users are seeking — and this is what therefore drives success via ability to compete whether with corporate giants or small start-ups (which won’t remain small for long if allowed to operate without competition).

    In the end I agree with the comments re: commoditization of technology services. Ultimately competition (again irrespective of “size”) itself “competes away” monopolistic advantages which can charge excessive prices (“rents”) for their products & services whereas commoditization via open market competition is good for all consumers while also ensuring that they receive superior products and services from multiple sources and vendors.