Shocker: Lots of new product-and-feature news at AWS confab, but nary a price cut in sight

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Credit: Amazon Web Services

There’s still a full day to go, but on the first day of AWS Re:invent, Amazon Web Services announced exactly zero, none, no price cuts at all.

That’s not to say that Amazon didn’t roll out a ton of new services that ride above AWS’s standard storage and compute infrastructure. One such service is Aurora, a MySQL-compatible database that [company]Amazon[/company] says is muscular enough to take on big-boy commercial workloads. While it was positioned as a MySQL replacement, Amazon’s sights are much higher, I think. In comments made yesterday, AWS SVP Andy Jassy mentioned proprietary enterprise software pricing models. That is a statement relevant in the Oracle database world, not the MySQL universe.

He also said agility, not price, is the major driver for IT purchase plans. That’s a valid point, but it also comes at a time when two huge, cash-rich competitors — [company]Google[/company] and [company]Microsoft[/company] — have started to drive price cuts on cloud infrastructure.

In other enterprise-focused news, Amazon announced a new key management service to help companies manage their encryption keys for both on-premises and cloud applications, another nod to the increasing acceptance of hybrid cloud deployments. Also, for security-conscious businesses, it announced its take on a configuration management database (CMDB) called AWS Config and the AWS Service Catalog.

For developers across companies of all sizes, there was also a continuous delivery and integration tool, a managed code repository and AWS CodeDeploy to facilitate rolling upgrades and ease deployments to multiple instances.

awssecurityWith these releases, AWS continued its relentless march to provide higher level services. Legacy IT companies that characterize AWS as “just infrastructure” are missing the boat, said IDC PaaS analyst Larry Carvalho. AWS is much more than infrastructure as a service these days, he said.

Google and Microsoft are playing catch up with AWS on many fronts, and some analysts think its head start is so large, it needn’t worry. Last year, Gartner said AWS business was five times larger than the combined businesses of the next 14 cloud competitors. But, never say never. Others look at Microsoft and Google’s cash situation and figure it’s only a matter of time before they challenge AWS on more than just price.

Asked how Amazon, which has flirted with profitability, can compete with two rich rivals, Jassy said he does not view their cash cushions as a differentiator. “If you look at the amount of functionality, services and features in services, we have a lot more functionality in our platform than they do, and I am highly confident that we can fund this business to its potential,” Jassy told reporters.

“We prioritize our resources … AWS has the potential to be the largest business at Amazon, which is saying something, since retail at Amazon is a $70 billion business.”

As for when might that happen: “I have no idea,” Jassy said.

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