I have a confession to make…
I was late to the party when it came to understanding the impact of the public cloud. I was tangentially aware of Amazon, the online book seller I used, getting into the virtual machine “rental” business in 2007. But as a technologist in the northeast, I heard very little about Amazon Web Services in my daily dealings with enterprise customers. To me, AWS was attempting to be a hosting provider targeting start-ups and small businesses looking to save money on their IT spend.
It wasn’t until 2011 that I started having substantial conversations with enterprise customers about the possibility of moving some workloads to AWS and to public clouds. Around this time I also started hearing traditional enterprise IT vendors talk about AWS, not other traditional vendors, as potentially becoming their biggest competitor. By 2012, I had finally grasped the power and the potential of the public cloud and the “havoc” AWS was wrecking in the IT industry. By early 2013, I was writing about why most users should adopt a“public cloud first” strategy and about the unlikelihood that anyone could challenge Amazon in the public cloud space.
That was also when I started to take a seriously looks at an open source cloud platform project called OpenStack. It looked at the time to be the top contender to be a private and public cloud alternative to AWS. That led me to join Rackspace and their OpenStack team in mid-2013.
Since then, AWS has continued to grow, along with other public clouds like Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. OpenStack has had missteps along with successes and is trying find it’s place in the IT infrastructure space. I’ve written about that as well, wondering if OpenStack is “stuck between a rock and a hard place.” My employer and a co-founder of OpenStack, Rackspace, has pivoted as well to support both AWS and Azure alongside OpenStack.
Coming into 2017, some of my thoughts about the public cloud, AWS, private cloud and OpenStack have crystallized:
- Even more than I did back in 2013, I believe that adopting a “public cloud first” strategy should be done by every company of every size.
- This doesn’t mean that I think companies should move all their workloads to the public cloud. What it does mean is, as I said back in 2013, companies should look to move workloads to the public cloud as their default option and treat on-premises workloads as the exception.
- Eventually, the majority of workloads will move off-premises as more business recognize that maintaining data centers and on-premises workloads is a undifferentiated heavy lifting that is more of a burden than an asset.
- Private clouds will have a place for businesses with workloads that must be kept on premises for regulatory or other business reasons. Those reasons will, however, decrease over time.
- Private clouds will become a platform primarily for telcos and large enterprises and their platform of choice here will be OpenStack.
- Everybody else will adopt a strategy of moving what they can to the public cloud and keeping the rest running on bare-metal or containers or running on VMware vSphere.
- Managed private clouds, like the Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud offering, not distributions will deliver the best ROI for those that choose the private cloud route because it eliminates most of the undifferentiated heavy lifting.
- Something that could potentially change the equation for on-premises workloads is if the OpenStack project chooses to pivot and to implement VMware vSphere-like functionality. This will provide what most enterprises actually want from OpenStack – “free” open source vSphere which allows them to migrate their legacy workloads from VMware vSphere.
- If OpenStack decides to go hard after the enterprise, they should drop or refocus the Big Tent. OpenStack has 0% chance of catching the public cloud anyway and it would be better to focus on creating and refining enterprise capabilities and to do so before the public cloud vendors beat them to it.
- Multi-cloud is real but is not for everyone and not for every use case. It makes sense if you are a mature enterprise with different workloads that might fit better on one cloud over another. For startups, the best option is to invest in one public cloud and innovate rapidly on that cloud.
- Amazon Web Services will continue to dominate the public cloud market for the foreseeable future even though Azure and Google will make some headway.
That last thought brings us to the reason why I am starting this new blog site – The Learning AWS Blog. I believe we are still in the early days of public cloud adoption and most users are just starting to learn what platforms like AWS can do for them. My goal with this new blog is to provide a destination for those who are new to AWS and seeking to learn. Since I am one of those who still have much to learn about AWS myself, I have found that the best way for me to learn technology is to try and explain what I know and have learned to others. I will continue to maintain my Cloud Architect Musings blog for other technologies such as OpenStack, containers, etc..
Over the coming weeks and months, I will be putting up blog posts, whiteboard videos and demo videos about AWS services. I will look to include every aspect of Amazon Web services, from the basics of Availability Zones and Virtual Private Clouds to automating infrastructure and application deployments using CloudFormation and Elastic Beanstalk, to designing scalable and highly available applications in the Cloud. I will try to provide the most accurate information possible but will always welcome correction and feedback.
In the meantime, I’ve posted some recent blog posts from my Cloud Architect Musings blog that recap announcements from the AWS re:Invent 2016 conference back in November. I hope you will find those useful along with all that I have in store for this blog site in 2017. Stay tuned and thank you for reading and viewing.