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AWS believes it’s time to go all-in on cloud

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Blackboard)

Amid unprecedented demand for cloud-based services brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, cloud computing giant AWS is calling for businesses to embrace the new world order and to redouble digital transformation efforts.

Speaking at AWS Summit Online 2020, both AWS CEO Andy Jassy and Amazon CTO Werner Vogels were bullish about the opportunity represented by the cloud, including the necessary agility to respond quickly to macro events like the pandemic.

The pair also touched on the novel challenges businesses have surmounted, such as the need to rapidly scale cloud-based systems to support both a newly remote workforce and - for the likes of Zoom and Netflix - a massive surge in end user demand. None of this, AWS is quick to point out, would have been possible without cloud infrastructure.

"These last few months have ushered in a new era in technology...accelerating a path towards a world we predicted many years ago,” said the ever-ebullient Vogels.

“In 2020 and beyond, most organizations will transform into a completely cloud-based environment, where any worker can access any application from anywhere at any time.”

Cloud computing

The pandemic has undeniably emphasized the dependence of both businesses and consumers on the cloud. 

Almost all services that have supported people during the pandemic are underpinned by cloud infrastructure, from content streaming and online gaming to video conferencing, file-sharing, e-learning and telehealth.

However, despite the flexibility and scalability on offer, AWS CEO Andy Jassy says he still recognizes a reluctance in businesses to shift away from legacy infrastructure; “gravity-fighters” and “toe-dippers”, he calls them.

“There’s still a segment of companies who are trying to fight gravity. They argue they can still do the infrastructure less expensively than in the cloud...Often they’re proud of the infrastructure they’ve built, or it’s about the notion of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’,” said Jassy.

“At the end of the day, you can want something not to happen all you want, but you can’t fight gravity. If something is really good for customers and businesses, it’s going to move that way.”

Jassy also dismissed the notion that size prevents large-scale enterprises from innovating as quickly as smaller, more agile businesses might.

“I believe certain companies have harder challenges than others in the ability to move and organize quickly, but I do not believe that any company can’t move quickly.” 

“In every single business, if you’re not moving quickly, you’re going to find yourself chasing [competitors] as opposed to leading. It’s up to us as leaders not to accept the world as it has been, but to actually change the world.”

As the business environment becomes increasingly decentralized and workforces increasingly dispersed, thanks in no small part to the cloud, AWS is “optimistic about the future”. But that vision is contingent on a willingness among businesses to embrace the cloud-centric future the company has painted.