Amazon Web Services is attempting to distance itself from other cloud providers by enhancing its services to incorporate the differentiating features of its competitors.
But as Amazon sets its sights more keenly on the enterprise market, recent moves by Microsoft, Google, and Rackspace to improve their IaaS (infrastructure as a service) cloud offerings are creating an increasingly competitive cloud market, experts say.
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"There's a war going on in the IaaS market," says Paul Burns, an analyst at Neovise, a boutique research firm focusing on the cloud. Last week in New York, Amazon hosted one of 13 Summits it plans to hold across the world in the coming weeks, touting the success of its platform and trotting out examples of enterprise customers using its services. And it provided the backdrop for Amazon to discuss the recent advancements of its services.
AWS, a division of the Amazon.com e-commerce site, began in 2006 with two basic cloud-computing services: scalable storage (through Amazon Simple Storage Service or S3) and virtual machines on demand (through Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2). Amazon CTO Werner Vogels says AWS now incorporates 33 major services and products in its cloud. He announced last week that S3 now stores more than 2 trillion objects in its cloud, as of last week, and it serves, at its peak, 1.1 million requests for those files per second. The company has hundreds of thousands of customers in 190 countries, and it has reduced prices 31 times since launching in 2007. "And we will continue to do so," Vogels says.
In the last month, Microsoft and Google have made significant announcements for their AWS-competing products. Microsoft made its on-demand virtual machines (which include both Linux and Windows OSes) generally available last week. The week before, the beta tag came off of Google Compute Engine, which offers pay-as-you-go virtual machines.