Free beer! Now Amazon has cloud developers' attention

The AWS pop-up loft in San Francisco is the latest indication that cloud developers are a hot commodity -- and have choices

You know the hunt for developers is getting tough when free beer enters the equation. will reopen a "pop-up loft" in downtown San Francisco this fall to give developers a place to learn more about Amazon Web Services.

The loft can hold as many as 400 people, and AWS will use it as a social gathering place for developers. Amazon employees will staff the location so that developers can ask questions and attend free technical classes, as well as grab some pizza and beer. During the four weeks that the loft was open earlier this year, a cloud-connected beer tap named the "Simple Beer Service" poured 1,485 beers.

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This loft shows how important it is to recruit strongly for developers. AWS always does a pretty good job of recruiting developers, and reopening the pop-up loft will help that effort. If I lived in San Francisco, I would be down there a few times -- after all, free beer is free beer.

The competition for developers is getting heated. In its early days, AWS had only a handful of cloud providers to compete with, most of which did not come close to matching AWS's capabilities. This year, we've seen both Google and Microsoft come on strong, with Google perhaps giving AWS a good run for its money.

The three big cloud providers all understand that having the developer is critical, and they are all taking steps to make sure they get their bids out for the best and brightest cloud developers, as well as cloud development companies.

The reality is that it's time for developers (and development organizations) to pick sides. Although some can focus on more than one cloud platform, most won't have the bandwidth. They will go where they see the most value for their careers and company profits.

A year ago, AWS seemed to be the logical choice, but today the services provided by both Microsoft and Google have become much more compelling, so the choice is much harder to make.

Free beer helps.

This article, "Free beer! Now Amazon has cloud developers' attention," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.