What cloud providers should learn from Amazon Web Services

AWS dominates IaaS usage for three simple reasons that make customers very happy

Analysts have figured out that Amazon Web Services should be a billion-dollar business by the end of this year -- a milestone most IaaS providers have not yet reached. What's funny about this is that Amazon.com is known for online retail and not technology. Who would've thunk 10 years ago that these guys would have the best cloud plays since Salesforce.com?

Amazon.com has succeeded despite some very well-publicized AWS outages that hurt smaller companies. We appear to have short memories around those events: AWS sales did not seem to miss a beat.

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In my dealings with those who select IaaS cloud providers, it's clear that AWS quickly rises to the top in its selections for a few good technical reasons, including well-thought-out and fine-grained APIs and services, ease of on-boarding, and best third-party support.

The APIs are how applications access the infrastructure services that AWS provides, such as processor, storage, and database. The AWS API sets have a better design than those of their counterparts, providing the best access to primitives, meaning the ability to get pretty close to the metal. The decision to use fine-grained services for access to AWS cloud services clearly pandered to developers who like control.

Moving onto AWS is a fairly seamless process, and the less friction when you move to a cloud provider, the more business that provider gets. I hope others figure that out, because in many instances, on-boarding clients onto their cloud offerings is a huge pain.

Finally, there is third-party support -- lots of it. Everyone loves and supports AWS, including many new companies that provide IaaS cloud management services that not only support AWS, but run in AWS. You can't get a better validation than that, and I suspect that much of the billion dollars in AWS sales this year will come from partners.

AWS is doing many things right, and it continues to be the 800-pound gorilla of IaaS. Perhaps the emerging cloud computing space needs one of those right now.

This article, "What cloud providers should learn from Amazon Web Services," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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