Cloud Providers Innovate, Build and Cash In
In this brave new world of running businesses with cloud and SaaS technology, who’s buying hardware anymore? Well, cloud providers, that’s who. Financial filings from AWS, Microsoft and Google show they spent a combined $31.54 billion on capital expenditures and capital leases in 2016. Amazon is building a new cloud region in Sweden, and analysts say one region alone can cost several hundred million dollars. This kind of spending clearly reflects the way businesses are adopting cloud, and also makes it a lot harder for other wannabe providers to get in the game.
These big public cloud providers are also adding features continually, and looking toward their future roles. AWS, for example, is moving from providing infrastructure into offering more business services with Connect. It’s a call center process configuration service, based in the cloud, that integrates with Amazon’s public IaaS cloud. But as Cloud Technology Partners points out, the real takeaway is that AWS is moving into another class of technology offerings, beyond storage and compute. That’s probably smart, as these services are more profitable and can lead to longer-term customer relationships. There are signs Microsoft and Google are moving in this direction too.
One example of a new technology that’s come out of cloud provider services is serverless computing, also known as Functions as a Service (FaaS) or event-driven computing. This type of abstraction takes management away from developers, so they can essentially automate tasks by writing code that’s triggered only in certain cases—when a pre-defined event occurs. Code is written in functions, and the serverless platform actually executes the specific task. Amazon’s Lambda was the first platform of this kind, and grew out of AWS’ S3 product, which uses object storage to eliminate the over- and under-provisioning that’s common in on-premises storage technology. Azure’s version of this came out in the fall, while Google’s is in beta. With these kinds of intriguing developments, we’re looking forward to seeing where else cloud might take us.
With all this cloud news, though, businesses are still buying storage and other on-premises hardware technology, according to a recent ActualTech Media survey. 41% of respondents said they’ll buy storage this year. 36% will invest in virtualization and 29% in the network. But cloud is certainly on respondents’ minds: 42% of respondents also said that cloud was a primary area they need to learn about in 2017, followed by security and virtualization.
Till next week, dream big cloud dreams.