Core enterprise workloads, not Artificial Intelligence, is driving the enterprise cloud growth!
An innovative start-up may be focused exclusively on AI and Machine Learning and flock to GCP, lured by Google’s AI-first rhetoric. An organization that mostly makes data-driven decisions may feel empowered by Microsoft’s Power BI suite of business analytics tools, and naturally gravitate to Azure. If you’re developing some cryptocurrency or some other Blockchain app, or you’re looking for a highly specialized IoT platform, you may be inspired by IBM CEO Rometty’s big bets in these fields and go with IBM Cloud. In their search of differentiation, public cloud providers are racing to build the perfect environment for what they believe will be the next big thing in the cloud.
All these infrastructure specialties look and sound really sexy. But for some reason enterprise adoption of these cloud services is not as big as one would expect, regardless of how big their company names are.
It takes a solid global and secure infrastructure, which can support any imaginable enterprise workload. Then add reliable support for enterprise clients and assist them in their cloud deployments, no matter the underlying technology. The result is a public cloud service that is not AI-first, or BI-first, or IoT-first, or Oracle-first, but Enterprise-first. Now, which public cloud has that configuration? AWS.
In my comments above I didn’t mention any tricks employed by AWS to lure the next startup, because I couldn’t think of anything that stands out. It is simply comprehensive. With cloud zones and regions sprawling over the globe, and an ever growing army of Solution Architects, AWS can support any possible technology architecture. Its services are ever expanding, so much so that developers need some time to learn to navigate them. But once you’re on, you have it all. Need a database? You can choose Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, MongoDB, etc. as AWS provides all those as a service. In comparison Azure so far offers only SQL Server and MySQL as a managed service. Google offers MySQL and Google Big table, which has not been enjoying good adoption. Looking for Analytics? There is Tibco, Tableau, Amazon QuickSight, and more. Artificial Intelligence? AWS has an entire portfolio of AI services.
And should you not find a specific service that you need as a native AWS offering, there comes perhaps the most powerful sales tool of all: the AWS Marketplace. Just like Android’s Google Play and the iOS App Store helped Google and Apple secure their complete domination in the world of mobile platforms, the AWS Marketplace is performing a similar function for Amazon Web Services. You can find a third party provider for almost anything, and the list is still growing.
The bottom line is that it’s quite naïve to expect that a specific feature or infrastructure specialization would be sufficient to lure the bulk of the enterprise world to a particular cloud service. And yes, AI or BI, or whatever the next thing cool technology trend might be, are really nice add-ons to have, not the main technology requirements, and will likely remain non-core services in the foreseeable future. The core enterprise workloads are usually boring, and/or very complex, with needs for redundancy and high-availability. This also requires proper balance of self-service and support. All big public cloud providers have the resources to build state-of-the-art data centers around the world, but at this stage only AWS seems to have the proper mindset to understand enterprise customers. However, the game is still on, and we’re still in the phase when a lot of enterprises are yet to migrate to the cloud.