Saturday, October 25, 2008

Amazon, Friend of Foe?

James Urquhart has written an interesting piece title "Is Amazon in Danger of Becoming the Walmart of the Cloud?". In the post he compares Amazon to Walmart and how they essentially killed the independent businesses in small town "America".

In James post he says;
While I admire Amazon and the Amazon Web Services team immensely, I worry that their quest to be the ultimate cloud computing provider might force them into a similar role on the Internet that Walmart played in rural America. As they pursue the drive to bring more and better functionality to those that buy their capacity, the one-time book retailer is finding themselves adding more and more features, expanding their coverage farther and farther afield from just core storage, network and compute capacity--pushing into the market territory of entrepreneurs who seized the opportunity to earn an income off the AWS community. This week, Amazon may have crossed an invisible line.
Thorsten's (Rightscale) response was fascinating, yet somewhat delusional.
Regarding your point about Amazon crossing a line, you are correct that we shall see where they go. Thus far they have only pre-announced features with virtually zero details and we've had a long and cooperative relationship with many, many people at Amazon and expect that to continue. So, I'd like to clarify how we regard this news as an Amazon partner.

Really, nothing that Amazon has pre-announced this week is unexpected. Load balancing at the cloud infrastructure level has been on our wish list since the beginning, and we're agnostic about monitoring. In fact, we'll provide support for both those new services within RightScale when they launch. All part of our philosophy to let our customers choose.

Also, the auto-scaling they pre-announced simply connects monitored events with the launching of instances. In our view, that's important, but only part of the puzzle. The more challenging task is to provide an overall system design and architecture where the auto-launched instances configure themselves into cohesive, resilient clusters, as well as to offer a development environment that supports workflow and lifecycle features such as versioning. That is what RightScale offers through it's server template architecture, and why our management platform has been much more than a dashboard for some time -- offering a complete solution with pre-packaged software stacks, training & support to give companies a quick and effective on-ramp to the cloud. For more detail on today's pre-announcement in relation to our platform, check out

Also, with due respect and admiration to Amazon for it's truly brilliant pioneering role in establishing cloud computing and storage, AWS VP Adam Selipsky, has stated, "Any time you have a large and attractive market, you'll have more than one winner." In other words, it's become a multi-cloud world. We expect that RightScale's role as a neutral provider of multi-cloud support and portability will preserve our distinct place in the cloud management market as an enabling platform for both customers and ISVs -- even as we continue to be a cooperative partner for Amazon.
It's fairly obvious to me that Amazon doesn't care about whether or not they compete with their community ecosystem. To give a little background, at Enomaly we created the first examples of how to run Windows on EC2 (October 2006) and with ElasticDrive (January 2007), one of the first persistent block storage systems for EC2 / S3 as well as helped in the creation of several AWS usergroups. Yet we were shut out of both betas of their elastic block storage (EBS) and more recently the Windows on Ec2 beta.

Don't get me wrong, the AWS services are awesome, but their partner program is the worst I've seen. Regardless of Rightscales admiration for AWS, it sucks when your trusted partners decide to compete against you.

My suggestion is don't put all your eggs in one cloud when looking to build a business completely dependent on someone elses infrastructure. Whether it's Amazon or anyone elses.

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