Friday, January 9, 2009

Amazon Crushes Ecosystem - Launches AWS Management Console

Why buy up your ecosystem when you can put them out of business? This is a question a few people in the AWS partner ecosystem are asking themselves today as Amazon official launches their AWS management console. Often being better is not enough to compete with being free and free is exactly what the new AWS Management Console is.

The RightScale blog emphasizes that its cloud-enablement business is not based on Amazon alone. The post goes on to say; “RightScale manages clouds, that’s clouds in plural. It’s become a multi-cloud world - and that’s good for customers and therefore the market itself. We intend to continue RightScale’s role as a neutral provider of multi-cloud management support and portability in order to promote an enabling platform for both customers and ISVs - even as we continue to be a close partner of Amazon.”

The post paints fairly optimistic picture of a multi-cloud world, one that may exist at some point, but not today. (This has been a main driver of our Cloud Interoperability efforts which RightScale has also been involved with) But lets be straight, for most part, all EC2 users really require is a quick and easy web based dashboard, all those extra features that EC2 management providers like RightScale, Ylastic and AWSManager offer aren't used until later, much later, if at all. What's more, most new cloud services coming online, have their own graphic user dashboards adding competitive pressures (Look at GoGrid, Flexiscale and ElasticHosts).

What worries me about this announcement is it would appear that cloud providers may in a sense start using their ecosystem as a kind of market research tool to help determine what features and opportunities they will address next. My hope is that companies like Amazon may start acquiring the more promising cloud ecosystem partners rather then creating their own alternatives and crushing their "partners" in the process. AWS has gained the level of success because of its active commercial ecosystem and should take steps to embrace it, not kill it.

I think the folks at Rightscale are correct in their view of the larger opportunity for a meta-cloud dashboard, one that enables the management of multiple cloud providers. I feel this will certainly become a critical point for any of these EC2 management consoles to continue as viable businesses, but until there is some sort of standard management API, this muti-cloud future is some what of a moving target.

Paul Lancaster Business Development Manager at GoGrid said it well,
"Better opportunities for other cloud vendors as AWS console de-values partners who build business on the platform. Good news for the competition."
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