Witnessing the Democratization of Compute at AWS Summit 2013

Amazon Web Services has recently concluded a number of their regional AWS Summits where NetApp was a proud sponsor.  In EMEA NetApp was a Silver Sponsor at both the Berlin and London Summits.  I had the privilege of attending both events and want to share some of the insights gained from this experience.


NetApp has an interesting angle in the Cloud arena.  Unlike some of our competitors, we are not trying to be a Cloud Service Provider but instead sell "with", "to" and "through" Cloud Service Providers and treating them more as a partner than an end customer. This model also extends through our Value Added Reseller community allowing for a diverse, adaptable and leveraged Cloud offering. An example of this is NetApp Private Storage for AWS solution and bi-directional partnership between NetApp and AWSTom Shields gives an excellent overview of how NetApp sees their role in the Cloud and details around the Private Storage for AWS solution in this video hosted by the CUBE at the San Francisco AWS Summit 2013.



Attending these summits, with me, was my manager, John Rollason – Director, Product, Solutions & Alliances Marketing EMEA.  As an interesting background to his overall impressions on Cloud after attending this event and other NetApp or NetApp sponsored events check out his latest blog post:  Cloud Computing in 2013: Your strategy, not a Product


The Keynote by Werner Vogels – VP & CTO at was eye opening. Through his presentation, I gained an insight to AWS that I not had before yet I always had a clear understanding of how AWS came into existence., a successful Web Retailer –due to the holiday shopping season– saw a majority of their business fall in the months of November and December. They would need to build a compute infrastructure to handle the web retail traffic of this two-month peek but would leave a tremendous amount of excess compute to lay dormant for the remainder 10 months of the year.  A simple step to increase the value of these dormant assets was to ‘rent out’ the excess compute.


I’m not sure if this was an unbelievable coincidence or the plan of a genius but it created a Cloud Compute platform that would not only provide a tremendous push in the democratization of compute but change the face of IT forever.  The AWS model is the envy of Cloud Providers and IT organizations a like.  It is by no means the final frontier and there is plenty of room for new models, entrants and opportunities but for what they do and who the do it for, it is incredible.  I feel their genius is expressed accurately in this quote:


“The most radical and transformative of inventions are those that empower others to unleash their creativity – to pursue their dreams”  Jeff Bezos, Letter to Shareholders, 2012.


One of the analogies Werner used to describe the leveraging power of AWS to developers was to compare it to switching on the lights at home and how we don’t think about how much it will cost.  The idea being that cost of or lack of compute resources to explore a creative idea or a business breakthrough should never be an obstacle.  With AWS they keep the hurdle rate of cost, time and access low thus allowing creativity and innovation to flow.


An important aspect to Cloud Computing is flexibility.  AWS has proven flexibility in their pricing, compute offerings and accessibility, however data mobility remains a challenge; this is not only the case for AWS.  Often the main method of data transfer in and out of Hyper-scale Clouds is through FedEx.  “Do not underestimate the bandwidth of a FedEx box” as Werner puts it.  As a side, there is an interesting blog post on this very topic by David Gingell in his blog Tangential Thoughts.  Essentially, the old fashion method of moving data still has a higher bandwidth than the Internet.


It is with Data Mobility where NetApp Private Storage for AWS starts to make an impact.  This solution uses the world's #1 Replication Technology with the world's #1 Storage OS to provide developers a granular, fast and flexible Data Management solution between on premises Enterprise and AWS.  Not only does this provide rapid data mobility in a Hybrid-Cloud setting but also allows Enterprise IT to play a more crucial role and add value.


These are exciting times in the world of IT and Compute.  We are seeing tremendous innovations which bring tangible benefits to vast communities of people where accessibility to technology to realize our dreams and ideas are no longer a boundary.  I invite you to take a closer look at some of the innovative solutions coming out of NetApp and how we are enhancing, not trying to compete with, incredible Cloud Solutions available to the creative Universe.


You can read more about the AWS Summit 2013 - Navigating the Cloud series and get a closer look at NetApp Private Storage for Amazon Web Services information page.


Thank you for reading and look forward to your comments below.


on ‎2013-05-08 08:53 AM

hi Tim,

great overview - I particularly like how you position the resellers role in the equation.

BTW ... everybody should be forced to read your previous blog on 'How to be successful ...' - hopefully Nuri has got a copy


NetApp Employee on ‎2013-05-08 09:26 AM

Hi Lars,  Thanks for the feedback and for reading.  Yes, this is a great opportunity for NetApp Resellers to add value to their existing relationships with their customers and participate in the tremendous upside around Cloud. 

Nuri does indeed have a copy of my last blog post, How to be Successful in the 21st Century.

Thanks again. -Tim