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By | Tim Anderson 16th April 2015 10:28

Hybrid IT? Not a long-term thing, says AWS CTO

Cloud security now ‘much stronger than on-premises’

AWS Summit Hybrid IT — systems that are part on-premises and part public cloud — is simply a path to the cloud, not a destination, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels and told the 3,000 attendees at the AWS (Amazon Web Services) Summit in London yesterday.

"We have built a whole set of services that allow you to run seamlessly together [services] on-premise [and] in the cloud," Vogels said.

"However, you have to realise that in our eyes hybrid IT is not the endpoint ... There will be less and less data centres over time. Hybrid IT is the path to more cloud usage. Many more of your applications and services will move over into AWS."

It often makes sense to extend into the cloud for scalability, sometimes called "cloudbursting", or for resilience.

Further, the more the range of services from cloud providers grows, the harder it becomes to match them with on-premises solutions without incurring higher costs and slower pace of delivery.

Therefore, it may make sense to deploy new applications to the cloud, while keeping existing ones running on premises.

The range of AWS services is hard to match on-premises

The range of AWS services is hard to match on-premises

"We have a whole range of customers that have decided to go all-in," Vogels continued, mentioning not only long-term AWS enthusiast Netflix, which has been "all-in" since 2009, but also others, including Intuit (financial software), Splunk (analytics) and Tibco (business intelligence).

Security ... pah!

Meanwhile, cloud security, added Vogels, is not a concern. "Security in the cloud is much stronger than any of our customers can have on-premises. AWS is the best place to store your data, if you want to have full control over who has access to it."

The reasons he gave included a depth of security expertise that smaller organisations can't match, encryption and key management tools, and a range of certifications from authorities including the EU.

The AWS approach to hybrid IT contrasts to that from other cloud providers, particularly with Microsoft, with its legacy of on-premises systems and partners who supply and maintain them.

Part of Microsoft's pitch for its Azure cloud is that you can install the Azure Pack within an on-premises system and get many of the benefits of cloud computing from your own systems.

AWS on the other hand does not offer private cloud, and what it calls "Amazon Virtual Private Cloud" actually runs on its public cloud infrastructure.

Commitment to public cloud frees Amazon to be more radical and innovative in the technology behind its services. The Aurora database service now in preview, for example, is designed and optimized for a massive distributed infrastructure that cannot be replicated unless you have Amazon-like scale.

Still, while there are good reasons to use public cloud, there are also reasons for caution, and the number of large organisations that are "all in" is currently small.

AWS is growing fast though — usage is up around 100 per cent, year-on-year, for both S3 storage and EC2 computing, Vogels said, which means increasing numbers of IT systems now have a dependence on it.

As AWS grows, the consequences should AWS suffer an extended global outage or other calamity become correspondingly more severe. But that could never happen, right? ®

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