Amazing Amazon


SINGAPORE: In an effort to further expand its growing Internet business in this part of Asia, Amazon Web Services held its first AWS Summit in the island city-state on July 17 to 18 at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center.

People may be familiar with the name—the successful online retailer Jeff Bezos founded in 1995, not to forget Kindle, a popular ebook reader brand already synonymous with what else, electronic books. Amazon, as it stands right now, is one of the biggest names in the tech industry, side-by-side with the likes of Google, Facebook and Apple.

But unbeknownst to many though, particularly in this part of the world, the e-commerce giant, which created a multi-billionaire out of Bezos, has been getting its feet wet on other essential Web services aside from delivering consumer goods both in the physical and virtual worlds. Amazon, since 2006, is in the business of cloud computing services and with a powerful presence at that.

For the past several years now cloud has become a staple byword in the area of information technology. In its simplest definition cloud computing is a platform service that resides on the network, in this case the Internet. One best example of cloud computing is Gmail, the popular e-mail service from online search giant Google that can be accessed over the Internet wherever one is located. And if you noticed, email is just one among the many web services that Google offers online. For example, there’s Google Docs, where one can access office apps—like word processing and spreadsheet – for free without the need of buying the software itself or the software residing on the user’s computer system. Everything is available in the cloud, so to speak.

“Software, particularly enterprise-grade software are expensive,” said Dr. Werner Vogels, chief technology officer, Amazon Web Services in an interview at the two-day summit in Singapore. “And many SME/SMBs don’t have a strong IT department. They may even have just one IT person that comes on a Friday afternoon, install or maintain some software, or fixes a broken [hard]disk, and that’s about it.” Vogels was pointing out that for many SMEs and even startups that can’t afford to have their own IT infrastructure like acquiring multiple servers or maintaining their own data center, enterprise-grade cloud services such as those currently offered by AWS are cost-effective ways of realizing productivity.

Vogels also shared examples of several startup companies that AWS helped achieve their business goals through the extensive use of cloud services and many of these companies are now familiar names in the tech world to include reddit, Pinterest, SocialVibe, Kalibrr and even former startup, Twitter.

SAP, Adobe, Netflix, even Nasdaq and NASA, not to mention our very own Jollibee Corp. are AWS users as well—goes to show that Amazon Web Services is not merely for the small players but for the big guns as well.

“Many of these businesses are confronted with the potential to grow big, and sometimes grow big really fast,” said Vogels. “And for them, the cloud is the ideal environment to work in because they don’t know beforehand how big they’re going to grow, how fast they could grow, and for us we have a natural alignment with them. All the knowledge we have acquired overtime; being able to scale really well, our experience and best practices we like to put in these companies.”

Cloud has been around for several years now. And with the current tech buzzword Big Data now literally taking over much of the IT space, AWS has this question to startups, SMEs and enterprises: do you buy more physical hard disk storage or servers to have a storage company or build your own data center, or save a lot of money and just work on the cloud? Your choice.


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