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Amazon CTO: Stop spending money on 'undifferentiated heavy lifting'

Amazon CTO: Stop spending money on 'undifferentiated heavy lifting'

Almost every industry is changing dramatically because of the availability of cloud computing, says Dr Werner Vogels.

“Cloud computing is transforming IT and the industry. We are entering a new era,” says Dr Werner Vogels, chief technology officer of Amazon.com.“There is no industry vertical not making use of Amazon Web Services (AWS) today,” said Vogels, in his keynote at the first AWS Summit in Auckland.He says AWS have been pioneers of cloud computing for seven years now, with a range of different services spanning computing, storage, database and application management.“The driver for which services to build and which features to add is done by customers,” he says. “We thrive on feedback how to build better services.”He says enterprises should “stop spending money on undifferentiated heavy lifting.”“All this heavy lifting is taken out of your hands,” he says.He says with the tremendous uncertainty in the economic system, enterprises need a different resourcing model. “How do you address uncertainty? Acquire resources on demand, pay for what you use, leverage each other’s competencies, turn fixed costs into variable.”“We do not lock you in into any technology, you can have any OS (operating system) you want, any middleware, any programming language,” he says. “Traditional IT vendors do not like this model, they like to lock you for long periods of time regardless of whether you want to use their services or not.”Five years ago, he says, CIOs were all talking about how to get a seat on the board, and how to become more important for the business. The CIOs always felt what was holding them back was they were either reporting to the CFO or to the COO, and their charge was to reduce costs using technology.But the only way to reduce cost in this IT world is to have very long-term contracts with technology providers, he says. He says many CIOs have been put into this situation where they only have a limited set of technologies that they can commit to while the business is radically changing at the same time. On data sovereignty, Vogels says any large enterprise has a whole range of different operations and may have a very small subset of operations and data storage operations that are subject to a particular form of data sovereignty.“Eighty percent of the other operations can still make use of cloud services immediately without having to think about it,” he says. Security is our number one priority always, he says. “Who has access to my data? If you put data in that particular region, it will not leave that region, that is a promise,” he says.“You have total control,” he says. “If you have critical business data you should encrypt that data, not just in our cloud, this is best practice all times. If you encrypt your data, you decide who has access to your data.“I think what is more important many CIOs around the world making use of our services is that it is radically changing the way they do their business.”“In the past, the procurement process for anything will have five different layers, and will take several months to even get the server in the territory. Now it is a matter of just pushing a button.”With cloud services, the CIO can shift from the person that says ‘no’, to one that enables innovation.“CIOs are becoming the drivers of business innovation where IT in the past has been seen as a blocker. Now, IT is the enabler if they execute well.”

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