Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy said at the re:Invent conference in Las Vegas that cloud computing gives developers “superpowers” to create and deploy new tools.
LAS VEGAS — Large companies have been flocking to the “cloud” to store data and run computing applications because it gives them spending flexibility and keeps them from running unwieldy data centers of their own.
But Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services, the world’s largest cloud computing provider, said there’s another, even more compelling reason: newly discovered abilities to create and deploy software.
“The cloud and AWS made developers feel like they were equipped with superpowers,” Jassy said in a keynote speech at the company’s re:Invent conference, which has gathered 32,000 developers and cloud advocates in this gambling and entertainment mecca. “The cloud and AWS gives builders capabilities that they never had before.”
Jassy’s comments came amidst a series of announcements that underscore how the business of renting computing power and storage is morphing into a platform that underpins the rapid deployment of machine-learning tools and voice-activated technology.
On Wednesday, Amazon.com said it would equip AWS with new artificial intelligence capabilities, one of which allows developers to use the technology that powers Alexa, Amazon’s own voice-activated artificial intelligence software, to make their own cloud-based tools.
There were plenty of other releases as well, ranging from improvements on storage and computing processing offerings, to a 45-foot trailer pulled by a truck that can allow companies to physically move gigantic amounts of data from their own centers into Amazon’s cloud. The device, which made its grand entrance into the meeting hall accompanied by heavy metal music, is dubbed the “Snowmobile” and can harbor one exabyte of data (the equivalent of one billion gigabytes). “We’ll drive the truck to your data center,” Jassy said.
The flurry of new features, experts say, highlights Amazon’s knack for building out what’s possible in its ecosystem as competition heats up with the likes of Google and Microsoft. AWS remains the largest provider at this point, with a revenue “run rate” of close to $13 billion a year.
“The key thing here is the richness of services they offer,” said Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC. “They listen, they add more services. That’s their biggest differentiator right now.”
It’s the AI and speech recognition stuff that seemed the most revolutionary. It helps Amazon approach an issue where Microsoft and Google are proud to show loads of expertise. “A lot of companies don’t realize the heritage Amazon has in the machine-learning space,” Jassy said. “That’s because we don’t talk about it very much, it’s not our style.”
But it also unleashes new capabilities in a realm that’s widely believed to be the future of computing.
“This is the future of how we interact with machines and with things,” analyst Hilwa said. “Devices will be able to communicate and understand, and all of this is going to happen because of the cloud.”
Jassy, the AWS CEO, told The Seattle Times in a recent interview that the cloud has become a “movement.” Nowhere is that more apparent than at the Sands Expo and Convention Center here. Slow-moving crowds filled the hallways and packed a cavernous meeting hall with room for thousands, as a DJ greeted the attendees with an early-morning mix of upbeat music.
Hundreds applauded when Jassy spoke about new features and made digs at Larry Ellison, the outspoken co-founder of Oracle, who has said that his company can take on AWS’s cloud.
(Oracle is also an established database engine provider that AWS seeks to unseat with Aurora, its own database engine offering for the cloud.)
“A whole generation of builders,” Jassy said, “are going to spend their time using the cloud to build massive capabilities.”