Amazon’s cloud business grew nearly 48.9$ in the second quarter of 2018 generating $6.11 billion in revenue which contributed 11.5% to Amazon’s total revenues in that period. Their cloud business also was one of the main contributors to Amazon’s record $2.5 billion in profit. This is a strong sign that the cloud business is growing and adding value to organizations.
In the early days of cloud there were concerns about trusting your data to the cloud. There were concerns about security, reliability and availability which are core to any IT operation. There were also disasters where cloud companies like Nirvanix, one of the pioneers of cloud-based storage went out of business and gave customers only two weeks to retrieve and remove their data. Several telco’s started, then withdrew from the cloud provider business. Amazon’s cloud business was introduced in 2002 and did not turn a profit until 2015. However, cloud technologies and storage technologies have moved us past those concerns and enterprises are moving more of their data to the cloud. In 1Q 2018, IDC reported that the revenues generated by original design manufacturers (ODM) who sell storage directly to cloud hyperscale data centers increased 80.4% year over year to $3.1 billion and was 23.9% of total enterprise storage investments during that quarter.
One of the cloud technologies that has increased trust in the cloud is S3. S3 (Simple Storage Services) is a cloud computing web service which provides object storage through web services interfaces like REST using HTTP commands that enable data to travel across the internet. The S3 API provides the capability to store, retrieve, list and delete objects in S3. S3 services include features that have increased the trust and usability of cloud storage such as multi-tenancy, security& policy, atomic updates, life cycle management, logging, notifications, replication, encryption, and billing. S3 was introduced by Amazon in 2007 and has been adopted by most major cloud providers.
The major storage technology that increased trust in the cloud is object storage with an S3 interface. Hitachi’s object storage, Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) enables data to be tiered to the cloud over S3. Tiering enables an enterprise’s data center to move data that is less active to lower cost storage capacity in the cloud while maintaining control of the object storage from the data center. HCP always maintains at least two copies of the data objects and eliminates the need for backups. The copies can be dispersed over a geographic area with geo distributed erasure coding for availability. HCP also provides the flexibility to migrate data across the different cloud platforms or, in the event of another Nirvanix type failure, continue operations while recovering the data. Migrating between clouds involves setting up a new account in another cloud and crypto shredding the data in the old. Operations continues on the second copy and no movement has to be done between the clouds, which would be very expensive since cloud storage involves access charges.
Since the S3 interface is being broadly adopted by cloud providers, it is relatively easy to interface HCP to most clouds. We have connected to many of the major cloud venders in our Center of Excellence. Jeff Lundberg posted a blog on how we successful tested data tiering from HCP to the Alibaba Cloud (Aliyun). This connection to Aliyun is exciting for us since Aliyun is the fastest growing cloud provider.
While Aliyun is only about one tenth the size of Amazon and is not yet profitable, it is growing faster than Amazon. According to a recent Synergy research report Ali Baba surpassed IBM for the 4th ranking in worldwide cloud infrastructure, behind Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and of course Amazon AWS. Ali Baba is the largest cloud computing company in China, and operates in 18 data center regions and 42 availability zones around the globe. One is located near us in San Mateo, California. As of June 2017, Alibaba Cloud is placed in the Visionaries' quadrant of Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide.
HCP’s unique object storage service plus S3 tiering provides organizations with a secure, efficient and cost-effective way to leverage cloud services from multiple cloud vendors while retaining control within their private data centers.