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Anatomy of a Murder..How Amazon Web Services Killed HP Helion Public Cloud and Set Off an IT Tsunami

Date posted: 22nd October 2015

Amazon Web Services re:Invent conference puts the “IT giants” (and some small companies) on notice as HP shuts down their Helion Public Cloud….

HP announced this week that it was finally pulling the plug on the HP Helion public cloud service after close to a year of death row debate. This announcement occurred less than 2 weeks after the re:Invent conference hosted by Amazon Web Services. This year’s re:Invent took on a more literal meaning with Amazon re-enforcing their massive lead in the cloud and announcing one-by-one the impending death of the traditional IT giants plus interestingly some startups.

Very few of the “old-guard” of IT were spared from Amazon’s wrath these past two weeks. Massive storage firms such as EMC (since bailed out by Dell), Oracle and IBM are on notice that Amazon is displacing the traditional physical storage business. Companies pivoting their focus to the rapid growth in internet of things devices including Cisco are also in trouble with Amazon’s new features. Amazon Inspector is taking on the giants of security monitoring including Symantec, and Trend Micro. Even tiny Brooklyn, NY based startup Etsy was not spared from Amazon’s barrage at re:Invent.

Amazon Inspector and Web Application Firewall : Automated Security Assessment for the Cloud
Amazon first introduced its security assessment service known as Amazon Inspector. Inspector is focused on threats from applications that are deployed within the AWS cloud environment. It takes prior vulnerabilities and historic best practices in order to find deviations and in turn provide recommendations for mitigation or remediation. The knowledge base “out-of-the-box” is sizable and already matches the standard set by more well known security monitoring technologies including those deployed by Symantec. Common standards such as PCI DSS, shared vulnerability, and malware threat databases are included in day-one definitions without the need to build a new database which is traditionally a reason to slow early adoption of new security services.

Amazon Inspector works closely with Amazon Web Application Firewall (WAF) to protect applications hosted in the cloud and provides the customizable application and security rule detail needed to block common application attacks.

We do see a material hole with the lack of zero-day protection in the threat database and no known feature to contain or sandbox malware but for a brand-new security service Amazon Inspector stands up nicely to more well-known longer tenured security monitoring tools. The success of this service should be closely monitored throughout IT but especially amongst companies such as Symantec, Trend Micro and even CA.

Amazon Internet of Things: Will Cisco join the walking dead?
AWS IoT beta announced at re:Invent is providing the ability to leverage Amazon’s cloud service the 50 billion or so objects expected to be IoT ready in the next 5 years. This platform will empower developers to connect devices with applications that already exists or are being migrated to Amazon Web Services.

AWS IoT directly takes out IT giant Cisco who has pivoted their primary marketing strategy away from the bones of the internet toward the bones of the IoT world. With Amazon’s direct connection between web applications and device along with their pretty well known consumer “side” business ( there is massive opportunity for Amazon to position itself as both the market leader for consumer IoT devices along with the hosting and connections behind it.

Breaking the chain of vendor other words Dell might have spent too much for EMC
Legacy storage companies such as EMC, Oracle and IBM have been able to dominate the space for years by setting up clients with long deploy, expensive physical hardware and services contracts that provide “vendor lock-in”. What’s good for the giants is bad for customers and AWS has stepped in to disrupt here as well.

Oracle was first on the hit list with the announcement of new tools that ease enterprise company migration from Oracle storage to AWS. This enables companies from mid-market to enterprise to easily take they data from vendor locked-in physical storage to flexible and nimble AWS public cloud.

Next came EMC’s turn to hurt with AWS Lambda and EC2 updates that make it incredibly simple to migrate data over without business disruption. Combined with the new CloudWatch Dashboard  Amazon has built a portfolio of tools to migrate, integrate and monitor cloud instances for business that would otherwise suffer at the hands of “vendor lock-in” and the cost and slow timelines that go along with that.

Amazon Mobile Hub…marketing to the core audience of AWS
Amazon didn’t stop at the IT giants for disruptive features. Amazon Mobile Hub announced in beta at re:Invent providers developers tools that help config, build, test and monitor usage of mobile apps. The direct tie into AWS services will help skip the sometimes painful process of integrate services and gives “out-of-the-box” features that ease development and reduce complexity. Unlike some of the features mentioned above this does not necessarily open a new enterprise class market for AWS but does certainly re-enforce their dominance among small startups, individual developers and side passive income entrepreneurs earning revenue from mobile apps.

As a somewhat newer industry the mobile application development industry doesn’t yet have a dominant IT giant or even market leader but companies such as Appery and even GitHub should closely monitor the progress of AWS Mobile Hub as beta progresses to determine what if anything can be done to mitigate their risks.

Finally what does Etsy have to fear about Amazon Web Services?
Handmade at Amazon should put fear into small Brooklyn based startup Etsy and similar firms. Etsy for those of you that do not know is an online marketplace for finding original art crafts and objects. Amazon is taking them on direct with the Handmade at Amazon offering and is offering special discounts to displace Etsy’s core sellers. A new marketplace built directly on the AWS platform at scale Handmade provides a shopping experience and community to list and procure crafts directly from sellers. This is an interesting hybrid path for Amazon taking their cloud expertise and combining it with consumer shopping to dominate yet another growing industry.

Amazon from the start has always focused on disruption with Jeff Bezos and his team aggressively pursuing the latest in new technology in order to maintain market dominance. This past month though has been particularly scary for IT giants and others not named Amazon. We expect their massive lead to grow over the next few months to years as these features mature from beta and take on customer adoption.

In conclusion summarizing the risk of IT’s giant Amazon Tsunami

  • Amazon:disrupting everyone, leading the charge of future IT
  • IT Channel formerly known as the VAR: must re-focus on providing Cloud Managed Services with business value centered on Amazon Web Services and similar partners
  • Cisco/EMC/Oracle/IBM and their associated “value-added resellers”:Sorry, if you read this far and didn’t realize you are in trouble you are. There is no value left in long term, long deploy vendor lock-in marketing and sales strategies
  • If you work for Etsy or Appery, sorry don’t know why they came for you but they did

tl;dr Amazon Web Services is dominating the future of IT with their public cloud platform while the giants of the past struggle to keep pace.

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About Author

Joe Asady is the  Founder and Chief Executive Officer of New York City based Netfast Technology Solutions Inc ( With well over 3 decades  of IT management experience, ranging from software engineering to product distribution and technology services, Mr. Asady is leading Netfast’s initiative to become a leading Cloud Managed Services Provider enabling Mid-Tier Enterprise customers to accelerate their Digital Business transformation with managed Cloud and Mobile solutions.