Amazon Web Services Handles More Business Critical Apps

Survey at Amazon's Re:Invent event shows that many AWS users are moving from test and development to business critical apps.
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In a survey of attendees at Amazon's Re:Invent show, 96% said they are discussing/planning to deploy an application in the public cloud, and 83% said they would do so within the next six months -- few surprises there.

But only 53% had done so, so far, according to the survey conducted by employees of Riverbed, a WAN optimization appliance supplier. That third result may offer an insight into the Re:Invent show, which is designed primarily for Amazon Web Services partners and users, including developers. The survey responses were collected in face-to-face encounters on the exhibit hall floor by a Riverbed representative, not by filling out an online form. So respondents had already expressed the seriousness of their interest in Amazon by ponying up $1,300 to register and traveling to Las Vegas to attend.  It was thus an informal, non-scientific survey, but nevertheless assessed opinions of people serious about learning about Amazon.

Reading between the lines, there were line-of-business people there, as well as developers and current users, trying to learn more about cloud computing and perhaps plotting their next move around their restrictive IT organization.

Riverbed found 10% of Re:Invent attendees surveyed said they did not have technical expertise. That minority contrasts with the 31% of those in the survey who said they were from IT management, and the 26% who were either application development management (18%) or  developers (8%).

Furthermore, of the 53% who had put applications in the public cloud, a surprising percentage of them had included a business-critical application (69%),  as well as test and dev (85%), public facing websites (84%), non-critical business applications (79%), and backup and archiving (70%). Business-critical applications were ahead of more mundane applications, such as IT help desk and IT monitoring (64%) or personal productivity/collaboration apps, including Microsoft Office, Exchange, and Sharepoint (57%), said Dormain Drewitz, Riverbed senior solutions marketing manager.

[Want to learn more about new features added by AWS at Re:Invent? See Amazon Adds PostgreSQL, big C3 Servers.]

"The story these figures painted for me was, we're at a more mature place than we were two years ago," Drewitz said in an interview. Of the 53% running applications in the cloud, the fact that more than two-thirds were running business-critical applications surprised Drewitz. "I was floored. That's a huge number," she said. But she added it probably reflected the most experienced segment of public cloud users, who are well ahead of the many prospects still testing the waters.

A total of 122 attendees took part in the survey. It's in Riverbed's own interest to figure who's coming to Re:Invent and why they attend because its products, such as Steelhead WAN optimization, are often used to allow AWS users to connect their applications with faster response times to users worldwide.

High figures for test and dev applications in the cloud have been true for several years and lead to other types of applications because "developers find it faster than working with the IT department," said Drewitz. But the involvement of IT management and non-technical business representatives indicates cloud computing "has moved beyond a developer-centric sandbox" into regular business use as a compute resource available in addition to the company data center, she said.

Moving email to the cloud has lowered IT costs and improved efficiency. Find out what federal agencies can learn from early adopters. Also in the The Great Email Migration issue of InformationWeek Government: Lessons from a successful government data site. (Free registration required.)