Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the leader in cloud computing. Microsoft Azure comes in at a close second with Google Cloud trailing behind, but it seems that no one can touch Amazon. Why? What do their cloud services offer that others don’t? What do they have that’s unique?
AWS started out with a great advantage: The power of Amazon behind it. The idea started as an experiment in 2006, when CEO Jeff Bezos decided it would be smart to get into the cloud game before anyone else.
And what a great decision that turned out to be–AWS brought in close to $7 billion last year.
When AWS launched in 2006, it wasn’t the cloud giant it is today. It only offered a couple basic services:
- The Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for virtual servers
- Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) for file storage
These weren’t widely used services. Developers of small apps and websites were the main users back then. They wanted a way to test things or run a simple website. Those ‘small apps and websites’ included now-household names like Netflix, Slack, and Airbnb that recently made the switch completely to cloud.
This has a lot to do with the massive growth AWS has seen in recent years, and is part of what Amazon calls the ‘virtuous cycle.’
Business Insider described the virtuous cycle this way:
“The more customers a cloud platform gets, the more servers it can afford to add. The more servers they have, the better they can take advantage of economies of scale, and offer customers lower prices for more robust features with more enterprise appeal. The lower their prices and the better their products, the more customers they get, and the more new customers switch over the cloud.”
We can see that the revenue Amazon received from its early adopters, like Netflix and Airbnb, is what enabled the company to upgrade to better services and high-performance features. Better services and features draw in new, larger customers. And then the cycle continues. Those new customers enable Amazon to invest in even better services and features, which draws in even larger customers. Not bad, right? Not unless you’re Google Cloud.
But are the services AWS is offering any different from Azure, Google Cloud, or smaller players in the cloud industry? Nope. They just got there first.