AWS still wants you all-in on public cloud

AWS talks a great hybrid cloud game, but its mission hasn't changed: All-in on the public cloud.

The difference between hybrid cloud, public cloud, and private cloud The biggest question in the enterprise today is often which type of cloud to run: public, private, or hybrid. However, the distinctions can be unclear, so let's define them.

It's very likely that most of the world will be stuck in hybrid cloud land for a long, long time. Even Andy Jassy, AWS' cloud chief, told the AWS re:Invent audience three years ago that the shift to a mostly public cloud future would take 10 to 20 years.

And yet, over the last year, and reaching a crescendo at this week's AWS re:Invent 2018, AWS keeps announcing enterprises like Korean Air and Amgen that are moving most or all of their workloads to the cloud giant. Starting most notably in 2015 with General Electric, which announced it was shuttering 30 of its 34 data centers to rely instead on AWS, Amazon Web Services keeps talking a great hybrid cloud game even as its song remains the same: All-in on AWS.

SEE: Quick glossary: Hybrid cloud (Tech Pro Research)

And you...and you...and you

Not that any company moves en masse to AWS (or any other public cloud provider) at the start. As Satheesh Ravala, Senior Vice President, Cloud Engineering and Operations at Ellie Mae, has noted, "As a result of early successes on AWS, we are confident that their services will continue to give us what we need to be nimble, innovate, achieve results, and cut costs while we grow and expand our business well into the future." This is typical rah-rah talk for a press release, but implicit in Ravala's comment is months (or, more likely, years) of using AWS piecemeal before going all-in.

SEE: The art of the hybrid cloud (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

Others, like Korean Air, seem to have done less tire kicking yet still have committed to a 10-year journey with AWS, decommissioning its data centers over the next three years as it "overhaul[s its] entire IT infrastructure in the next three years, moving all...websites, cargo management, flight control systems, and enterprise resource planning and other systems to AWS," according to Korean Air CIO Kenny Chang. Like Ellie Mae, as well as Amgen ("increased use of AWS facilitat[es] our ability to scale our business at a faster pace"), the goal is the same: Increased flexibility and speed.

Which is why hybrid cloud is a transition, not the end goal.

If we could, we would

Some may tout hybrid cloud as the end goal, but for most companies this is simply an excuse for their slow-moving infrastructure and inability to move to public cloud services faster. Hybrid cloud, in other words, is a fact of life, but it's not necessarily most companies' end goal. Nor is it the end goal for AWS.

SEE: What a hybrid cloud is in the 'multi-cloud era,' and why you may already have one (ZDNet)

While AWS has become increasingly comfortable touting the hybrid tagline, it would be a mistake to imagine that hybrid is baked deep in its DNA. The same company that once called private cloud "fake cloud" isn't suddenly cheering for companies to slow their momentum to a public cloud future; instead, AWS sees hybrid cloud as a necessary on-ramp to public cloud for a significant chunk of their prospective customer base.

Rest assured that the end goal is more of these all-in announcements from enterprises large and small.

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Image: Denis Isakov, Getty Images/iStockphoto