AWS is about to embark on its biggest user conference ever as it hosts the re:Invent conference this week in Las Vegas. What started just five years ago as an intimate gathering of 6,000 users, has grown to over 32,000 attendees. It illustrates the rapid growth of the Infrastructure as a Service behemoth.
In just a decade, AWS has transformed the way we think of computing, growing from a minor part of the Amazon empire to a business that is currently on an $11.5 billion run rate — and it's accelerating quickly. Companies like Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle who came late to the IaaS game, are trailing badly, even as the market grows at a rapid rate.
With over a third of the cloud market, AWS is the undisputed cloud king these days, and the size of this year's conference simply shows how big it's become. What is unbelievable is that, even as AWS is on that remarkable run rate, the overall cloud market size is still quite small when measured as part of the entire worldwide IT spend, which Gartner predicts will reach $3.5 trillion in 2017. That leaves an awful lot of room for growth from AWS — and its competitors.
$12 billion strong and growing
Its growth rate has been nothing short of astonishing, according to 451 Research. "In a decade AWS has achieved a revenue of $12 billion and an enterprise value of some $150 billion, or half the market cap of Amazon.com. Looking at it another way — it took IBM a century to reach the same valuation,” 451 Research vice president, William Fellows, said in a statement.
This week, the company gets to show off a bit. It will likely parade successful customer stories and partnerships to the gathered masses, as it demonstrates the pure power of the platform. Lest you think that AWS is content to sit on its considerable market share lead, AWS CEO Andy Jassy, told the Wall Street Journal last week, "We’re not close to being done adding new capabilities."
I would believe him. We will probably hear about a slew of new services, designed to meet customer demand for additional functionality. As AWS adds new features, it only makes it more powerful and attractive to its biggest customers — which include the likes of Adobe, Airbnb, and Bristol Myers Squibb.
As AWS grows, it creates a flywheel effect that could serve to make it even more dominant. We get to see this on display this week. Get ready. It's probably going to be a heck of a show.
Photo: kennejima on Flickr. Used under CC by 2.0 license