In the recent revelations about how large the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud has become, many people overlooked just how many of the applications hosted on AWS are running in production environments compared to application development and testing projects.
Amazon disclosed that in the most recent quarter AWS posted an operating income of $265 million on revenues of $1.57 billion. That's a roughly 17 percent gross margin on what is on track to become a $5 billion business this year. But to get a little more insight into what is actually happening inside the AWS cloud, it’s worth taking a look at the AWS Scorecard published each quarter by 2nd Watch, a provider of managed IT services for AWS.
Production applications move to the cloud
The latest report for the first quarter finds that deployments of Windows Server are up sharply on AWS. Windows-based instances as a percentage of the operating system deployment on AWS grew from 34 percent in the fourth quarter to 76 percent in Q1. Comparatively, Linux instances declined from 66 percent to 24 percent. The folks at 2nd Watch suggest that this indicates that deployments of Windows Server on AWS are growing faster because CIOs are now moving production applications that run mainly on Windows Server into AWS.
In fact, the second most used database on AWS is now EC2 SQL Server Standard Edition with a 16 percent share, which compares with the RDS relational database from AWS at 46.9 percent. Those numbers suggest that the number of production applications that need to invoke a SQL database are also rising in the AWS cloud.
Finally, the 2nd Watch report also finds an almost 50 percent increase in the number of medium EC2 instances used in Q1, moving from 19 percent in the fourth quarter to 29 percent in the first quarter. According to 2nd Watch, that increased usage of medium EC2 instances indicates larger Big Data applications are being installed on AWS.
Signs of trouble for Microsoft
At the very least, increased usage of Windows Server on AWS should be troubling to Microsoft. Granted, the licensing revenue is welcome given that it comes at the expense of Linux distributions that have historically dominated AWS. But, it also suggests that many organizations are opting to deploy Windows Server on AWS rather than on Microsoft Azure.
Microsoft might have been making up some ground in the cloud lately, but the 2nd Watch report would suggest that Windows deployments on AWS might just be beginning to spike. If that's true, AWS as a production environment will only continue to gain additional momentum.
It’s still early in the battle to dominate all things cloud, but it seems clear AWS is starting to convert many of the application development projects that start on its cloud into production environments. That doesn’t mean that a lot of applications that begin life on AWS are not moving off to other cloud platforms when it comes time to move them into production. But it does confirm that AWS as a platform for running production applications will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.