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Optimization Providers Bring Needed Structure to the AWS Ecosystem

Innovation, single-minded focus on customer needs and fast launch of new features all continue to be essential to the success of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) ecosystem.

For as much as customers value this speed of innovation, it can often be hard to keep up with – and understand how to best take advantage of – new features and offerings. New services don’t always fit cohesively with other services in the AWS catalog, customers often don’t understand the possibilities of recommended best practices, and worry — always worry — that they’re spending too much with AWS.

That’s led to the growth of Cloud optimization products and services as a cornerstone of the AWS ecosystem. With the support of AWS, which recognizes its customer’s frustrations, Cloud optimizers provide solutions that help customers wade through the noise. Some optimizers go so far as to ensure best practices are implemented and wasteful spending of resources is eliminated.

A Relationship Built on AWS Values

The close relationship that AWS maintains with cost optimizers reflects the company’s bedrock values. Amazon is the most customer-focused company on the planet. The success of its customers is not only a core value but also an obsession. Amazon recognizes that customers who succeed will continue to deepen their relationships with the company.

That obsessive focus on customer needs powers a conscious commitment by AWS to develop a steady stream of new products and constant innovation. New features at AWS are developed exclusively at the request of users, and customer needs drive the approximately 2,000 updates that AWS makes each year to its portfolio of more than 200 products.

AWS, however, often launches those new products and upgrades in isolation. They’re not necessarily well-integrated with the company’s other product offerings. Their philosophy of letting a thousand flowers bloom means that they have no centralized function impeding the release of services or features. Each team is like an independent startup that coordinates new products and upgrades. 

Users Grapple With the Complexity in the AWS Ecosystem

The tradeoff that comes with the mind-boggling pace of innovation is that customers bear the burden of dealing with additional complexity.

AWS Ecosystem documentation supporting new releases often is dense and difficult to understand.

Not long ago, for instance, AWS distributed a bulletin that informed users that they could save 20 percent of their storage costs by migrating their high-volume Amazon EBS volumes — a core service used by almost every AWS customer — from the company’s gp2 service to its gp3 service.

Promising, right?

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What followed was more than 2,000 words of technical detail and strings of code — highly daunting for many users. Multiply that bulletin by the hundreds distributed by AWS every year.

All too often, users aren’t aware of best practices, aren’t able to keep up with the reams of documentation that pours out of AWS and worst of all, end up paying more than necessary for the Cloud-based services that are critical to the success of a growing number of enterprises.

AWS is well-aware of the confusion experienced by many users.

So much so that it’s developed a game, “AWS Cloud Quest: Cloud Practitioner,” to help users learn how to find their way through the thicket of AWS offerings.

The issue is becoming even more critical with the growing momentum of the shift to the public Cloud.

Cloud-based services such as those available from AWS increasingly are stitched together by IT teams to create mind-blowing functionalities that would have been unimaginable even just a couple of years ago. As IT leaders awaken to the new world of public Cloud-based possibilities, they are talking with AWS about more products they need. AWS, driven by customer requests, is responding with an ever-growing catalog of products that are faster, better, and cheaper than those that came before.

Optimization to the rescue

Faced with customers who worry they are spending too much and are unable to implement best practices, AWS has been developing internally as well as working closely with reputable, well-regarded providers of Cloud-optimization services to create solutions that add value to customers on the cost front.

The best optimization providers use the information and the fixes recommended by AWS itself to develop crisp, actionable nuggets that help users use AWS tools more effectively. In effect, optimization providers stand in front of the gushing fire hose of AWS information and come out with single servings that meet the thirst of users for usable fixes.

The benefits for the user are clear — effective and understandable use of the AWS Cloud-based tools as well as the elimination of unnecessary spending and sticker shock from monthly bills.

AWS, meanwhile, benefits from user satisfaction. If users know that they are using their AWS environment effectively, and if they derive fairly priced financial value from their relationship with AWS, they are likely to develop more functionalities that further rely on AWS. Happy customers will look to deepen their relationships with AWS, more than offset any loss of revenue to AWS resulting from optimization initiatives.

The relationship between AWS, firms specializing in optimization, and users have become an exceptional example of symbiosis in the AWS ecosystems. Better alignment of each of the partners means that each enjoys important benefits.

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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