Last week at the AWS re:Invent conference during an almost 3-hour keynote address, CEO Andy Jassy made one key point about the cloud when he said, "the number one reason to move to the cloud is agility and speed."
This year, there was no need to introduce cloud concepts or sell it to the enterprise. Instead, Jassy introduced one new feature after the other, while pointing out that cloud computing made you faster — and gave you superpowers, as he put it in AWS marketing speak.
In a way, that's true, because cloud lets you try things at a rapid clip. If it doesn't work, it hasn't cost you a lot to try. That's the key. It gives you a level of flexibility that is impossible (and remains so) when you run your own datacenter.
For starters, just look at AWS's ability to innovate. They are introducing over a 1000 new features a year now. If you're running your datacenter on legacy hardware and software, it's simply impossible to keep up with that. Heck it's hard for companies like Google and Microsoft to keep up.
Since you aren't tied to a set of hardware and software, it lets you adjust to the rapidly changing technology landscape much more quickly. You don't have to worry about updating your toolset because your vendors are doing it for you.
Look at artificial intelligence as a perfect example. All of the major vendors including Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon (which announced its new AI tools re:Invent), are offering a set of APIs that developers can use to build AI into their software. This would be virtually impossible to do without a toolset like this. It would require a level of expertise and sophistication that most companies can't touch. And now, cloud vendors are making it available to anyone.
Even more flexibility
And once you build that software, you can deploy it any way you like. If you want to run it in a serverless environment based on event triggers, you can do that. If you want to run it in containers using microservices, you can do that, and if you want to run it in a traditional virtual machine, well you can do that too. You have all the options available because your cloud vendor is doing all the heavy lifting for you.
But of course, the real agility comes into play when it comes to deploying infrastructure. Instead of having to maneuver through a corporate procurement system where it could take weeks to get approval for a single server, you can spin up as much server power as you need in minutes with a credit card. And even better, when you no longer need it, you simply take it down and stop paying for it.
All of this adds up to an incredible level of agility in every sense of the word. You have the flexibility to experiment, to adjust, and to pay for what you use. It may have been AWS talking about it, but the agility is part of the cloud — and certainly not exclusive to AWS.