AWS technology evangelist Ian Massingham: ‘Don’t fear the cloud’

4 May 2018

Ian Massingham. Image: Amazon

Ian Massingham of Amazon Web Services on how cloud computing has evolved.

Cloud adoption is accelerating globally, as enterprises and organisations become more aware of the benefits including scalability, speed and room for agile experimentation. According to a report released by McAfee, hybrid cloud adoption grew three times in 2017 – from 19pc to 57pc of organisations surveyed.

Organisations also said the vast majority of their IT solutions would be cloud-based within just 15 months – 80pc, to be exact. spoke to Ian Massingham, technical evangelist at Amazon Web Services (AWS), who has been working with cloud computing technologies for a decade.

Enterprises are more comfortable with cloud

Future Human

Massingham has been with AWS for close to five years and he said that there has been a lot of change in terms of cloud service adoption and the comfort levels of organisations in terms of deploying the technology.

“When I joined AWS there were of course users that you would classify as enterprise users, but their usage of the cloud was not fully mainstream. They were only a small number of customers who were all-in with AWS or were moving the vast majority of their IT over to the AWS.”

He explained that, over the past five years, many of AWS’s customers have started the process of total cloud migration, including Capital One and News Corp. The latter has shuttered 34 of its 40 data centres and the vast majority of its apps are running on AWS.

As Massingham pointed out, seeing companies of this scale place trust in cloud computing at scale is making it a more attractive option for other enterprises.

“We have gone from enterprises using the cloud for peripheral use cases for products in development, to enterprises using AWS for core applications, in some cases for everything they do that involves IT services.”

Myriad benefits

In terms of how people have warmed to the cloud, Massingham said the benefits are “extremely compelling”. Much of the benefits mean greater freedom for enterprises in terms of lessening reliance on physical infrastructure and creating financial flexibility.

“There’s trading the capital cost of data centres and IT for the variable cost which is elastic and can scale in accordance with how much usage your applications services are getting so you don’t have wastage,” he added. Capacity planning is not an issue with cloud and creative experiments in app development can be quickly validated or nixed due to its malleability.

International deployment and compliance is also a major boost for users of cloud services like AWS. “If you are a customer who has customers in southeast Asia and you want to serve them locally in Singapore, we have a region there so you can make a copy of your application in just a few minutes”.

He also added that businesses then are in a position to focus all of their efforts on things that are really valuable to customers, particularly in a climate where customer service and knowledge of your marketplace is a key business differentiator.

The security conversation is changing

In terms of security and the cloud, Massingham said that it has always been the first priority at AWS. What he has noticed, though, is that top-level executives are much more invested in security conversations than they were even one or two years ago.

“The level of focus security is getting at a senior level has increased – it used to be an IT issue, now it’s a boardroom issue.”

For those still wary about migrating some or all of their services to a cloud provider, Massingham said that evidence of the benefits from early adopters like Capital One and News Corp is starting to drive adoption, citing the general reluctance for people to try out new technologies.

While some companies may worry their staff don’t yet have the IT skills or training to manage cloud-based services, others may be concerned about how exactly it can benefit them. The key, Massingham said, is to dive right in and ask the experts: “Don’t fear the cloud.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects