2014 is a seminal year for the take up of cloud services and there's been a shift in thinking around the infrastructure model from years back when people were concerned about issues like security.
This is the view of Mike Clayville, VP, worldwide field operations, at Amazon Web Services (AWS), who was speaking to 1600 attendees yesterday at the AWS Summit Melbourne.
"There's a sense of urgency that we are seeing in 2014 as customers recognise the importance of this technology," he told attendees. "I've never seen enterprises adopting technology as fast as they are adopting cloud today.
"I put on an event in London three weeks ago where I had CIOs of 24 of the largest banks together ... they came to the realisation that the AWS cloud is 'more secure and more available than my data centre,'" he claimed.
At the event, stockbroking firm, OpenMarkets; National Australia Bank; and Lonely Planet, spoke about how they were using AWS services.
Rick Klink, CEO at OpenMarkets, which began operations in September last year, told attendees his business has a high reliance on cloud computing.
"Our model would not exist without the cloud. We were fortunate [AWS] came here 18 months ago so all the data sovereignty issues disappeared -- our availability zones are local -- we couldn't run without that," he said.
It was too expensive for OpenMarkets to fund its own data centres to run its trading operations unlike banks, which can afford to invest in on-premise IT infrastructure to run multiple products, he said.
He said the cloud model enables the company to provision computing infrastructure daily as it is required.
"In three minutes, we can look at what's happened overnight, how much computing we need today, and spin up more computers. We're not in the data centre business, we're in the stockbroking business ... as the market goes down, we turn them [services] off.
"Trading is commodity -- our job is to keep pushing that cost down," he said.
Meanwhile, David Broeren, head of digital and online channels at NAB, told attendees that AWS' cloud services has enabled the bank to take an 'elastic approach' to Internet banking.
NAB uses load testing tool, Bees with Machine Guns and Chaos Monkey to test the resilience of nab.com.au, which was moved to Amazon's public cloud last year.
"The differentiator that we saw in Amazon Web Services that we wanted to exploit was to use auto-scaling without human intervention, without touch -- to scale up, to add more servers to take the load. And when the load falls away, the system will just tether itself back to the optimum state," he said.
Broeren spoke of the day when he first turned on Chaos Monkey.
"A senior manager looked at me harshly and said 'do you really want to? If this goes wrong, I can't stand in the way of you being sacked.'
"But we did. We turned out Chaos Monkey running in production to watch. The Amazon web service has the ability to heal itself and make sure that we still have that 100 per cent 'always on' expectation," he said.
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