AWS: Cloud is the new normal, and the UK is leading the way

With AWS now contributing a significant chunk of Amazon’s total revenue and profit returns, the future looks bright for the company’s Web Services arm.

At the recent AWS Transformation Day event in London, ITProPortal spoke to Gavin Jackson, the head of AWS in the UK and Ireland, who was understandably bullish about the company’s prospects looking forward.

“The UK has really been embracing AWS since the get-go," he told us, highlighting how the launch of the AWS UK region last December has helped the company reach new highs across the country.

AWS has now been operating for a decade in the European market, a significant proportion of the business’ total 11.5 year lifespan, and Jackson noted that the UK business, which can boast such large-scale customers such as Aviva, Starling Bank and River Island, “is doing just fine”.

This positive outlook is persisting even despite the looming threat of Brexit. Although this has led many companies to raise prices in anticipation of potential market volatility, Jackson says that Brexit is not even a consideration for AWS just yet, and that the company certainly has no plans to lessen investment in the UK.

In fact, he sees Brexit as a possible catalyst for new innovation, noting that many customers are saying the move could be a great opportunity for them.

"I genuinely believe there will be a surge in innovation in this country as a result of Brexit,” he says. “Our technology, skills, and how we're helping start-ups to innovate...I believe we're onto a tipping point to rapid innovation in this country."

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The cloud market has become an extremely competitive place in recent times, as AWS competes with its great rivals Google and Microsoft for a slice of an increasingly lucrative pie.

"Most companies, whether they're tethered with us or not, will understand the business benefits of the cloud,” Jackson says, “so it's no longer a question of should we or shouldn't we, is it right for us or wrong for us, they now understand that the world has moved on to such an extent that, if you're not in the cloud, then you're at a disadvantage."

Recent price drops from all three companies had led to accusations of a race to the bottom, as the democratisation of cloud has led many to anticipated a price war that may do more harm than good to businesses looking to expand their cloud presence.

However Jackson notes that AWS is committed to lowering its prices only as part of its moves to pass on operational savings and efficiencies to customers.

"We simply do not recognise a price war,” he says, “and if there is a price war, we're not participating in it. When someone else does something with pricing, it makes absolutely zero impact on how we think about the world. Our philosophy, across all the Amazon business, it that we are a high-volume, low-margin business...and when we take the cost out of running AWS, we send that back to customers in the form of lowering prices"

"We remain completely focused on the customer, and everything we do is working backwards from that point."