Posted by: Greg Ness | June 26, 2014

AWS and the Perils of “BoxThink”

Catching Up from the Airport

The next five years ought to be challenging for infrastructure appliance vendors, especially those who see their future “in the box.” We just wrapped up at the AWS Public Sector Summit, held in Washington, DC.  An ecosystem of about 3000 attended the 3 day event.

Forgive my typos... I'm at the airport

Forgive my typos… I’m at the airport

Massively disruptive software companies are springing up throughout the AWS ecosystem. It reminded me of the early VMware days, as a robust partner ecosystem appeared out of nowhere.

Amazon AWS is transforming the competitive landscape and ushering in a new era of innovation; the Seattle-based juggernaut is allowing software startups to have strategic impacts in very short periods of time. Business impacts.  Operating impacts. Culture impacts.

The AWS infrastructure is elastic, almost boundless versus the tired, fractured, stovepipe IT that evolved out of the collision between the mainframe and PC era. It is a dream come true for a new generation of software startups.

Amazon is making traditional IT look like a land of a thousand stovepipes; a highly complex and overly-politicized swamp of certifications, ASICs and shell games.

I referred to the ultimate levelling of the playing field back in my 2012 Golden Fleece blog, inspired as a response to a glowing Motley Fool article lauding Cisco’s 2012 prospects:

It is likely that we will see a new set of seasoned, well-funded and well-staffed startups with bigger threat potentials than before.

It is also likely that we will see an entirely new generation of IT infrastructure companies with more product/solution/service breadth than ever before, enabled by the power of software and perhaps a newer, more nimble combination of operating models.

#     #     #

I enjoyed dinner last night with senior AWS execs in the public sector team and we talked about the massive disruptions today being unleashed by 30 person startups leveraging AWS IaaS.  The City of Asheville, NC was one of the grand prize winners of the global City on a Cloud competition.  The small, dedicated team led by Jonathan Feldman is using AWS (and CloudVelox) to improve DR protection beyond anything available from traditional DR vendors, especially those stuck in dying feudalistic mindsets.

Incredible BBQ

Incredible BBQ in Asheville, NC

You can read the epitaph of traditional device-bound DR here, from the Asheville award page:

Moving disaster recovery from traditional, expensive, premises-based, manual fail over to an automated, pay-as-you-go, cloud-based fail over.

You can also read more from the Asheville CloudVelox Cloud DR case study.


#     #     #

At Structure last week I heard much the same thing from a variety of analysts and experts.  If you are wondering if a hardware appliance vendor is already impacted, listen for the following on the earnings calls: “our larger orders are starting to take longer to close.”

In at least some cases I think it is likely that senior executives are already starting to prefer software and services over the ownership, maintenance and upgrading of increasingly complex and costly hardware-bound racks.  Perhaps they’ve even conducted some pilots and watched IT teams become faster, more strategic and/or collaborative.  Or perhaps they are simply tired of paying a premium for complexity. Either way, BoxThink is becoming obsolete.

#    #    #

Ancient History


Also: a special thanks to the backers of my Kickstarter campaign: The Sword of Agrippa, which was fully-funded as of last week.  Thank you team Agrippa!  I now have an editor for my (close to) 200 page manuscript developed over many years as a form of “mental golf”… that has finally taken shape.



  1. GE going “all in” on the public cloud:

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: