Cloud computing is defined by an ecosystem, not a service, Amazon Vice President and CTO Werner Vogels told a packed room Tuesday at the Cloud Connect conference in Santa Clara, Calif.
And while Amazon Web Services has made great gains as a cloud computing pioneer, it is Amazon and its cadre of partners that inject value and capability into the cloud. Vogels said success in the cloud goes well beyond just the building blocks of a cloud infrastructure.
"The ecosystem is more important than the services themselves…it's all about the ecosystem," he said.
Vogels urged the dismantling of traditional cloud computing models, which create a metaphorical pyramid out of infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and software-as-a-service, and instead enterprises and cloud users should focus their attention on an everything-as-a-cloud-service ecosystem that draws from various contributors.
"We divide the world up into infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and software-as-a-service…," he said. "We actually start to think the real world is like this, but it's just a model. All of this really restricts the way we think about it."
To further illustrate the point, Vogels said "the map is not the territory," meaning that a map is static and territory can change and shift.
"If you have a Google Map; that is out of date today. It's just a map, not a reality," he said.
To take hold and provide value, the cloud needs to be a collection of various services from various providers, and the traditional model needs to be forgotten. A cloud ecosystem must require little or no capital investment, reduce expenses and offer unlimited capacity, all while service providers manage, update and patch the environment with little enterprise intervention needed.
Whether it's software, applications, Web services, disaster recovery, analytics or other components available in the cloud, a successful cloud play requires an ecosystem of partners and collaboration to tie services together and make an environment work, whether targeting enterprise or startups with cloud offerings, Vogels said.
Vogels added that cloud computing is eliminating the division between enterprises and startups, where cloud-based offerings can scale to accommodate either type business.
"All of these components can be pulled together in a flat world where everything is a service," he said, adding that enterprises will rely heavily on systems integrators, service providers and ISVs to get up and running in the cloud.
And the cloud industry is only in its infancy, Vogels said, which will create significant opportunity.
"It is still day one in cloud," he said. "[There is] a lot of innovation to come."