AWS Data Center Star Jumps To Rival Google Cloud

AWS’ former top data center executive, Chris Vonderhaar, has joined cloud computing rival Google Cloud as its new vice president of demand and supply management.


Chris Vonderhaar

After 13 years leading Amazon Web Services’ data center and infrastructure strategy, Chris Vonderhaar has jumped ship to join rival Google Cloud in a blockbuster hire.

Vonderhaar was responsible for the design, planning, construction and operations of AWS’ massive data center fleet on a worldwide basis before he abruptly left AWS this spring. Amazon and Google data centers power the companies’ massive cloud infrastructure portfolio and cloud services capabilities.

Google confirmed to CRN that Vonderhaar is now vice president of demand and supply management at Google Cloud. However, Google declined to comment on his hiring.

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In 2021, news outlet Insider reported that Chris Vonderhaar could be a potential successor to former AWS CEO Andy Jassy, who had been recently promoted to CEO of Amazon.

[Related: AWS Nabs Intel’s Former Cloud VP As Its New Global CMO]

In his last role at AWS, Vonderhaar was vice president of AWS Data Center Community. In addition to leading AWS’ data center global strategy, Vonderhaar was responsible for business development and procurement of utility connections, the AWS renewable energy portfolio, and AWS sustainability teams and business.

This hire is especially interesting because top executives at large IT companies, like Google and Amazon, typically sign non-compete clauses that block or at least limit those executives from working with rival companies.

Google Cloud Vs. AWS

Google Cloud, Microsoft and AWS are the world’s three largest cloud companies by a wide margin. Each company pours billions of dollars annually into building new data centers to drive more cloud revenue.

All three cloud behemoths compete heavily across the globe in various markets—from cloud computing infrastructure to generative artificial intelligence. Combined, the three technology giants won approximately 65 percent of the massive $63 billion global cloud infrastructure services market.

As of first-quarter 2023, AWS owns 32 percent of the global cloud services market, followed by Microsoft at 23 percent share, then Google Cloud at 10 percent share.

In first-quarter 2023, AWS generated $21.4 billion in sales, representing a 16 percent year-over-year increase. Google Cloud captured $7.5 billion in revenue during its first-quarter 2023, up 28 percent year over year.

Google’s Urs Holzle Takes Lesser Role

Mountain View, Calif.-based cloud giant Google Cloud recently shook up some of its management team.

Google’s longtime engineering leader and one of the company’s first employees, Urs Holzle, is now taking a lesser role at the company.

Holzle, who reported directly to Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, will transition into an adviser role and no longer manage Google employees. Google Cloud Vice President of Engineering Ben Treynor Sloss will begin reporting directly to Thomas Kurian, Google confirmed.