Amazon Web Services vs Blue Chip’s IBM Power Cloud

data centre with IBM Power Cloud

As client director for some of Blue Chip’s global clients using our IBM power cloud and x86 cloud, I like to keep my knowledge up to date on what is happening in the wider world of Cloud and IaaS.

This week (September 2013) was the Amazon cloud summit event in London, with all Amazon’s big names such as Andy Jassy, Senior Vice President, Amazon Web Services and Amazon infrastructure and Stephen Schmidt, Chief Information Security Officer of AWS rolling into town.

What a great event it was, absolutely great marketing and PR for them. Plus I got to speak with several Amazon techies to get their views and opinions. However I now realise that Blue Chip are already providing upwards of 90% of what Amazon provide and 99% of what customers actually require in the x86 space. It’s just that Amazon is great at making this stuff sound sexy, a really refreshing change to many IT events that so many of the other big name IT companies put on.

Yet over the coming days, after having further time to reflect on the presentations and a few private conversations with Amazon representatives, I thought this service is neither sexy nor value for money. What do I mean by this? Well when Amazon compares itself to the likes of IBM, HP and CSC etc, of course Amazon is much cheaper. Plus it’s fair to say that Amazon is far more agile, those guys can take weeks or even months to stand up IT infrastructure. However for most of my customers, we do this in a matter of days and can provide most with additional compute power (on demand) within minutes of a change request being issued.

On the subject of cost, a company which recently became a client of Blue Chip’s performed a cost comparison exercise. They measured the cost of Amazon verses Blue Chip x86 IaaS over periods of 1 day, 7 days, 1 month, 3 months, 12 months, and 3 years. Blue Chip’s cloud offering on Linux and Windows cost far less on all measurement periods, except that of the 1 day and 1 week. Here Amazon was cheaper on instances of less than 1 month however when most customers are looking to outsource they are looking for a partner to work with for a minimum of 3 years and more typically 5 years.

Of course x86 is not the only technology Blue Chip can provide, and so if you add the fact that Blue Chip can provide IBM servers in the cloud such as pSeries for AIX, the good old IBM iSeries (better known as AS/400 to many), solutions with dual data centre DR or HA, and face to face service management, then I really don’t see what all the hype is around AWS. They talk elastic and in the IBM World we talk about on demand.

Later that evening, after a few beers at their networking event, I found myself being tapped up to go and work for an AWS MSP. Both the MSP and the Amazon rep were trying to make the case for me to join them saying how they are making loads of money from customers. So I took this as an opportunity to ask the Amazon rep where he thinks Amazon makes their profits. First off he jokes that it’s certainly not here in the UK. Before following up by saying seriously we make a lot of money from customers that buy processor capacity and they do not switch it off when they are not using. This allows Amazon to resell that compute capacity and get paid twice for the same resource – genius he said. I don’t know enough about the operations of AWS but if they can sell the same resource twice that seems pretty clever to me.

Whether your company is in the UK or further afield and you require a mix of IBM power servers and x86. Please drop me a line and we can talk cloud.


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