The emergence of generative AI presents a lucrative opportunity for major cloud providers, but it also signifies a fresh start. Unlike the rise of containers, generative AI represents an entirely new market. Some players that have traditionally trailed in the overall cloud market, such as Google, are strategically banking on this to alter their fortunes. For AWS, this means it must now potentially defend its lead, a stance the company is not accustomed to, as evident in AWS CEO Adam Selipsky’s re:Invent keynote.
In its earlier keynotes, AWS occasionally poked fun at Oracle. However, during a relatively restrained AWS keynote, numerous references were made to Google and Microsoft (and their close ties with OpenAI), giving the impression that Selipsky was taking jabs at his competitors. This behavior is atypical for a company that feels it is leading the market.
For instance, when discussing the AWS data center footprint, Selipsky made specific references to the geographical distribution of AWS availability zones, highlighting the potential risks of relying on a setup like that of Google, alluding to a recent multi-week outage in Google’s Paris data center. Additionally, Selipsky emphasized AWS’ advanced Graviton chips, contrasting the company’s rapid progress with other cloud providers that have yet to deliver their first server processors.
However, AWS faces vulnerability in the realm of generative AI, where it lacks the first-mover advantage. Selipsky used the recent OpenAI controversy as ammunition to take swipes at the competition, highlighting Microsoft’s temporary halt on using OpenAI’s ChatGPT due to security concerns.
Selipsky went on to emphasize the importance of security and adaptability in the rapidly evolving landscape of AI, while also aiming to capitalize on Microsoft’s close association with OpenAI. AWS’ partnership with Anthropic and its investment in the company were also highlighted during the keynote.
Additionally, AWS’ CodeWhisperer, a competitor to GitHub’s Copilot, was mentioned, with an emphasis on the data privacy and security capabilities that AWS claims sets it apart from other providers.
It is evident that AI is prompting businesses to reconsider their cloud strategies. While AWS remains a strong contender with tools like SageMaker, Bedrock, and its Q assistant, its rhetoric reflects the challenge of competing in a space where it does not have its traditional advantage.