A few weeks ago, I talked with Chris Kanaracus for his story on Infor moving parts of their application portfolio to Amazon Web Services. Chris said this looked like a pretty strong endorsement for using AWS, and asked for my thoughts, which were:
Yes, this a nice vote a confidence for AWS. However, I think most SaaS companies would look at AWS as capable of being used like this. There might be questions about pricing long-term, but technologically it’s just a stack of middleware running on a bunch of servers. The larger bet by Infor is around that: do they want to align their application to Amazon’s services and cloud-based middleware? (Maybe they’re not and just using raw EC2, S3, etc…but you’d assume they’d want to use things like Red Shift and other services/middleware offered by Amazon).
What with the pricing war that Google is announcing right now (reducing cloud prices by 32% across the board for it’s Google Cloud offering, and deeper for some other services), Infor has to be thinking that the costs will be cheap. The longer-term hope is that their agility - measured by how fast they can code and releases features to their existing products, as well as modify how current features work - will increase as well. We all know in our guts that after 4-5 years, software is incredibly hard to change due to the code getting stale, supporting middleware being antiquated, and the difficulty of shifting around the underlying infrastructure. I’m not sure “cloud” will solve those problem, but hopefully it’ll make it a bit better.
(Enterprises tend to be more leery of relying on cloud and are feeding the current interest in “private cloud”, along with vendors who’d love to preserve that market. Enterprise FUD around public cloud is mostly because their needs are much different than ISVs/SaaSes: enterprises have 100’s, if not 1,000’s of applications behind their firewall that must be supported that may be technologically, culturally, or otherwise incompatible due to drivers like policies and regulations.)