What we’re seeing in the increasingly heated battle between the two companies, encapsulated by yesterday’s news, is that AWS has inherited the DNA of its parent company, betting on retail-style bulk as a winning strategy. Google, meanwhile, is banking on its DNA in distributed systems engineering and betting users will buy into its technocracy.
Jay Kreps—who helped create Apache Kafka (among other things) while at LinkedIn, and current co-founder of big data startup Confluent—summed it up in similar, but slightly different, terms on Twitter:
Part of this is because Spanner is a remarkable technology, and people are rightly excited about the new Cloud Spanner offering. But I also assume that people—and I mean everybody from journalists to cloud users to CIOs—are just suffering from AWS fatigue, and they’re rooting for anybody who can make things interesting. (Microsoft Azure might be the presumptive No. 2. in terms of cloud revenue, but Microsoft seems content to do its own thing without making much of a splash.)
Don’t get me wrong: Amazon Chime may yet prove to be the best business decision announced yesterday (the cloud is a platform play, after all, and market leader AWS was lacking a conferencing feature) but people really do like what Google is up to. The big question now is whether enough of them favor technical superiority over breadth of products and proven operational efficiency, and by how much.