In response to Amazon's move, VMware VP of end user computing product marketing Erik Frieberg said in a statement that Amazon's entry "further validates desktop as a service." But in fact, many desktops remain un-virtualized due to the cost of implementing all the servers and virtual desktop infrastructure software needed to deliver virtualized desktops. It's left a broad, green field of opportunity for additional virtualization approaches.
Amazon has presented a comparison of what it sees as the total cost of ownership under its approach versus those of other vendors. The summary, can be found here.
Jassy said IT administrators will like the fact they can provision virtual desktops from the Amazon Web Services management console with a few clicks of a mouse. He didn't say whether thousands of end users in a single company can all be rapidly equipped that way at the same time. Citrix' NetScaler, for example, is meant to answer that need.
On another front, Jassy announced that Amazon was launching CloudTrail, a service meant to allow customers to examine who is making API calls to their resources in EC2, what they wished to access, and whether any resources were changed as a result.
CloudTrail archives on S3 each customers API call data and with it a customer can create an audit trail of what was done by whom. Since APIs give outsiders access to limited company resources through third-party applications, CloudTrail is a security resource that exists if something goes wrong with that process. Other log analyzers are capable of examining a server log file and reconstructing the software events recorded there, including Sumo Logic, Splunk and Loggly, and Jassy said CloudTrail will work with such third-party software.
In his talk, Jassy cited a survey by Nucleus Research of Amazon customers, which found they were experiencing 32% less down time with workloads they had moved from on-premises onto EC2.
He cited a statistic oft-repeated by Amazon officials on the number of innovations that the company has come up with, a figure that grows with each passing year. In 2010, it was 61; in 2011, it was 82; in 2012, it was 159; and in 2013, it has hit 235 with six weeks to go. He said there is "a lot more" coming before the end of the year. The figures are used to represent new services, new instance types, or other major additions to the product line. This year's figure includes many of the 26 "innovations" added to the Red Shift data warehouse service.
Jassy also cited customer use of an Amazon-provided tool, Amazon Trusted Advisor, which tells customers after reviewing their virtual machine use whether they've assigned resources appropriately or left some virtual machines idle but still running and racking up charges. Trusted Advisor has sent one million potential optimization notifications to users, Jassy said. Amazon knows that 700,000 of the messages were opened. If acted on correctly, they resulted in customer savings of $140 million during the last year, he said.
Jassy later turned over the microphone to Stephen Orban, global head of technology for Dow Jones financial news service, a unit of News Corp., which is the owner of the New York Post, London Times, Wall Street Journal. Orban said News Corp. wishes to concentrate on content creation, not data center management and is in the process of moving thousands of its applications onto the AWS infrastructure as a service. "Our mission is to migrate 75% of our infrastructure to AWS," he said. The company plans to reduce its total number of data centers from 40 to six, he said.