Public cloud is much more than a virtual machine.  Your IT folks may tell you it’s the same thing as their VMWare implementation or their Microsoft Hyper-V install, but they couldn’t be farther from the truth.  What really sets public cloud apart is the new services businesses can take advantage of to build their applications and host their data.

It all started with the Simple Queue Service (SQS) from Amazon Web Services.  I am lucky enough to work with the man who ran that service in its early days and helped it to scale to be able to handle millions of requests per minute – our Sr. VP of Product Development, Joel Rosenberger.  Prior to SQS, the concept of an infrastructure service focused on something that wasn’t related to traditional infrastructure like compute or storage was a radical thought and something the industry had no idea would be so powerful.

We often refer to public cloud web services as Lego pieces or building blocks to create new and interesting design patterns against.  Some of the most powerful of these building blocks have nothing at all to do with infrastructure.  Take AWS Kinesis for example – a web service designed to ingest large amounts of streaming data and act as an application endpoint for discovering and acting on that data.  Kinesis can process terabytes of real-time data per hour and millions of PUT operations per second.  Kinesis is a next gen cloud service that will enable innovations that we have only previously dreamed about in those “pie in the sky” conversations around what you would do if IT infrastructure wasn’t a constraint.

Imagine for a minute that you would like to process the entire Twitter stream for tweets that mention your company’s name or products and then act upon those mentions.  Before Kinesis existed, you would have had to build an extremely complex IT environment that included large capacity infrastructure and high speed networks to be able to process the data.  Due to costs and complexity, the idea of running this in “real-time” was a myth – something not fiscally responsible due to the constraints of your IT environment and your need to balance your budget.  Now, thanks to companies like AWS, this functionality can be a building block of your application architecture and for much less expense than you would think.

As we discussed in this post and in our la white paper on transforming to a digital business, a digital enterprise has many characteristics – it means that you take advantage of technology and stop thinking in terms of virtual machines and storage and start thinking about how to use services like Kinesis to do things you previously thought impossible.

If you have questions about how to take that first step, contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.

-Kris Bliesner, CTO