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A Peek Inside How Companies are Using Amazon’s $6 Billion Cloud

Last week, Amazon confirmed just how popular its AWS platform really is. Now we know a bit more about how companies are using it.

Today we’re releasing our Q1 2015 AWS Scorecard, highlighting the most popular AWS products, instance types, regions and more. The data is based on tens of thousands of AWS instances under our management. As a reminder, 2nd Watch is an original AWS Premier Partner and AWS Managed Service Partner. Our clients include Conde’ Nast, Diane von Furstenberg, Lenovo and Yamaha, among others.

Here are the major AWS usage trends from Q1:

  • According to our analysis, companies are moving more big data and analytics applications to AWS. This is based on an almost 50% increase in the number of medium EC2 instances used in Q1, which increased to 29% from 19% in Q4.
  • Windows-based instances in the cloud are also growing. No longer a mere developer playground, CIOs are moving production apps onto AWS. Windows-based instances grew sharply in Q1, from 34% in Q4 to 76%, while Linux instances declined from 66% to 24%.
  • Cloud-based security products once again topped the list of most purchased third-party products for AWS deployments. The top four products were: Alert Logic Log Manager for AWS, Alert Logic Threat Manager for AWS, AlienVault Unified Security Management for AWS and Barracuda Web Application Firewall. This trend makes sense given that more companies in highly regulated industries are moving data and applications to AWS.
  • An overwhelming majority of companies are using S3 Storage (97%), EC2 (82%) and SNS messaging (70%). Close behind was SQS message queuing service (61.4%, up from 46% in Q4, ‘14) and RDS relational database (46.9%). As for databases, the second most used database service was the EC2 SQL Server standard (16%).

It will be interesting to see how this data changes in future quarters. For example, we will be watching to see what effect, if any, Amazon’s continued investment in Redshift and EC2 Container Service availability have on the way customers use AWS. In the meantime, the Q1 Scorecard data backs up what we’re hearing from customers: big companies are moving more business-critical data and applications to the public cloud. And that’s a trend we don’t see changing anytime soon.

Download the Q4 Scorecard for a full run down of the usage trends we’re seeing.

-Jeff Aden, EVP Business Development & Marketing


Cloud Forecast 2015: Skills, Security and Public Cloud Infrastructure

Public cloud is growing. Private cloud is not. Big Data and Internet of Things is hot. Virtualization is not. These are just a few of the findings of the 2nd Watch enterprise cloud trends survey, just released. More than 400 IT managers and executives from large companies participated, and 64% of them said that they will spend at least 15% more in 2015 on public cloud infrastructure. All signs point to the fact that the public cloud is continuing to grow. Q3 earnings statements from both Amazon and Microsoft for their respective cloud services, AWS and Azure, were robust.

Companies are going to need some help though. As always, IT skills are at a premium. In our own conversations with customers, supported by the survey, CIOs and CTOs are looking for bright engineers who know how to manage and optimize workloads in the cloud. As well, the ability to natively design applications for the public cloud will be a critical competitive advantage in the coming year. The opportunity is there for any company – regardless of your size or industry. Large consumer goods are innovating with mobile apps that require not just savvy developers, but an IT organization that can leverage public cloud services to mash-up data and deliver cool new services that drive brand loyalty.


The trick is that each provider, such as AWS, operates differently. CIOs need specialists, and when they’re hard to find, using third-party experts can reduce risks and deliver faster ROI. 2nd Watch has years of diversified experience across many different project types, regimented training and continued learning programs for their employees that can supplement your IT staff.

A parallel challenge is that few large companies are ready to migrate their entire data center to the cloud just yet. With legacy applications and customer requirements, large companies typically still require or desire some systems to be hosted on their own data centers. Thus, cloud providers and technologies that are able to integrate data centers will see ample demand next year. Hybrid cloud terminology will still be popular with enterprise IT in 2015, according to our survey. However, this is not an end state but a state of transition in maintaining physical data centers while they migrate to public cloud.

The recent news that the AWS OpsWorks application management service (based on Chef) is now available for managing public cloud and on-premise servers is one sign of the growing flexibility that CIOs will have in managing workloads across their environments. Companies want to see more industrial-strength management tools that can bridge internal data centers and public cloud data centers and deliver a unified picture of the entire infrastructure.

IT executives are also looking for more help on the security front. The major public cloud providers are already investing heavily in this area, particularly AWS, but startups will play a significant role in bringing new endpoint security solutions to market in 2015. Survey participants said that security tools and services is the most underinvested category by cloud technology firms. I believe they will say differently in a year’s time. Software companies also have opportunities in modern IT management, with many companies demanding more automated options for performance monitoring, system management and change management in the cloud.


If you are interested in learning more about the best-in-class cloud management tools that are available today, schedule your free 2nd Watch Workshop now*.

*Applies to Enterprise Customers new to 2nd Watch with a specific use case to build the workshop around.

Download the full Infographic for more trends to watch for in 2015.


Read more on Enterprise Cloud Trends for 2015 in 2nd Watch CTO, Kris Bliesner’s, article in Data Center Knowledge – Planning for the Future: Enterprise Cloud Trends in 2015.

-Jeff Aden, EVP of Marketing & Strategic Business Development


2nd Watch AWS Scorecard

Check out our new AWS Scorecard for a look at what we’re seeing companies typically use for their cloud services. Taken from AWS usage trends among 2nd Watch customers for July-October, 2014.


Scorecard Highlights:

Organizations using Amazon EC2 are typically broken down in the following percentages:

  • 38% use Small instances
  • 19% use Medium
  • 15% use XLarge
  • The very large (which include 2XLarge, 4XLarge and 8XLarge),  and the very small (Micro) account for only  27% collectively.


Among our customers:

  • 94% use Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3)
  • 66% use Amazon’s Simple Notification Service (SNS) for push messaging
  • 41% use Amazon’s Relational Database Service (RDS) to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.


Around three-quarters of customers run Linux instances, with the remaining using Windows. However Windows systems accounted for 31% of all computing hours, and more money is typically spent on Windows instances.