Amazon’s Cloud (Profitably!) Power’s Major Brands

The Atlantic recently had an excellent overview of “The Unbelievable Power of Amazon’s Cloud

The article highlights the extent to which Amazon underpins increasingly ‘mission critical’ (definitely healthcare…although many consider Netflix critical as well) web services:

The company’s Web Services—which undergird Netflix,, and Spotify—might be the single most important piece of technology to the modern tech boom.

Amazon itself provides us a glimpse into case studies for a wide variety of business that use AWS.

From AirBNB, Comcast, Edmondo, Expedia, to Foursquare and Johnson & Johnson, Linosgate and Netflix, AWS powers some of the world’s largest brands.

Startups like Square, previously mentioned here, are also using AWS.

And, it’s clearly found a way to make the Cloud profitable…

Today, the Amazon Cloud has proven itself to be a money maker.  Forbes reported (April 23, 2015):

Amazon Web Services, posted $265 million of operating income for 2015′s first quarter on revenue of $1.57 billion. That translates into a robust operating margin of 16.9%.

Amazon’s chief executive and founder, Jeff Bezos, called AWS “a $5 billion business [that is] still growing fast — in fact it’s accelerating.” He cited the unit’s success as “a good example of how we approach ideas and risk-taking at Amazon,” adding: “We manage by two seemingly contradictory traits: impatience to deliver faster and a willingness to think long term.”


But….Here’s the Really Interesting Story (aka Next Big Thing): Amazon Machine Learning

Where the story gets really interesting is that it’s more than just cheap storage – the future is in the machine learning services that will run in the cloud (


Whereas much of the world is concerned about the massive (estimated 120,000-190,000 jobs) shortage in data scientists required to build machine learning application for the next generation of cloud services, Amazon has just released their machine learning services to the masses:

Amazon Machine Learning is a service that makes it easy for developers of all skill levels to use machine learning technology. Amazon Machine Learning provides visualization tools and wizards that guide you through the process of creating machine learning (ML) models without having to learn complex ML algorithms and technology. Once your models are ready, Amazon Machine Learning makes it easy to get predictions for your application using simple APIs, without having to implement custom prediction generation code, or manage any infrastructure.

Amazon Machine Learning is based on the same proven, highly scalable, ML technology used for years by Amazon’s internal data scientist community. The service uses powerful algorithms to create ML models by finding patterns in your existing data. Then, Amazon Machine Learning uses these models to process new data and generate predictions for your application.

Amazon Machine Learning is highly scalable and can generate billions of predictions daily, and serve those predictions in real-time and at high throughput. With Amazon Machine Learning, there is no upfront hardware or software investment, and you pay as you go, so you can start small and scale as your application grows.

Before Amazon ML, predictive analytics require highly trained data scientists and heavy doses of R and SAS.  It’s still early days but Amazon has taken the first steps to bringing these advanced features to the masses with new API’s.  This is a game-changing, innovative move.

Watson Analytics and Microsoft Azure Machine Learning had a head start but Amazon’s proven its computing power and is now showing the way with profits as well.