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AWS strategy follows hybrid cloud puck

It’s no secret Amazon Web Services has been on a mission to court enterprise IT, and by now, visible changes in its strategy are becoming pronounced. Namely, AWS will accommodate more traditional, on-premises IT into its operating model.

Take, for example, the recent Directory Services announcement. While the new Simple AD from Amazon could theoretically be used as an identity management service for third-party clouds, its overall target is existing AWS customers who want an easy approach to extend an on-premises Active Directory deployment into the cloud. This is similar to Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud, which is also oriented toward extending on-premises environments into AWS.

This contrasts keynote talks by AWS executives at the RE:Invent conference in 2012, which only briefly mentioned  hybrid IT, and openly disparaged on-premises infrastructure – particularly private clouds — as an outmoded idea perpetuated by legacy vendors to protect fat profit margins.

Now, examples of an increasingly hybrid stance from AWS are everywhere. The company has also courted traditional IT companies such as AT&T and Verizon as networking partners, which caught the eye of Jillian Mirandi, senior analyst with Technology Business Research based in Hampton, N.H., in a note to investors last week.

“These recent launches highlight AWS’ strategic shift to enter global hybrid IT conversations, and willingness to work more directly with large, traditional vendors,” Mirandi wrote.

Mirandi also cited the new AWS data center in Germany as an example of the company’s strategy to keep data nearer to localized, on-premises infrastructures.  Plans to do something similar in the Midwestern U.S. are also taking shape, according to local news reports.

Finally, AWS has hired CIOs from traditional enterprises to represent it in negotiations — a sign that it is moving from a shadow IT role to meeting enterprises face to face through the front door instead, according to a report this week by the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, as a TechTarget report notes, even AWS’s startup audience is maturing and increasingly embracing a combination of public cloud infrastructure as a service and on-premises IT.  “Skate to where the puck is going” is an overused trope in the business world, but in this case, it definitely applies.

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