2009 has certainly been a cloudy year. The sheer volume of real innovation somehow makes all of the hype worthwhile.
While there were many companies doing interesting and innovative things in the cloud – Microsoft Windows Azure could be a strong 2010 contender – the decision on who wins for 2009 is no contest.
Amazon gets the CloudBzz “Innovator of the Year” award with a never-ending stream of great stuff that only seemed to accelerate as the year progressed. Here are just some of the great announcements out of the big river in 2009:
January– Management Console makes it easier to manage your instances.
February – IBM Adds DB2/WebSphere AMIs and starts endorsing AWS for the enterprise.
March – Reserved Instances results in lower pricing, Eclipse support is added to make it easier for larger Java projects.
April – Hadoop support is added as Elastic MapReduce which builds on one of the most strategically powerful ways enterprises can use AWS, IBM support is productized with a range of offerings.
May – In a big move that impacted RightScale, Amazon added a host of needed features including auto-scaling, load balancing, and real-time instance monitoring with CloudWatch. Recognizing the limitations and costs of moving terabytes into AWS over the Internet, physical data transfer is supported for customers with large data sets.
June & July were pretty slow – minor announcements only.
August – beyond dropping the prices for Reserved Instances, the Virtual Private Cloud announcement shakes up the enterprise cloud market. They also make some nice moves in security with rotating credentials and multi-factor authentication.
September – mostly upgrades to earlier releases, though their Solution Providers Program is a nice boost for partners.
October – Amazon announced lowered the pricing for EC2 instances (price war heats up), added instances with high (though not really high) memory, and my favorite announcement of the year (closely beating VPC) — Relational Database Service.
November – Amazon got their SAS70 Type II audit done (big whoop), expanded into Asia, and added a .NET SDK to counter Microsoft Windows Azure.
December – pricing changes, EBS-based EC2 boot, and a few other announcements were nice, but EC2 SPOT INSTANCES really shakes things up. In addition, Virtual Private Cloud moves to unlimited beta (previously limited beta).