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Kyle Galbraith
Kyle Galbraith

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

How to Articulate the Value Proposition of AWS in 5 Words

Recently I wrote a playful article on how a developer would convince an IT manager to start using Amazon Web Services. This was quickly met with a lot of disdain across the internet because of the characters involved. The message I was trying to convey in the post was clearly not getting through.

So this time I am going to be very explicit.

In the previous post, I was highlighting the value propositions that a cloud provider, like AWS, can offer not only developers but businesses as a whole.

This wasn't heard in my previous post that consisted of a Long Beard character and a hipster cloud first developer. So, lesson learned, no more being comical in my posts. This time let's cut straight to the chase.

We are going to take a look at the 5 benefits AWS gives both developers and businesses as a whole.

Value 1: Security

It took awhile for the early skeptics within large enterprises to actually believe this one. Some might not even to this day. But, the reality is that security really is the number one priority at AWS.

As a developer, you can benefit from the security and compliance certifications AWS already has. Need to support HIPAA or SOC II? Use the AWS services that are certified as compliant and you can at least check that checkbox. This allows you to focus on the security and compliance aspects that matter for your application.

When you are looking at AWS it is important to remember the Shared Responsibility Model.

The model states that Amazon will provide the security of the cloud and you provide the security in the cloud. Which makes total sense. You as a developer need to be responsible for securing your applications. However, you gain the physical security and expertise of Amazon by leveraging AWS. Wins all around for businesses, especially if they are currently maintaining their own data centers.

Value 2: Flexibility

AWS consists of 100+ services as of this writing. It has services to support everything from image recognition to database migrations. There is a ton of flexibility in the workloads you can run on AWS.

As a developer, this means that there is a high likely hood that you can run whatever stack you are working in on AWS. Of course, there are questions you should ask yourself before doing so. For instance, is the workload optimized to run on AWS and if not, what are the consequences of that?

This is where flexibility has another meaning for both developers and businesses. There are tons of services to run all kinds of different workloads. But, with AWS you also have the flexibility to go at the pace of change that is right for you. Dive right in and run dozens of different services, or start with one workload and one service. Either way works.

Value 3: Elasticity

No more over-provisioning workloads to support that one day a year you see a massive spike in traffic. Gone are the days of leasing hardware upfront for exorbitant amounts of money. A huge win for small and large businesses.

Leveraging a cloud provider like AWS gives you the ability to scale on-demand. No more wasted capacity or under-provisioning that wakes you up at 2 AM on a Saturday. This is a major benefit for developers, to instantly scale your workloads in response to an event while you sleep.

Value 4: Cost

This seems obvious, no more leasing hardware up front, no more maintaining a data center, and no more over-provisioning your capacity. All three of these things drive costs down.

But the cost value proposition is actually a bit more nuanced than that. Yes, running your own data center or purchasing/licensing hardware up front is expensive. But, so is bringing your decades-old applications that are not set up to leverage AWS. In fact, done poorly, wait for it, the cloud can be more expensive.

This isn't to say that this value proposition is wrong. In terms of trading capital expenses for variable expenses, it is spot on. You only pay for what you use and how long you use it in AWS. Just note that running workloads around the clock on over-provisioned hardware because you lifted and shifted to the cloud can be expensive.

Value 5: Agility

This is my favorite thing about AWS and all cloud providers. They truly provide businesses and developers with the agility to experiment, iterate and move at mind-boggling speeds.

Ideas that maybe once took months or years can be executed and delivered in a matter of hours or days. Shortening the time from hypothesis to data is incredibly powerful in a world that is moving faster and faster by the moment. By no longer focusing on infrastructure provisioning, maintenance, and overhead, developers, as well as businesses, are freed up to focus on building value in their systems.


These value propositions are talked about within the context of Amazon Web Services, but they are relevant to the other cloud providers as well. The point is that cloud computing is propelling technology forward with increased speed.

The ability to pivot from one idea to another is simple compared to just a decade ago. Scaling to match your demand is now automatic and workable like a piece of code. Costs are being driven down in the large scale, but should still be monitored even when leveraging a cloud provider.

My Long Beard blog post missed the mark in communicating these value propositions. But hopefully now, in plain English, they are clear and worth having discussions around the water cooler about.

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Top comments (1)

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Thomas H Jones II

When you've got someone going the CSP-hosted route, it's critical that you guide them based on current and future needs before you can reference cost with anything approaching safety. I always try to caveat the hell out of the "cost saving" idea. If you don't, it's a great way to have someone screaming at you in twelve months when they did a simple rehost and their costs went up (or, they did a refactor, but, because they did such agood job that it drove up utilization ...and associated "pay as you go" costs). Even ignoring the cost of moving to new infrastructure, if you simply do a 1-for-1 rehost, your costs will tend to go up.

Similarly, even if all you do is get a company to move their development to the cloud, if they fail to adequately govern the usage of the cloud-hosted environment, they can have unexpectedly high costs. Nothing like finding that someone spun up an m4.4xlarge and left it running for three months when they really only needed it for a few hours or even a few hours a day for a few business-weeks.