For most of the history of modern computing, application developers needed to consider and understand infrastructure in order to build applications. Today, though, not so much.
At the Amazon Web Services Summit (AWS) in New York City today, Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, spent two hours explaining why the cloud changes the game for application developers.
The AWS cloud isn't just about providing compute, storage and networking resources, he said. AWS' new focus is enabling developers to deliver and build applications. Amazon has launched over 500 new services in recent years to support that mission – and introduced several new ones at the event.
"We built services so you can focus on the exact product you want to build," Vogels said.
While lower costs were the key driver at the beginning of the cloud era, Vogels said the emphasis has shifted to agility and the ability to test and iterate new applications faster than before.
"Lower costs are the sizzle, and agility is the steak," Vogels said. "Everything is software; there is no hardware anymore."
Leveraging Docker, APIs and More
Vogels brought Keith Homewood, senior application architect at Nordstrom, on stage to share the retailer's experience with AWS. Homewood detailed how Nordstrom is using Amazon's Lambda service to build a recommendation engine that helps customers find the products they want.
"Lambda is the coolest thing we've done. It lets developers build code without infrastructure," Vogels said. "No server is easier to manage than having no server."
Vogels also highlighted the Amazon EC2 Container Service, which helps developers make use of Docker containers. Online education service Coursera is an Amazon customer using the container service as a way to help estimate resource usage and to help distribute applications, he noted.
The New York City Department of Transportation also uses AWS to build multiple applications that enable New Yorkers to more easily get around the Big Apple. In a bid to help make it even easier for mobile developers to build apps, Vogels announced the AWS Device Farm, a service for building and testing applications across myriad mobile devices.
Vogels also announced a new Amazon API Gateway service that provides a cloud delivery engine for application developers to decompose apps into smaller blocks and connect things together. The modern Internet is all about services, he said, and that's what APIs enable.
"There has never been a better time to go build applications," he said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Apps Today and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.