Amazon Really Wants to Become an Analytics Player

Amazon’s cute little cartoon explaining Kinesis boils down a complicated data platform to a series of tubes.

In November, Amazon announced Kinesis, a software platform capable of capturing massive datasets and analyzing them in “real time” for insight. (When it comes to Big Data, so-called “real time” is often a matter of minutes, as opposed to the hours once required to crunch massive datasets.)

Now Kinesis has hit its general-availability milestone, and—with more of its features clearly delineated—it’s clear that Amazon designed the software to compete toe-to-toe in the burgeoning marketing-analytics space against Oracle, IBM, and pretty much every other Big Data firm out there.

Applications with a Kinesis backend can (according to Amazon, at least) generate predictive models based on changes in pricing and advertising strategies; fill dashboards with all sorts of insights; generate alerts; and integrate with Amazon data platforms such as Simple Storage Service (S3) and Elastic Map Reduce (EMR). “When we set out to build Amazon Kinesis, we wanted to eliminate the cost, effort, and expertise barriers that have prevented our customers from processing streaming data in real-time,” Terry Hanold, vice president of Cloud Commerce for Amazon’s AWS division, wrote in a statement.

By offering a fully managed and integrated service, Amazon wants to take the burden from those smaller developers who might not have the resources and time to stitch together a complicated analytics platform (and all the associated piping) from multiple parts. But make no mistake about it: while Amazon claims that developers can integrate Kinesis with “third-party products,” it’s clear that the e-commerce giant would like those clients to spend as much time as possible using its own tools and backend systems. Developers will need to ask themselves if greater ease in managing analytics and applications is worth that degree of vendor lock-in—but then again, given how every analytics company seems determined to build out a complicated array of interlocking data products, that’s probably a question that needs to be asked no matter what options end up chosen for a particular project.

Certainly developers have quite a number of tools and platforms to choose from, including open-source distributions that can be modified to suit most purposes; for those involved in building marketing apps, Kinesis could come in handy. And make no mistake about it: Amazon is edging its way towards becoming more of a big player in the analytics game.


Image: Amazon