AWS Lightsail and Low-Cost Developer Clouds

Last week at AWS re:Invent, Amazon announced the release of Lightsail, a low-cost offer for developer to have access to virtual private servers(VPS) as part of the AWS infrastructure. The initial prices for Lightsail VPSs are starting as low as $5.

Lightsail provides a simple entry-point for developer building or prototyping cloud applications that don’t require AWS services un areas such as security, storage, integration and many other of the fundamental services of the AWS platform. At the moment, Lightsail can also be considered a strong differentiator for AWS compared to other cloud incumbents and it definitely represents a direct competitor of startups like DigitalOcean which have been focused on that market for years. Overall, the launch of Lightsail has some very interesting implications for the cloud platform space. Let’s explore a few ideas:

What Does Lightsail Means for AWS?

The addition of Lightsail, gives AWS another channel to attrack developers looking to get started in their cloud journey without committing to a larger investment. Lightsail also offers a very viable transition path to more complex cloud applications that leverage the full capabilities of the AWS platform. Additionally, Lightsail represents a strong competitive differentiator against platforms such as Bluemix, Azure and Google Cloud which currently don’t offer a similar capability.

What Does Lightsail Means for the PaaS Market?

The announcement of Lightsail puts pressure puts pressure on two important elements of the PaaS market: PaaS incumbents and VPS-focused clouds like DigitalOcean.

The PaaS market has recently developed a pattern in which AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and Bluemix are trying to match each other almost feature by feature. Taking that aspect into consideration, the entrance of AWS Lightsail could have the following short-term side effect in the PaaS market:

1-Microsoft, IBM and Google are likely to soon provide Lightsail alternatives.

2-One of the PaaS incumbents acquired DigitalOcean

What Does Lightsail Means for DigitalOcean?

DigitalOcean is a fantastic low-cost, VPS-focused cloud platform for developers. In the last few years, DigitalOcean has built a impressive customer and developer communities. Despite DigitalOcean’s relevance in the market, AWS entrance in the game with Lightsail is and should be considered a serious threat to DigitalOcean’s long-term business.

Lightsail’s announcement can have positive and negative impacts for DigitalOcean. Arguably, Amazon’s entrance in the low-cost developer cloud space represents a strong validation of DigitalOcean’s model. However, Lightsail can become a formidable competitor for DigitalOcean. From that perspective, AWS Lightsail has various unique assets that should make it incredibly competitive in the space:

— AWS has a very rich portfolio of cloud services that can enable a seamless transition of Lightsail applications onto more sophisticated cloud solutions.

— AWS already has a strong footprint in the enterprise and it can represent an ideal entry point for cloud applications built at the departmental level.

— AWS Lightsail can immediately take advantage of AWS’ rich geographical footprint which can also streamline its adoption throughout the world.

The release of Lightsail can also increase DigitalOcean’s stock in the eyes of potential acquirers such as Microsoft, Google and IBM. Specifically, Microsoft and Google has been very acquisitive when comes to the cloud space and its focus on developers aligns with DigitalOcean’s strategy.

CEO of IntoTheBlock, Chief Scientist at Invector Labs, I write The Sequence Newsletter, Guest lecturer at Columbia University, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker.

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