The fear from cloud services in Israel fades out

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The fear from cloud services in Israel fades out and Israelis are rushing to the cloud now

By Avi Weiss, TelecomNews, May 21, 2016.
Harel Ifhar

Amazon (AWS) has become the benchmark of Israel's cloud services, not only to developers, but for all segments of the market. Exposure of the success of cloud services in Israel, the types of cloud services and who are the leading companies in using cloud services in Israel?


"Ultimately, what differentiate competitors are the applications," says Harel Ifhar, country manager of AWS Israel. "Not only Israeli entrepreneurs are in the cloud. We see this in almost all major companies. Almost all of them are moving to the cloud. Organizations seek quick access to computer services and want to control their expenditure."


I had an exclusive interview with Harel Ifhar (pictured), to hear about the expansion of Amazon cloud services and where Amazon is going, especially in Israel. AWS (as detailed in the photograph at the bottom of the article) has currently 12 cloud computing regions worldwide, and this year will expand with another five cloud computing regions. At the same time, AWS has signed an agreement to expand global connections with undersea fibers between its international centers, to provide improved service level and as response to the increase of its cloud'  services consumption.


Question: What is the state of Amazon (AWS) in the field of cloud services?

Harel Ifhar: "We in AWS are helping organizations and businesses of all sizes, from start-up in early stage to huge organizations, including governments, to focus on their business. We take off from them the burden of managing IT systems.

Previously, businesses and enterprises spent a lot of money to purchase hardware for their IT needs, hardware which required the construction of a local data center with expensive floor space, air conditioning, electricity, technicians and management systems, designed only for the purpose of addressing the needs of these computers. These steps have taken a lot of time, involved many  people, and after three years, when they finished building it all, the organization has suddenly found that everything became outdated and no longer relevant to the needs of the organization.

Besides, local IT systems constantly demanded support, upgrades and updates, which stole a lot of time and resources. It makes business plans no relevant within a very short time.

At the same time started a phenomenon in which agile entrepreneurs, with no computing infrastructure, or  infrastructure at all, entered the market and began to 'wreak havoc' in industries that failed to adapt to the pace of development. Look what did Airbnb did to the hospitality industry. This is a company which has not even one hotel in its possession, and not any local computing system. It is not the only one of its kind the market, that began to eradicate traditional industries in such a way.

Therefore, enterprises in every field had to go fast forward and here we entered the picture. We remove from them concern for all computing things. We disconnect them from dependence on computing so they can focus on their business goals.

Our success comes because we charge for our service only by consumption. Everything we develop stems from customers demands. We are constantly looking at what customers need and want and that's what we do."


Question: What is the most requested type of service?

Answer: "From what we see, most of the people ask for IaaS managed by us. It gives them the most of the capability to focus on the business, in the business applications and not in computing and infrastructure.

However, we provide customers with everything, PaaS and SaaS, too, depending on customer need. In terms of demand, the majority in IaaS.

We have over one million customers in 190 countries.

Customers have several options for consumption of cloud services, including:

A. Consumption by the hour. It is a method that customers prefer that we will measure by it, as they measure their  spending by hour. I do not know clients measuring themselves by minute.

B. If there is storage services consumption - payment is by storage volumes.

C. There are Reserved Instances services for customers committed, for example, for a year, and then they get reduced prices.

D. There are other models, such as those called Spot – using unused resources in certain region, sold through bids.

The customers choose the payment model and they can any moment use several methods even in parallel, according to their needs. We recommend clients, upon  the nature of their consumption, what is the most appropriate model for them, but the customer ultimately decides. "


Q: What does AWS Israel?

A: "Our offices were opened in Israel in 2014, so we are relatively quite new in the Israeli market. We also purchase a start-up (Annapurna Labs in early 2015). Even in the world we are quite young, barely 10 years in the cloud services market. However, our achievements speak for themselves.

The Israeli market, even before the Israeli office was established, was among the first markets in the world outside the United States that began to use AWS. Israelis are innovative, early adopters, risk lovers are not afraid to fail.

To be close to our customers, AWS opened the Israeli office specifically to advise clients how to enjoy our services better and more effectively. We have developed several special services for the Israeli market such as AWS Pop-up Loft workspace that was very successful immediately with its launch. We also have competitions for entrepreneurs, supporting and encouraging them.

I can be proud in several of our successes in Israel, with customers who agreed to disclose their names:

Viber - which grew up from a tiny start-up to a company that currently serves over 500 million customers worldwide. This amazing growth is possible only by the using our cloud services.

Gett - which started from scratch and grew up on a global scale, not only in taxis. The rapid changes in its business model so it transports today everything, not just people, was possible because it uses our cloud services.

Wix – a successful company on a global scale, is built on our cloud services.

Tadiran Telecom  - powers its successful PBX and telephony in our cloud with a solution named Aeonix.

IronSource - a company that has grown from scratch 5 years ago in the difficult field of distributing applications, and today it is a huge international success, sitting on our cloud services.

We entered as well to large enterprises, who previously did not imagine we can get into them, such as banks. Example: We provide to Bank Hapoalim the platform to run start-ups and new technologies in the FinTech.

YES cable TV operator is operating a system in the cloud to manage and collect data from set top boxes held by its customers.

We have of course many other examples of success in Israel, ranging from Check Point to companies who preferred not to disclose their names.

Many international organizations and delegations keep coming all the time to Israel to see the successes that exist here, as today it is understood in the world that there is what to learn from the development of entrepreneurship in Israel.


I say to executives that I meet, that the cloud helps them to bring a culture of innovation into their organization. In the past, anyone who initiated and developed in an organization had to ask for resources and went through long and expensive bureaucratic processes until receiving these resources. If the idea or the development failed, his managers came to him with complaints that he spent a lot of money for nothing. We come in and remove these barriers. The cloud eliminates all at once all the processes of ordering resources and reduces the fear to fail, as if resources are unneeded you simply stop paying on them.

I believe that failure teaches entrepreneurs how to succeed. If you fail a few times, you learn what works and so come to the right solution. The cloud is a great tool to fail in it. It's fast and so learning processes are fast. This is the secret of successful people. They have failed many times before and have learned what can be successful."


Q: When will we see the physical AWS cloud in Israel?

A: "We are in direct contact with our customers to constantly examine their needs. We listen to them and updating our services according to their needs. Currently, the12 regions around the world and another five currently under construction (see map below), meet the needs. But this is not the end of the expansion. Depending on demand, we will consider the expansion to Israel. "


Q: What do you reply to those who want to take cloud services from clouds that are physically in Israel?

A: "The market is big enough and we are delighted that there is competition. Remember, we are only 10 years in the world market, so, we have more room to grow.


Because the competition is so big, we are moving forward very quickly. Just last year, we announced more than 700 enhancements and new services. All because our customers' requirements. It has no parallel at any competitor.

From what I see, and many say that in the Israeli market, we have become here in Israel to the normal. AWS services have become the benchmark of the market. All that we have achieved in the less than 3 years that we here in Israel.

It also indicates the maturity of the Israeli market to switch to the cloud. Security fears decreased. People understand that the cloud is safer.

Today, each new project within organizations in Israel begins with cloud infrastructures. Few begin projects in infrastructure that are not in the cloud. Israeli managers, even in in the largest and conservatives organizations, realized that the cloud has value to them. The cloud gives them continuity, stability, ability to respond faster to the whole world. It is safer and it is also cheaper. No need any more to build in house another Data Warehouse. The cloud is the new normal in organizations who want to move fast."


Q: To where are you developing in Israel?

A: "We are just at the beginning of the road, and in my opinion we are not even scratching the surface. There are in Israel so many businesses and organizations who need us, that we are facing the need to meet demand, so we recruit constantly more professionals and grow up. When we started here in Israel, we had hardly a tiny office and now we have a whole floor. We are looking in the market the best people in the field of cloud services and bring them into our team.


I believe that we can help our customers move to the cloud and be flexible. Therefor they come to us.

 What we have seen in Israel, what succeed are Live Demos. Israelis want to see it working in their eyes. Presentations has no impression here. Therefore, we make lot of live demonstrations, as Israelis like innovation are not afraid to experiment, just as they are not afraid to fail. I am very proud of what we've been able to do here in such a short time.

Our most prominent successes are Israeli companies who broke into the world thanks to our platform. This is a dream come true for them and for us."


Q: What is your professional dream?

Harel Ifhar: "I dream that AWS will grow as it grew up until today and faster. We are just getting started and I would like to increase our ability to help entrepreneurs and to help the Israeli economy.

 I believe that cloud services not only help companies to succeed, they help grow a whole ecosystem to grow around cloud services. This is what drives the Israeli economy forward.

We are constantly making changes to our services, everything stems from our customers. From what I believe, Israel is a great place to grow up with AWS services".

 Pictured: Deployment of present and future cloud regions in the world:


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