First things first

On another slow day, the one piece that really struck me was this quick GeekWire analysis of the $16 billion in deferred revenue that Amazon Web Services claimed in its most recent earnings report.

The cloud provider reported more than $6 billion in revenue during the second quarter, but it has a lot more slated to come in on long-term contracts with an average of 3.5 years left on them. What's more, that $16 billion in deferred revenue is up from $12.4 billion in the previous quarter. That's a pretty significant bump in just 3 months' time.

The intricacies of accounting can be mind-numbing stuff, but in this case I think they underscore a reality that folks charged with technology innovation would be wise to note. Specifically, that cloud computing itself isn't particularly innovative anymore. As GeekWire's Tom Krazit points out, we are well past the early days of developers busting out the corporate credit card to finance a skunkworks project, or of cloud providers chasing the next hot startup in order to distinguish between the IaaS era and the Sun server era.

Rather, cloud computing is big business, and companies chasing stability and lower costs are forgoing some of the on-demand nature of the cloud by locking themselves into long-term contracts. Absent some serious initiatives on top of that infrastructure -- around cloud-native architectures, artificial intelligence, internet of things, etc. -- using cloud infrastructure is becoming the norm, even if it's not yet legacy IT.

That's not inherently good or bad, but just the state of the world. Step 1 might be "Move workloads to IaaS," but it's Steps 2, 3, and 4 (whatever they are) that are going to separate innovative companies from everybody else.

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