Amazon has been manufacturing a wide range of network equipment over the past three years to support the needs of its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud business, according to new research from MTN Consulting.
The consulting firm says AWS manufactures a range of equipment from routers, chips, network interface cards (NICs), and network gear for high-speed data transfers.
“Developing its own custom-made network hardware allows Amazon to be efficient and cost-effective, thus responding to customer requirements faster without relying on any third-party vendor,” states MTN Consulting’s Amazon Webscale Playbook. “While this would not translate into complete discard of network vendors by Amazon, it would certainly reduce some reliance on them, thus, potentially impacting the spend in the medium term.”
In July, a report surfaced that AWS was working on an initiative to sell white box switches to enterprise customers. These would be similar to the switches that AWS uses in its own networks. If true, AWS could present a formidable new threat to switch vendors such as Cisco, Arista, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPS), and Juniper.
While AWS has denied that it’s planning to sell its own switches, rumors continue to circulate that it’s trialing switches with a few of its most loyal clients.
AWS Infrastructure Vendors
Aside from equipment that it develops for internal use, AWS also uses infrastructure vendors. According to public information gathered by MTN Consulting, AWS works with Arista Networks as a technology partner for its cloud infrastructure, and it sources equipment from Cisco and F5 Networks.
AWS also produces its own customized chipsets for its servers via its network chipmaker subsidiary, Annapurna Labs, a company that it acquired in 2015.
The Annapurna Labs networking chips are used to move data more efficiently and save power in data centers, according to MTN. AWS also works with a number of semiconductor companies including AMD, NVIDIA, Intel, Xilinx, and Cavium (which has been purchased by Marvell).
Asked what percentage of its chips AWS produces through Annapurna and what percentage it sources from semiconductor companies, Matt Walker, chief analyst with MTN Consulting, said, “That’s the million-dollar question. Amazon does want its internal share to grow.”