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» VIEW ALL POSTS Jul 30 2010   6:30PM GMT

Eli Lilly – Amazon Web Services story still stands



Posted by: JoMaitland
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This week I wrote a story about Eli Lilly’s struggle with Amazon Web Services over legal indemnification issues.

Sources told us that Eli Lilly was walking away from contract negotiations with AWS for expanding its use of AWS beyond its current footprint. AWS has chosen to hide this fact by claiming the story says Eli Lilly is leaving Amazon completely, which was not reported.

Since publishing the story Amazon’s CTO Dr. Werner Vogels has called me a liar, attempted to discredit SearchCloudComputing.com and claimed my sources are wrong, all via Twitter. I am curious if he thinks any enterprise IT professionals are following his tweets? My hunch is not many, but that’s another story.

Information Week followed up with Eli Lilly to check out the story and was given this statement:

“Lilly is currently a client of Amazon Web Services. We employ a wide variety of Amazon Web Services solutions, including the utilization of their cloud environment for hosting and analytics of information important to Lilly.”

This statement does not refute the issue at the center of my story which is that Eli Lilly has been struggling to agree to terms with AWS over legal liability issues which has prevented it from deploying more important workloads on AWS.

Yes, AWS still gets some business from Eli Lilly, but larger HPC workloads and other corporate data are off the table, right now.

The story raises lots of questions about the murky area of how much liability cloud computing service providers should assume when things go wrong with their service. So far, AWS seems unwilling to negotiate with its customers, and it’s certainly unwilling to discuss this topic in a public way.

That’s AWS’s prerogative, but the issue will not subside, especially as more big companies debate the wisdom of trusting their business information to cloud providers like AWS, Rackspace, etal.

5  Comments on this Post

 
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  • GeoffArnold
    You complain that Werner is upset at you for, as you put it, [B]... claiming the story says Eli Lilly is leaving Amazon completely, which was not reported.[/B] Yet the opening sentence in your earlier story was: [B]Amazon Web Services (AWS) poster child Eli Lilly has walked away from the cloud computing service after failing to come to terms over legal indemnification issues.[/B] "Walked away" certainly implies "leaving". If this was not what you intended to imply, you failed miserably. In the era of Twitter, that one-sentence summary is what's going to be propagated. Personally, I suspect that you reached for an eye-catching headline without thinking about the consequences, so I'm not going to echo Werner's attributions of malice. You could have fixed things by apologizing for your poor choice of words while providing some evidence to support your central story. Zero out of two, I guess.
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  • JoMaitland
    I am sorry you don't have the attention span to read more than a tag line. I agree though this is the era we live in. It means a lot more people walking around with information at a very superficial level. Read the whole story people.
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  • PetervW
    Jo, maybe it i am splitting hairs, but your original story title was "Lilly dumps Amazon" or some variation of that. For me dump is unambiguous: if you get dumped the relationship is over, period. Dump does not mean lets stay in th relationship but lets not go any deeper. It really means it is over. After that it doesn't really matter anymore whether there is some truth to the contract issues or not as both Amazon and Lilly state that there was no dumping as Lilly continues to use Amazon. Instead of complaining that Amazon wasn't happy with some anonymous source story and making it a yes/no battle, you could have done us a great favor by actually getting an on-record confirmation from Lilly or whoever gave you the story that it is true. Now you are stuck behind an anonymous source, with both parties not supporting your statement of dumping and we, the readers, are left in the dark because we do not know who to believe. And without an on-record statement from Lilly I am giving Amazon the benefit of the doubt....
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  • PetervW
    With respect to your reply to the other gentleman, this is how the story appears on you home pages [B]Eli Lilly dumps Amazon Web Services over legal struggle[/B] EXCLUSIVE! Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, once the poster child for Amazon Web Services, is walking away from the cloud provider over legal liability issues This is how I first encountered it and basically summarized the story for me. That it is actually a somewhat different story, is irrelevant after that. I love TechTarget, and you are an important source of information for me. But this is a bit tabloid-like and I would hate to see you go down that path.
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  • JoMaitland
    Peter, Is this the official comment you are looking for: http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid201_gci1517662,00.html Jo
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