Amazon Helps Zoom Handle Record Traffic Demands

Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy likes to throw around some of the company’s biggest customers during his appearances at AWS events and today at AWS Summit Online 2020 EMEA was no different.

However, there was one customer he may have been urged to highlight, and that is video-conferencing app Zoom, which has been hugely popular throughout lockdown.

In April, AWS had to issue a rebuttal to claims by rival Oracle that Zoom ran on Oracle Cloud rather than AWS cloud.

An online Q&A with Zoom CTO Brendan Itellson and CEO Eric Yuan confirmed that Zoom had been using AWS for back-office traffic, but that real-time video-conferencing traffic had previously been handled in Zoom’s own datacentres. In light of the pandemic, Zoom had to move some of its real-time traffic to AWS.

“During this pandemic crisis, every day is a new record. Our own existing data center[s] really cannot handle this traffic,” said Yuan in the Q&A.

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“Several months ago, Amazon really offered great support to us. Andy and his team offered tons of server size, and every night added 5,000 to 6,000 servers – a lot of servers to help us worldwide,” he added.

Essentially, Zoom uses a mixture of AWS, Oracle and its own servers, but Jassy wanted to highlight that most of the capacity was handled by AWS.

“The vast majority of Zoom’s cloud infrastructure runs on AWS and will for the foreseeable future,” he said in today’s fireside chat.

Jassy had kicked off the fireside chat by stating that AWS is helping businesses much in the same way that Amazon’s retail business is helping consumers.

“We’re trying to help companies and organizations function while they can’t be operating normally at work, and just look at a lot of the things that really matter to us when we’re home,” he said.

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Jassy said that with many people at home relying on on-demand entertainment, they’re effectively relying on AWS infrastructure as Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu and Amazon Prime all run on AWS, while the popular video game Fortnight also runs on top of AWS. A number of e-learning tools such as Blackboard are also reliant on AWS, Jassy said.

In terms of video-conferencing, as well as Amazon Chime, Jassy suggested that Zoom – which has been hugely popular throughout lockdown -would be a long-term user of AWS infrastructure.

Jassy also explained that Amazon’s call centre service dubbed Connect is gaining traction.

“We launched it about three years ago in 2017 and it’s just gotten so big so quickly with companies like CapitalOne, Intuit, John Hancock, Citi Group, Johnson & Johnson, Hilton and Best Western, which is a really broad array of enterprises using it,” he said.

AWS’ CEO then said that in the COVID-19 crisis, many companies have had their customer service agents work from home.

“It’s just incredible how many companies have spun up Connect to help them deal with all their calls from customers,” he said.

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