As more and more companies have gotten used to the idea of renting servers from a bookseller, Amazon Web Services revenue has soared, turning it into one of the most powerful companies in enterprise technology. And these companies continue to make long-term bets on AWS, as shown in an update to a figure the company first disclosed last quarter.
AWS now has $16 billion in unearned revenue attributable to multiyear contracts that have yet to be fulfilled, Amazon said in its quarterly report to the SEC. Last quarter, it had $12.4 billion in unearned revenue, which means that category grew more slowly than the 49 percent jump in overall AWS revenue, but it’s hard to make direct comparisons given that contract lengths and terms can vary widely.
It’s yet another sign that cloud computing is big business, leaving behind the days in which a bunch of engineers that needed compute power for a skunkworks project, or fledgling startups that weren’t sure if they’d make it through the year, accounted for a lot of AWS revenue. In an interview with GeekWire last week, Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene noted this is changing at her company as well, as more traditional technology buyers that crave stability start entering the cloud market.
And those deals are getting longer: the “weighted average remaining life” on those contracts with unearned revenue is now 3.5 years, up from 3.2 years when Amazon first disclosed this figure in May. It might be hard to calculate, but it will be interesting to see how growth in multicloud deployments affects both the size and length of future cloud computing contracts over time.