GE Taps AWS As 'Preferred' Cloud Provider To Help Reduce Its Data Center Footprint

Amazon Web Services on Thursday announced that it is the "preferred cloud provider" for General Electric as the industrial giant looks to migrate its applications to the cloud.

Chris Drumgoole, CTO and corporate vice president of General Electric, said in a statement that AWS would help the company's team "refocus" its resources on innovation.

"Adopting a cloud-first strategy with AWS is helping our IT teams get out of the business of building and running data centers and refocus our resources on innovation as we undergo one of the largest and most important transformations in GE’s history," he said. "We chose AWS as the preferred cloud provider for GE because AWS’s industry-leading cloud services have allowed us to push the boundaries, think big, and deliver better outcomes for GE."

[Related: Schneider Electric Partners Find Opportunities And Roadblocks With IoT In The Industrial Market]

GE said it began moving its enterprise applications to the cloud in 2014, migrating more than 2,000 applications, "several of which leverage AWS' analytics and machine learning services," and the company continues to migrate thousands of core applications to AWS.

That migration spans the company's various businesses – including GE Power, GE Aviation, GE Healthcare, GE Transportation and GE Digital.

The news comes months comes after a Reuters article in late August reported that GE had abandoned plans to build out its own data centers for hosting its in-house cloud platform, Predix, as the company looks to drive profits and cut costs.

Predix Cloud, designed specifically for industrial data and analytics as a Platform-as-a-Service, enables operators to use machine data faster and more efficiently – as well as the legacy of former CEO Jeff Immelt, who launched the GE Digital business in 2015.

One partner, who wished to remain anonymous, said that "the next 12 months will be very telling for GE," particularly as the company works to better understand what is successful in its cloud platform and digital transformation journey – and what needs to be revamped.

While the AWS announcement was in reference to GE's IT apps, GE is also working with cloud provider Microsoft around its Predix platform – the company in 2016 announced it would partner with Microsoft to bring Predix to Azure for industrial applications, in addition to AWS.

A GE spokesperson told CRN that this partnership is still in the works: "Our partnership with Microsoft continues as planned; we are bringing Predix to Azure later this year," said the spokesperson.

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