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AWS re:Invent 2018 - Top Takeaways

Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2018
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By Dean Gardner
Cloud Chief Technologist


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AWS re:Invent 2018 has come and gone but what an event it was! The event was attended by over fifty thousand technology specialists, customers and AWS partners, intent on discovering the next big thing in the World of AWS public cloud. Although it now appears that AWS are not only intent on dominating the world of Public Cloud, but they also have lofty ambitions to return to customer datacentres. More on that later.

Only by experiencing re:Invent can you grasp the juggernaut that AWS has become. The event was spilt between several of the largest Las Vegas hotels, and the sheer size, magnitude and momentum is something to be in awe off.  It was clear that AWS simply want to get on with doing anything and everything IT-related; with a focus on delivering IT services that will accelerate business transformation to allow anyone and everyone the opportunity to advance in the digital age.

An Event For Techies

The first thing noticed is there appeared to be little spin or marketing on show.  This was clearly a technically-focused event, designed for technically-minded people, and this no-nonsense focus was refreshing in both approach and delivery.  

AWS want to shout about their customer use-cases, provide tools to transform organisations and to showcase how everyone uses their tech.  Organisational verticals all focused on services being rolled out, to meet demand from commercial to public sector organisations with aplomb.  For every new and developing AWS service there was a customer talking about how they are using it - so it was not simply just AWS talking the talk.

AWS Are Taking 'Action'

Andy Jassy's keynotes were clear, concise and littered with key words such as 'action' and 'builders' to highlight the doing, and a little less conversation (The Elvis song was ringing out on stage to emphasise the 'a little less conversation, a little more action' comment). They were sending a clear message: users need to use AWS with an emphasis and encouragement on investing in the people using it - to ensure they make the array of technology sing (see what they did there), creating new lines of business.

It's clear that whilst other vendors are working to acquire companies to meet, what they believe is, customer demand, AWS simply solve user problems, and build a service to address that problem, at an incredible rate. This creates a plethora of service choices that everyone can benefit from.

ML, AI, Blockchain And More

There were announcements for new services offerings for Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Analytics, blockchain and database services, supported with clear use cases and reasons as to why they felt these hold relevance. 

There appeared to be a big focus on targeting large enterprise-based databases with a major comment on ‘Freedom’ (Another keyword) to provide the right tools for the right job. There was almost an element of anger around the lack of innovation from the monolithic DB monopoly of certain vendors. AWS had themselves a major focus in 2018 to replace a traditional, large DB engine with a micro-segmented architecture model and they simply built a bunch of new services to address the problem. They were very proud to say, we built something, so we could shut down our large DB environment hosted on a well-known vendor's database engine.  When the vendor was publicly called out this appeared to receive applause and cheers.

AWS & VMware Made An Announcement

On top of this AWS had a ‘drop the mic’ moment, with Pat Gelsinger from VMWare invited to the keynote to announce that in late 2019, AWS infrastructure can be procured, installed and managed in organisation’s own datacentres. This will come with two choices;

  • Use a pure AWS native service model
  • Have the VMware SDDC stack

A fairly significant change from AWS that’s intent on coming back into the customer datacentre, that potentially competes with the major, established hardware vendors.

In summary the sessions, announcements, vendor expos and people attending from all over the World shows just how AWS are offering tools and services to provide the ‘freedom’ for ‘builders’ to deliver ‘actions’ across the IT landscape from the public cloud and in late 2019, the customer datacentre. We predict an interesting 2019. 

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