Skip to main content

All the latest from AWS re:Invent

Hear from Softcat’s own John Pallister – Build Engineer Associate, on his experience attending re:Invent and the latest on the cloud front.


aws re invent
John Pallister.jpeg

John Pallister

Build Engineer Associate

The annual AWS re:Invent took place from 28th November – 2nd December in Las Vegas, Nevada. Held for over 10 years, the event brings together the global cloud community to get inspired and re-think the possible. Softcat were delighted to have the opportunity to sponsor and attend the event, hearing from AWS cloud experts on a range of key topics in cloud computing.

Key overall highlights and findings include:

- Cloud spend is growing: cloud is projected to make up 14.2% of global enterprise spending in 2024, up from 9.1% in 2020.

- Migration is accelerating: 50% of Microsoft workloads are moving over to the cloud.

- AWS is prioritising sustainability: announcing their pledge to achieve renewable energy by 2025, water positive by 2023 and net zero carbon by 2040.

- Public sector customers want transformation: With migrating to AWS Cloud, they can hope to reduce their operating costs by 51%.

- After 3 years of using AWS Marketplace: 66% of customers saved time due to procurement efficiencies and 10% of customers reported a 10% reduction in licensing costs.

Hear from Softcat’s own John Pallister – Build Engineer Associate, on his experience attending re:Invent and the latest on the cloud front…

Prior to joining Softcat in 2021, my 23 year career has been in IT sales, starting in the web hosting market before going on to data centre, networks, security and cloud. I’ve always been technically curious and wanted to offer advice to customers based on hands-on experience, building and doing. Whenever an opportunity was offered to get my hands (virtually) dirty, I was thrilled and jumped at it. My first twelve months at Softcat has involved a fantastic blend of study and certification, combined with customer-facing support and troubleshooting experience - all supported by my brilliant colleagues.

However, with the ever-changing tech landscape, I began to see the value in broadening my horizons and developing my perspective. Thankfully, the opportunity to attend re:Invent came around and I knew this would help me learn more on the multi-cloud world. To make the most out of attending, I identified two subject areas to focus on. One supported my current capabilities, and the other would increase my knowledge from a customer facing advisory / design perspective.

Focus 1 

Whilst there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ customer and organisations are at every stage of cloud adoption, I strived to understand how AWS services could help organisations, especially those that are similar to the Softcat customers I have worked with in the last year.

I attended a number of sessions during re:Invent, where AWS presenters covered the opportunities to migrate Microsoft workloads to AWS. The message was repeated on many occasions that AWS have ‘more Windows workloads running than any other cloud provider’. This was underpinned by clear messaging on how AWS can be a cost effective option, with examples such as:

- Right-sizing and using optimised instances to reduce CPU-based licensing costs

- How FSx can simplify and reduce costs of SQL Server HA deployments

- The Nitro architecture bringing greater utilisation efficiency of hosts and reducing costs

- Modernizing .NET applications using .NET Core to run on lower-cost, Graviton-powered instances

Upon hearing this, I was struck by two things. Firstly, the huge investment AWS is making in winning Microsoft workloads as organisations move to cloud. And secondly, how open complexity leaves customers to fall foul of hyperbole. I’ll be keeping these in mind and looking to understand more about our cloud providers, so I can ensure that customers cloud solutions are the best fit for their requirements.

Focus 2

Diving deeper into my journey to multi-cloud I was interested in the intricacies of AWS’ build and support processes?

I attended several lab sessions and technical presentations, with the simple aim of testing myself, to see how much my first year in a technical role would help me get started with AWS. I was pleased to discover I could work through exercises and understand concepts I’d have struggled with 12 months ago.

I had my first look at identity and access management, monitoring and alerting, and a basic VPC on AWS – all ok so far. I then had a look at my first serverless function and messed around with EKS – I was interested in this as we get a fair number of support cases in my team, for a service like this.. Even though I’m not going to be deploying my own production ready K8s environments for a while yet, it was still great to see how familiar everything was for me and how much is out there for customers.

So, what I’m trying to say is that this focus is in many ways like the previous one, in which detail is everything.. Moving to the cloud can save customers money and making the most of these services will involve investing time in optimisation, automation, re-architecting, modernising applications and other factors. Personally, I’m looking forward to growing my knowledge further, so I can support my customers on these multi-cloud solutions in the future.

In conclusion

There were many promises made over the course of the event by AWS and other software vendors, all pledging to help in endless ways to win big. Relevance is a key factor, but even then it’s difficult to figure out where to place your chips and cross your fingers (Vegas pun intended). It’s a confirmation of just how overwhelming the cloud ecosystem is becoming. When thinking about how to help customers to turn the odds in their favour, it really is a case of being impartial, questioning the claims and focusing on the detail. Something I’ll certainly be concentrating on in my role, to best support my customers through this ever-evolving multi-cloud landscape.