A look back (and forward) at AWS re:invent 2015

We recently got back from the Amazon Web Services annual cloud conference re:Invent in Las Vegas. This was our second one (1st time sponsors), and must admit; as a group who attends a fair share of trade-shows, it’s our favorite event for a number of reasons: THE ENERGY – The crowd is still flat-out jacked to be there. Since AWS, and the cloud space it has defined, are still in absolute growth mode, the atmosphere of excitement is infectious (and the great DJ's didn't hurt). Whether we were speaking to System Admins, Developers, Consultants, Marketers, CIO’s or CTO’s... everyone feels like they are participating in shaping the future of IT (and they are). Just ask the team from the Docker booth across the aisle from us, where the mob always seemed to be about 10 fanboys(mostly) deep.

CULTURE OF INNOVATION - We will hand it to AWS, they continue to innovate and that plays a big part as to why the attendees are so excited to be there… AWS had a number of announcements around Big Data, Internet of Things, Database conversions and Data Migration. AWS continues to push the envelope with platforms and services. This is in contrast to most of the enterprise competition as AWS leader Andy Jassy said, “Most of the old-guard tech companies have lost their will and DNA to invent. They acquire.”

AWS HYPER SCALE - It was announced they would hit $7.3 Billion in revenue this year with 81% one year sales growth at 10x the size of the next 14 players combined. That’s pretty astounding… and with it goes some growth pains. An AWS partner team rep we were speaking with said they have between 100-150 new companies a week trying to on-board onto the partner eco-system. That’s something like 6500 in a year, which is also incredible to consider (and difficult to manage).

THE ENTERPRISE – There were hordes of enterprise and large public sector organizations around. The teams from these entities were also caught up in the entrepreneurial spirit of changing the path of their respective giant IT organizations. They all seemed to be lusting for utility pricing and looking to move away from legacy, on-premise, licensing models. It’s obvious the conversation has shifted from dipping toes in the water with "test and development" computing to: how do we get to the cloud, and quickly? The shift to moving traditional compute to the cloud is in full effect.

AMAZING PLATFORM (...but still hard to get to)– As pointed out, AWS defines cloud today, and one of the primary benefits of cloud is automation. Despite this, the biggest pain point we heard was around planning for transformation to AWS. Perceived best practice is still driven by manual discovery and planning efforts (spreadsheets) along with offline brute force, and legacy migration methodologies. Many of the folks we spoke to simply don’t know where to begin.

DATA MIGRATION - AWS is well aware of the pain and some of their announcements addressed those points. We were somewhat underwhelmed with the announced Snowball which sounds more like innovation in logistics for shipping off-line data in a box (quickly, which does mean less to synch on the back-end). However, the recently announced Database Migration Service sounds like a forward-looking offering for moving, converting and synching Databases of all types (live and on-line), so these are both steps in the right direction.

Thankfully for us, despite all the innovation, AWS still relies on partners to meet a lot of these gaps and we are having a blast getting the word out to the ecosystem about transformation automation for the enterprise.

Can’t wait to see you next year!