That's a Wrap(up)!

Reflections from AWS re:Invent 2019

James Lewis

Well, what a week it was in Las Vegas for this year’s AWS re:Invent! I had the privilege of attending alongside my colleagues Steve Mactaggart and Colin Panisset. They’ve both written up some pretty thorough summaries of each day, which you can find in the previous blog entries:

Recap Day 1

Recap Day 2

Hands on with CodeGuru Reviewer

In addition to the individual tech announcements, I wanted to share some high-level thoughts and key themes from the week:


Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid computing will be a key battleground for the hyper-scalers in the next few years. Both Enterprise and Government customers have now moved past the panacea of all in on the cloud and recognised that a well-managed hybrid cloud strikes the right balance between security, functionality and cost. AWS formally announced the launch of Outposts - AWS’ answer to this and it will be interesting to see the uptake of this service amongst ANZ based customers.


Edge computing

Data and services at the edge ties well into the Hybrid story, and will be important for many use-cases. AWS’ announcement of Wavelength for 5G networks and Local Zones provides some further capability for the future in this area along with existing tech like Snowball and Greengrass. IoT and specific Industry 4.0 use cases will certainly see Australian companies well placed to drive innovation in these areas, however, interestingly no launch partner for Australia was announced as part of the Wavelength announcement.


Focus on Tech Leadership and Migration

Whether you were a customer or a partner attendee the main call to action throughout the conference was to “show conviction and alignment” to “prevent paralysis” from stopping you before you start. As aspiring leaders we all need to help customers overcome the barriers created by trying to figure out how to move everything to the cloud, which in turn slows down moving anything.

At Cevo, we see many customers who get caught with internal battles of on-premises vs cloud, with every step forward met with resistance and reasons not to proceed, which results in costly delays and inaction. Executive sponsorship with clear top down communications of priorities and goals will help to overcome this. Internal stakeholders and partners having a strong voice and conviction will additionally help push forward with the transformation to overcome this inertia.

Andy Jassy highlighted a stat in his keynote, that around 97% of IT spend is still on-premises, which shows a huge potential market for the adoption and migration to the cloud. Enabling technology leadership with a clear business case and conviction to move will be key to larger scale migration. In the new hybrid world, it will be equally important to ensure the right workload is hosted in the right location to strike the appropriate balance.


“Train your builders”

I’ve said many times before that our customers are increasingly opting for a build over buy approach to new line of business applications and digital experiences, and once again this was a theme throughout. Some of the AI/ML announcements with CodeGuru and CodeGuru Profiler in particular were made to facilitate more accessible development within organisations and to help improve the quality and efficiency of code deployed.

AWS illustrated throughout the conference that they are willing to share patterns and learnings from their own Amazon and AWS growth and lessons learnt and share these with their customers. There was a lot of this focus in Werner Vogels’ keynote including the evolution of the Nitro Hypervisor and Fargate, along with the release of the AWS builders library to help the technologist get started in innovating and developing quicker https://aws.amazon.com/builders-library/


Customer Stories

It was great to hear a number of AWS customer journeys, which really did showcase how technology is changing the world. One in particular was the SailDrone example of how they’ve used AWS AI and ML services to create auto-piloted sailing drones to roam the ocean collecting a raft of telemetry from above and below the sea level, including video. This information is being captured to provide scientists with never before seen information about the vast ocean environments.

Some other stories from Vanguard and Goldman Sachs showcased how leadership and conviction can drive innovation and change. However, they also illustrated how a well-managed hybrid cloud architecture is critical to success between the legacy and the new.


Vegas baby!!

OK, so because you can’t go to Vegas and not have fun, there were numerous opportunities to do this. We had the pleasure of hosting a number of customers and partners for dinner at the exclusive NoMad restaurant at the MGM Park Casino, and it was great to hear their thoughts on the various sessions attended and learn about their focus areas for the coming year.

The re:Play event was the official conference party, and as they say, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy indeed’. To that end, on Thursday night, we took the opportunity to let our hair down and enjoy the Vegas nightlife. Having 65,000 technology folk in the Las Vegas showgrounds was something else, and once again there was something for everyone, with four main zones catering for everyone’s individual taste. If you have the opportunity to attend re:Invent in the future, then this is definitely not to be missed!


Final Thoughts

My final thought and one thing that is important for all of us as technologists to remember, is that despite all of the cool tech services that were announced during the course of the week, we mustn’t lose focus on why we exist in the first place – to provide solutions that focus on business outcomes, and always use the right tools for the right job to ensure a balance of innovation, cost and functionality.

I’m excited about the period in front of us, and how Cevo can help enable both the decision makers and the builders amongst our customers to achieve their business goals. Some of the keynotes, and various sessions have been posted on the reInvent video site, and the remaining will be finalised over the next few weeks, at https://reinventvideos.com/. Enjoy watching them from the comfort of your own desk!