What we now know about the near future of the cloud-infrastructure industry, fresh off the heals of re:Invent 2016: Cloud computing has become everyone’s business!
It’s Big, Bigger and Growing… Mainstream!
With 32,000 participants this was by far the biggest re:Invent since Amazon started hosting this event back in 2011. Cloud services are becoming a mandatory part of business, and this was felt in the huge crowds participating in this event dedicated to what used to be considered a very specific part of Amazon’s offer. Now everyone wants in. Both the numbers and diversity of the crowd (we were definitely not seeing a dominance of developers last week) reflect the increasing dependence on, and new understanding of AWS, and cloud computing services in general. Attendees came from all kinds of companies and all corporate levels, from CEO’s to marketers, to your favorite uncle’s dog. Cloud computing is no longer the exclusive domain of software industry people.
AWS Getting the Big Image to Go with those Big Shoes...
With customers from NASA to the CIA, AWS has some pretty big shoes to fill. In the first quarter of 2016, Amazon experienced a 42% rise in stock value as a result of increased earnings. Pretty impressive right? Yet for most, AWS is not a well-known brand name, rather a vague tech-only subsidiary of Amazon. Ask anybody in Las Vegas about Amazon and they will tell you all about the new warehouses and Uber like services that Amazon builds in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. AWS, not so much. This event is the first of many that really attempt to change that positioning. Highly active social media campaigns and Apple style product launches and presentations pushed a more modern and more established image. With 130 AWS features and services announced -up 45.7% from last year- there was no lack of newness. And this from a total of 912 launches so far this year. Check out this article from VentureBeat to get a complete rundown of launches.
Security, Still a Big Issue
5% of all attendees registered for Aaron Newman’s breakout session , dubbed Hackproof your Cloud, Responding to 2016 Threats (and if would have been more if not sold out -we were squeezed in at max capacity!). This gives us a pretty good idea of what was top-of-mind for this audience. And AWS had some pretty good ideas about how to circumvent this major headache. Stolen credentials and illicitly used keys are a major problem in the industry, but it’s just now that the industry as a whole is figuring out this issue is just way too expensive to ignore. We blogged about simple ways to avoid having your cloud credentials used for spam or bitcoin mining, resulting in servers you never requested costing you tens of thousands of dollars. Check it out here.
More human, more friendly
AI and NLP (natural language processing) are at the service of AWS growing human touch. Of the new services launched, Amazon Polly is a text-to-speech (TTS) service that is powered by deep learning, stands out as examples of a move towards user friendly - personal focus. The tool takes a text input and converts it into an MP3 stream that is altered to sound more like actual conversation. For example, if the text contains “WA” the output might say Washington instead. Along the same ‘humanizing’ lines: was the launch of Amazon Lex (the technology underlying Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant), which provides natural language understanding and automatic speech recognition. Check out this article, for more.
And hey, nothing beats Monster Trucks
Big trucks anyone? AWS unveiled the next generation of its Snowball boxes, (on massive trucks) used to move huge amounts of data to AWS. Giving the audience this live show gave a very visual “how” and “wow-factor” for those looking to move their in-house hardware setup to the cloud. Ok the Snowball boxes are not new new...the first version was announced at last year’s re:Invent, with a capacity of 50TB and earlier this year, AWS showcased a 80TB version. They have now bumped capacity up to 100TB, added a color touchscreen, and technology that can divvy up databases with sharding.
So if you needed proof that cloud computing is becoming everyone’s business, or that Amazon is continually striving to hold their dominant position in a rapidly expanding market: You got it last week at re:Invent! AWS is definitely not alone on the cloud computing landscape -just check the efforts of Microsoft and Google (as well as many traditional infrastructure companies) to stay relevant in this industry, nice insight here and here.
What were your biggest takeaways from the event? And your thoughts on how the cloud landscape will have changed this time next year? What are the remaining security roadblocks for adopting cloud? Let us know by leaving a comment below...