Just like that, 2018 is in the books – as is the annual AWS re:Invent conference, following an action-packed week in Las Vegas last month. AWS re:Invent is a learning conference hosted by Amazon Web Services for more than 40,000 people in the global cloud computing community, featuring numerous keynote speakers, training and certification opportunities, chalk talks, hackathons, more than 2,000 technical sessions and a partner expo.

At this year’s event, more than 80 announcements were made across 18 different categories, such as Analytics, Compute, Database, Machine Learning and more. If you couldn’t attend the conference yourself, Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) participants have a few observations that can bring you up-to-speed on several key topics that you will likely encounter in 2019:

  • Girish Dadge, Director of Product Management, observed that AWS is growing and adding features at a breathtaking pace. If you can’t keep up with the changes, you may end up being a “legacy player,” he said. Another way to look at this: if your business uses the expertise from an accredited AWS provider, such as Sungard AS, they can help you keep up with the changes and optimise your technology year-over-year for you.

He also remarked about cost optimisation: It’s no longer about negotiating and building the best infrastructure, Dadge says. It’s more about how you optimize the everyday and make sure you leverage your operational expenses for best results. In other words, make sure procurement, IT infrastructure and application teams talk every day about optimising spend, while educating legal, procurement and IT about new ways to build up your infrastructure.

  • Andy Stone, Director, Public Cloud Product Management, found the announcement of AWS Outposts as one of the most impactful new products for the service provider space. Outposts should allow for selling of AWS Public Cloud in the private datacenter space, where service providers can deliver colocated, value-add services to their customers. Soon, that could mean providing offsite recovery of AWS resources into a space that houses other customer recovery gear. Based on the physical proximity of the gear, customers running hybrid setups in production could wind up with a recovery solution that outperforms their production.

Stone also found the announcement of AWS DeepRacer fascinating. While presented as a racing league using AI, it’s clear that AWS is crowdsourcing an attempt at entering the self-driving vehicle space. For Amazon, being able to support a fleet of self-driving delivery vehicles – in the warehouse, between delivery centers, even to the customer’s home – could represent a huge cost savings. 

  • Todd Loeppke, Lead CTO Architect, found the Database announcements to be the most impactful, followed by Compute (Serverless and Container-related announcements) to help companies solve their business challenges. He also observed that the Amazon Quantum Ledger Database technology, announced at the conference, specifically focuses on business challenges where Blockchain technology might be considered. Loeppke believes the Quantum Ledger Database would be simpler to use, although AWS did announce a managed blockchain offering for those companies who prefer it.

In addition, Loeppke noted that the AWS Ground Station service is now available for those companies who have satellites but don't want to build the ground support infrastructure. He also applauded the fully-managed secure SFTP service announced at the event. SFTP has been around for nearly 20 years, so it's interesting to see this as a new offering, he remarked. Both the Ground Station and SFTP offerings highlight the AWS focus of pulling more data onto the platform so "builders" can build.

  • Joseph George, Vice President of Product Management, observed that If you don’t believe that the public cloud is real for the enterprise, then you should spend a few days at re:Invent. The growth is real, up from $18B to $27B in one year, while the enterprise customers who discussed adoption of AWS are global powerhouse brands. He also noted that Intuit said 100% of its tax filings for 2017 were done through AWS, underscoring the flexibility of public cloud with respect to the cyclical nature of their business.

And speaking of builders, George remarked that AWS’ focus is clearly on service providers. If you listen to Andy Jassy’s keynote address (available on Youtube), the theme is around the services they’re building for developers – almost like a giant AWS toolkit. He mentioned that higher-level services for the “2nd type of builder” (those that don’t want to build everything) are evolving, and that interest from the partner side is clear. As an example, Sungard AS is the only service provider that delivers fully managed, SLA-backed backup and recovery services. George had the opportunity to present Sungard AS’ new Managed Backup – AWS solution in the Veritas booth (one of the builders with whom we collaborate), and there was strong interest in every session. 

While the total experience of AWS re:Invent is difficult to encapsulate in one article, one thing is clear: AWS is not standing still, and if you don’t pay attention, you’re likely to miss the boat. You can catch a recap here. But make no mistake – 2019 will be a huge year for AWS, its partners, and its millions of customers. If you want to catch the wave together, we’re here to help.

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