This November 60,000 cloud professionals descended on Las Vegas for AWS re:Invent, the biggest tech conference of the year.
As with previous events, there was almost too many announcements made by both AWS and partner organisations to count and the final number of new product and feature releases was upwards of 100.
We wanted to share some of Cloudscaler’s key takeaways!
1 – There were fewer ground-breaking announcements than usual
Despite the huge list of announcements made at re:Invent we felt there were actually fewer than usual, in particular, there were fewer new service categories announced. Rather, the bulk of announcements were extensions and new features added to existing services.
Does this mean that AWS progress has slowed? Well no, the announcements made signal that AWS and Cloud, in general, is becoming more mature technology. No longer are decisions on which cloud provider is chosen based entirely on price or the range of services; enterprises have much more detailed decision-making criteria whether that be regulatory compatibility, sustainability, or usability. These announcements demonstrate that AWS is focused on optimising its existing offerings to retain and grow market share.
Ultimately the better their existing portfolio is received by existing customers the greater their retention will be – which leads nicely to our next observation.
2- AWS is focused on making the cloud easier to use
Announcements made by CEO Adam Silepsky during his keynote including Clean Rooms, Amazon Security Lake, and Amazon DataZone point towards one thing: reducing complexity. We expect this trend to continue fuelled by the ever-present talent shortages in the cloud. Simpler services mean less training and faster adoption.
3- Diversity and Inclusion in the cloud industry is improving, but there’s still work to do
Picking up your badge at the check-in desk you were greeted with AWS’s first inclusive initiative, pro-noun pins you could attach to your lanyard. A small but important change.
Throughout the exhibition floor and session program, there were many events focused on DE&I, from both a talent and technology perspective. The session ‘Building inclusive and responsible AI’ was particularly illuminating.
Despite all these initiatives, it was clear that attendees weren’t as diverse as perhaps AWS had hoped. In the UK only around 20% of the technology workforce are women and at re:Invent that figure appeared to be lower. There’s lots of effort going into this area but still some way to close the DE&I gap.
4- Cloud is at the heart of some brilliant initiatives
There were two particular stories that really captured our imagination at re:Invent and highlighted the power of the cloud. Firstly was that of Escola da Nuvem.
Escola da Nuvem, a non-profit organization created in 2020 by a group of 15 AWS partners in Brazil. EdN focuses on helping talent from underserved and underrepresented communities with limited access to education, by providing training and certification for those interested in being a part of the tech industry. Through their partnership with AWS, they’ve been able to help train hundreds of individuals and match them actively recruiting organisations. We heard from those individuals and it’s amazing how life-changing a program like this can be for them and their families.
The second is how AWS has supported the Ukrainian government. Amazon has been working closely with the Ukrainian government to download essential data and move it out of the country in suitcase-sized solid-state computer storage units called Snowball Edge, then funneling the data into AWS. The data, 10 million gigabytes so far, represent “critical information infrastructure. This is core for the operation of the economy, of the tax system, of banks, and the government overall,” said Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s 31-year-old vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation. The data also include property records whose safekeeping can help prevent the theft of Ukrainian homes, businesses, and land.
Two brilliant stories that practically demonstrate how AWS and the Cloud can drastically improve and protect lives.
There was so much more and we couldn’t cover it all here but needless to say, we’re already looking forward to re:Invent 2023.