AWS re:Invent - Summarising the Madness

For those of you who attended re:Invent last week, have you recovered yet? I feel my life expectancy may be a month or two shorter as a result of the trip, yet somehow AWS and the cloudy attendees present managed to make it better nonetheless.

I thought it worth a short note on my thoughts following the third re:Invent I’ve attended – it was a biggie. There are plenty of existing blogs detailing the specifics of what was discussed – plus you can rewatch the full keynotes and indeed the majority of sessions on YouTube. So, here’s a few of my highlights instead:


Sucks to be Oracle

In the weeks before re:Invent, Larry had been full of his usual bullish chat (I like a man who believes in his product, so that’s not a dig). In the end, he took a bit of a pasting in Andy Jassy’s opening keynote with a number of sly jibes getting the audience chuckling. I remember being amazed by Aurora when I first saw it perform last year, and this year’s release of a PostgreSQL engine will hurt Oracle. Will lots of people migrate away from Oracle? Almost certainly not – although I did speak to a major FTSE organisation considering just that to slash license costs where possible. Will this dent future Oracle license growth? Definitely.


Sucks (slightly less) to be VMWare

Credit to CEO Pat Gelsinger for being onstage talking about the partnership (that he had no choice but to sign up to…). Whilst VMWare and private cloud doesn’t excite me, it will potentially prove a useful building block for some of our clients who are not yet ready to move large chunks of their estate – as has sometimes been seen with large broadcast organisations with years left to run on DC investments.



If you want to impress 32,000 people, or at least the 10,000 in the room, driving a truck on stage will do it….People laughed when Snowball was announced, and indeed the room I watched the keynote in thought Snowmobile was a joke initially. It isn’t. It’s a really interesting, 100PB, approach to solving the challenge of mass migrating data to the cloud at the scale big business works with. As Andy said:

"We’ll drive the truck up to your data center…fill her up… and move it back to AWS"


Developers kept happy

Whilst the more business minded in the room were yawning as AWS trotted out their new round of Instance types with the latest Intel chipsets, etc, our development team were genuinely excited. Personally I’d hoped to see configurable instance types ala those available in Google’s cloud, but you can’t do everything at once I suppose.

The new AI features will also be a boon to developers I think – and I’m expecting much tinkering at Cloudreach’s next Skunkworks event. AWS is still lagging a bit in AI & Machine Learning vs. Google and Microsoft in my opinion, but they are making a big step forward with Rekognition, Lex and Polly – and you can bet they will increment fast from here. I’ve heard development teams are sizeable.

Our tech team were also amongst the few to be interested in the [genuinely important, but hardly noted] IPv6 support for EC2.


Release most likely to change the world?

For me, this has to be Greengrass, the extension of last year’s world changing Lambda into the outside world beyond AWS’s environment, i.e. IoT enabled Lambda. This will enable genuine computing at the edge – and will stamp AWS’s authority all over this vast market if other vendors don’t pull a rabbit from a hat ASAP. It brings the ability to write and deploy Python Lambda code locally on IoT devices and have it execute there for reasons including performance, connectivity, etc.


Vendors were sobbing

Well, some were at least. It all depends on perspective of course. Whilst the likes of CloudFlare probably aren’t delighted at free (basic) DDoS protection being offered via AWS Shield, with a more sophisticated offering being very competitively priced, others will be happier. I can see a nice combination between managed network level threat detection via Alert Logic, working seamlessly with DDoS protection from AWS.

Those working in the sphere of monitoring and logging were less pleased…although as usual AWS will take a while to catch up with the market leading offerings – so they can still innovate from here.



It was epic. 32,000 or thereabouts turned up in person. The "plan your sessions" tip I gave in my prior blog turned out to be important… I tried to book a few at the last minute and had no chance of getting in. Congratulations to the organisers for shepherding everyone around, but I beg of you, I need a new hotel in my life. I could walk round the Venetian/Palazzo blindfold now.

Will AWS be quiet for another year now? No chance, as this graph shows:


This is just the start, and expect Microsoft and Google to be fighting back asap. You’re witnessing a new age of IT appearing right before your eyes.

Not if. When.