The cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) has its biggest event of the year next week, with AWS re: Invent running online. Only for the first time free of charge from the 30th. November and until 18. December.
This year, the event will not be spread across various hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, but online over a period of three weeks. This brings its own logistical challenges.
The event begins on Monday evening with a « Late Night with AWS » session, followed by the typical three-hour keynote by CEO Andy Jassy on Tuesday, June 1st. December. This is followed by the Thursday partner’s keynote. CTO Werner Vogels will be in the third week on Tuesday, 15th. December, hold his technical keynote. The other keynotes focus on technical areas such as machine learning and infrastructure.
Aside from the keynotes, there are various “leadership” sessions, breakouts, lounges and “ask the expert” sessions in 50 content tracks and several language options. With the exception of the late night sessions, there is no content on Mondays or Fridays.
It is safe to expect that Jassy and its executive team will continue their recent efforts to make AWS more accessible to enterprise decision makers while keeping the core developer audience excited and engaged.
« AWS missed direct communication with the C-Suite, not just IT managers or the developer community, but also a business meeting. How does AWS help a corporate executive react, respond, or change? This is the time for AWS as technology and business have never been so closely intertwined, « Nick McQuire, vice president of enterprise research for CCS Insight, told InfoWorld.
McQuire sees this in a series of announcements that focus on specific industries such as telecommunications, media and industrials. AWS announced a major deal with Verizon at re: Invent last year, but will try to keep the momentum going once 5G networks come online.
This industry-specific work will span the entire AWS portfolio, but specifically the edge and hybrid cloud efforts where outposts and local zones could see some updates as they see momentum in these key industries. Also, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more vertical machine learning products, like anti-fraud for financial services and various medical applications announced last year.
Regarding major product announcements, AWS is expected to expand its multicloud management toolset to allow customers to manage their workloads in competing clouds, those with AWS and on-premises. An October report from The Information suggests that such a product be announced at re: Invent. AWS did not dispute the validity of the claims at InfoWorld’s request.
AWS has long tried to convince the market that companies should move all of their workloads to the public cloud – ideally theirs – but has since enabled more hybrid cloud options to run cloud-like workloads on on-premises or private clouds. Now, given market pressures, it could weaken its stance further.
Whatever is announced, AWS should help compete with products like the Anthos multicloud management platform from Google Cloud, the Azure Arc from Microsoft or the option suite from IBM over the newly acquired Red Hat assets.
At an interesting time, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian recently posted a blog post explaining the values of an “open cloud approach” – one that “ensures operational and technical consistency in public clouds or private data centers as well as an effective management of ensures infrastructure, applications and data throughout the company. ”
McQuire of CCS Insight is less convinced, however. « I’m not sure if Multicloud will necessarily be the headline, » he said.
Instead, he expects AWS to build on its hybrid cloud options like AWS Outposts and Local Zones and further expand its managed container and Kubernetes services. That is, « unless they can demonstrate a skill that clearly outperforms the competition, » he added.
Attendees should also expect announcements regarding Amazon’s work with custom silicon, building on the announcement of an expanded partnership with Arm to design the Graviton2 and a new EC2 Inf1 instance with AWS-owned Inferentia chips designed for Machine learning optimized workloads are now running most of the company’s Alexa workloads.
AWS re: Invent will be particularly difficult to navigate this year, even without having to follow the shuttle schedule. The catalog of meetings is difficult to analyze and there is no clear agenda to follow.
For those concerned about missing out on all of the networking they normally have to do, AWS is setting up numerous virtual lounges. AWS technical experts are also available in these lounges to break down technical presentations and answer questions.
Without some training and certification, AWS re: Invent would not be possible as AWS runs its usual selection of « Jams » and « GameDays » for hands-on learning.
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