Cloud

10 highlights from AWS re:Invent 2015 that cloud experts must know

From new security features to digs on the competition, AWS re:Invent 2015 was a note-worthy event. These are the main points of interest.

AWS senior VP Andy Jassy at AWS re:Invent 2015
Image: Conner Forrest/TechRepublic

AWS re:Invent 2015, the cloud industry's largest event of the year, concluded earlier this month. The conference is where Amazon showcases its cloud platform's new capabilities. With over 20,000 attendees and thousands of partners, AWS re:Invent 2015 was another milestone in the history of AWS.

Here are 10 takeaways from Amazon's flagship event.

1. No price cuts: Amazon did not announce the customary price reductions, indicating the company is getting out of the race to zero. This also shifts the focus of AWS from cost advantage to the value that cloud delivers to customers; this is a welcome sign from the cloud leader.

2. No mention of Rackspace partnership: Rackspace, along with NASA, developed OpenStack as an open source alternative to AWS. During re:Invent, Rackspace made an official announcement that it will support the AWS cloud, but there was no mention of the partnership from Amazon's executives, during the keynote, or in the official AWS blogs. It's ironic the company that was once an aggressive competitor became a partner.

3. Enterprises are getting serious about AWS: By having leaders from Capital One and GE on stage during the keynote, Amazon made an indirect statement that more enterprises are choosing the public cloud platform.

4. Emphasis on enterprise use cases: Amazon is investing in features and services that make it easy for enterprise customers to move to AWS. The new database migration tools and Amazon Snowball are examples of these services.

5. Bringing the expertise of logistics to the cloud: Amazon Snowball is an appliance that eases moving large datasets to AWS. Customers can rent the appliance to populate the data and send it to AWS for ingestion. Amazon has embedded the same concepts that Kindle uses, including e-Ink display and Whispernet. It's also leveraging its expertise in logistics and shipping to manage Snowball.

6. Security took center stage: As Amazon increases its focus on enterprise, it's adding security capabilities to the platform. AWS Web Application Firewall, AWS Config Rules, and Amazon Inspector are the new services that make cloud deployments compliant and secure.

7. IoT is the key focus area: With Internet of Things (IoT) becoming mainstream, Amazon wants a slice of the IoT pie. It acquired 2lemetry, an IoT startup from Denver, CO, which is now integrated with AWS as the IoT platform. AWS IoT has the right ingredients to become the preferred IoT platform of enterprises.

8. A direct attack on competition: Andy Jassy, CVP at AWS, took a straight dig at Oracle in his keynote; he also put up a slide with Larry Ellison's face blurred. This is a sign that AWS is preparing for a direct assault on its competitors.

9. Continues to overlap with partner offerings: Amazon is often criticized for building services that compete with partner offerings, and more examples of this became known at AWS re:Invent 2015. AWS Web Application Firewall competes with a partner called Appcito, which delivers a unified load balancer and web application firewall. AWS Config Rules competes with evident.io, a partner that has a similar offering in the space of cloud security.

10. Endorsement of the microservices trend: Microservices and cloud-native computing are the latest buzzwords among developers. Amazon has endorsed this paradigm by enhancing AWS Lambda and EC2 Container Service. Lambda now supports Python with additional features such as scheduled invocation. EC2 Container Service has become compatible with Docker Compose along with AZ-Aware scheduling and support for the command line interface.

Bonus highlight: Amazon has rebranded Kinesis to Kinesis Streams; the service now supports real-time streaming and analytics through Kinesis Firehose and Kinesis Analytics. It has also ventured into business intelligence domain with Amazon QuickSight. This expands the portfolio of AWS to newer domains and territories.

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About

Janakiram MSV is the Principal Analyst at Janakiram & Associates and a guest faculty member at the International Institute of Information Technology. He is also a Google Qualified Cloud Developer, an Amazon Certified Solution Architect, an Amazon Cer...

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