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A re:Wind of re:Invent 2017

AWS re:Invent has quickly become the go-to conference for IT business leaders, engineers, and channel partners to learn, network, and gain hands-on experience with AWS experts. Held in Las Vegas and spanning multiple venues, the four-day event is jam-packed with over 1,000 events that include keynotes, breakout sessions, hackathons, bootcamps, and workshops, as well as the massive re:Invent expo floor.

Attracting over 42,000(!!!) attendees from November 27 to December 1, the Sin City tech conference premiered so many new, exciting offerings that it was often hard to keep up with the flurry of AWS announcements and trending topics. We’ve done the dirty work for you though, and AHEAD’s Content Marketing Manager Jenny Allen sat down with eight AHEAD experts on into trends, takeaways, and thoughts on AWS re:Invent 2017. In no particular order, check out their insights below in our “re:Wind of AWS re:Invent 2017”: 

Tim Carr (Technical Architect) on Containers:

“While the shift toward Kubernetes as the platform of choice in the container orchestration market may have taken people by surprise this year, no one should’ve been shocked by Amazon’s focus on containers at re:Invent 2017. Releasing Fargate for Elastic Container Service (ECS), and subsequently announcing Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and Fargate for EKS, there’s no doubt that Amazon’s voice was heard within the container ecosystem. Building on the ‘it should just work’ mantra largely present at this year’s conference, and—more importantly—bringing containers closer to the concept of serverless, Fargate’s goal is to remove the work of knowing exactly how to build and operate container orchestration platforms. I see this as Amazon’s desired end state for containers, eliminating undifferentiated heavy-lifting for their customers’ running containers. I’m excited to see where these announcements and the upcoming releases take each of our customers, since AWS is now poised to provide an answer for nearly every need in the container space.”

Bryan Krausen (Senior Solutions Architect) on Serverless Computing:

“The interest in serverless computing has continued to grow exponentially over the last few years, especially in the enterprise space, and this was a common thread at re:Invent. Organizations are looking to serverless to reduce the costs and time associated with application development, as well as to streamline and automate IT operations. Many businesses who are migrating to the cloud today are looking to re-architect their applications to take advantage of serverless—completely bypassing the usual ‘intermediate step’ of running workloads in AWS EC2. I believe that serverless is the future for applications moving to the cloud, and IT professionals should take note to ensure they remain relevant during this remarkable adoption of cloud services.”

Tom Pohlmann (Chief Marketing Officer) on the Global Partner Summit:

“At times, the event seemed more like an IoT and AI event than one focused on cloud computing—and that’s not a bad thing. It’s just a sign of momentum in the market. As Andy Jassy said onstage, the conversations are shifting from a Dev/Test focus to Internet of Things. Essentially, how do we get intelligence from assets in the field up into the cloud faster and then make use of that data on the return journey? Jassy also feels that the cloud conversation is no longer about ‘if’ you use the cloud, but rather ‘how fast?’ and ‘in what order?’ There was an additional shift in emphasis from years past—this one around business outcomes. The keynotes were more focused on cloud-fueled innovation than cost savings and efficiency gains. This aligns with AHEAD’s whole mantra of: ‘Innovate like a Startup, Operate like an Enterprise.’ Of course, innovation has always been top-of-mind for businesses, but at this year’s re:Invent, there was a focus on transformation like I’d never seen before.”

Dustin O’Brien (Principal Consultant) on Security:

Amazon GuardDuty is a very interesting move by AWS. It brings together machine learning and AWS security expertise to provide a managed security service. It provides an alternative for many network security controls that are met with Layer 7 inspection in the data center.  GuardDuty combined with AWS Config Rules, IAM’s evolution, and Amazon Macie is a huge security win for AWS and sets the stage for a bright security future in the public cloud on AWS.  The question really is, ‘Will security organizations accept something they can’t see into with regard to the signatures and how the detections are created?’ I believe security in AWS and real-time governance is a huge market in the public cloud for 2018, as more migration efforts are occurring.”

Maggie DanielsMaggie Daniels (Partner Marketing Manager) on the re:Invent Expo:

“Although the re:Invent Expo spanned three full days, the energy level remained at a constant high. For the second year in a row, we sponsored the event alongside AHEAD partners like VMware, ServiceNow, and Cisco, just to name a few. It was a fantastic experience interacting with our current partners (and finally putting faces with the names!), as well as chatting with potential partner additions to our roster. In terms of bells and whistles at the event, the AWS Village was, by far, the coolest part of the show and I got to experience AWS Elemental, Amazon’s virtual reality platform. The booths were also decked out to the nines and it was clear they brought their A-game with swag and giveaways galore. It was standing room-only at our booth at times with our demo of CoPilot, our new managed cloud service that we premiered at the conference. It was really exciting to see how intrigued the visitors were with the offering, which is incredibly promising.”

Pat Hayes

Patrick Hayes (Services Sales Manager) on Customer Pain Points:

“I spoke with countless visitors at the AHEAD booth, but one pain point that consistently arose was cost management. Customers are struggling with the ongoing cost management within their AWS environments. Some folks that stopped by mentioned that they have a ‘tool’ to manage costs, but are struggling with how they integrate a process to monitor, control, and implement the required changes quickly in order to reduce cost. We received a lot of positive feedback on our CoPilot managed cloud service that centers around creating those controls, as well as providing a regular support cadence to address these mission-critical cost issues. Another hot topic was security and our new partner, Signal Sciences. One particular organization was interested in using Signal Sciences to embed WAF in their application deployment pipeline to reduce the risk of security being bypassed. Their main challenge was creating consistency across their organization from a security perspective since some development teams will go around security controls due to blocking and performance issues—a challenge that Signal Sciences’ offering addresses.”

Tim Curless (Senior Technical Architect) on DevOps:

“I attended quite a few fascinating DevOps sessions at re:Invent, but it was conversations with customers that stood out most to me. We’re getting a lot of inquiries regarding metrics around DevOps. For instance, users are interested in the ability to measure lead time for changes, release frequency, the amount of time to restore a failed service, and the rate of failure for pushing changes into dev, test, and prod. A related takeaway from the session, “DEV345: Tools Won’t Fix Your Broken DevOps,” that I found particularly interesting was that the firms with high-performing DevOps/IT organizations were twice as likely to exceed their profitability, market share, and productivity goals, which is groundbreaking and very telling.”

Nick Frank (Practice Lead) on Desktop and Application Streaming:

“The end-user computing space at AWS has been traditionally focused on Amazon WorkSpaces until re:Invent 2016, when they announced Amazon AppStream 2.0. Over the past year, product management teams for both services have listened to customer feedback and have executed on an impressive roadmap. While this year’s keynote didn’t highlight any Amazon WorkSpaces or AppStream 2.0 updates, there have been significant updates in both solutions with a large growth in customer interest around the offerings. The general idea—which I have shared with my customers repeatedly—is that user desktops and front-end applications should live near backend data center workloads. This holds true now more than ever and enterprises looking to migrate application workloads to AWS need to ensure they have a desktop and application strategy that bridges the gap of security, governance, and risk management.”


Curious to learn more about migrating to the public cloud, as well as our CoPilot managed cloud service mentioned above? Check out our 60-minute webinar below to learn how to avoid key pitfalls in the cloud journey, and ultimately unlock more innovation and agility within your organization:

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