Along with 50,000 other people, I attended the Amazon Web Services’ re:Invent conference last week in Las Vegas. I was amazed at the energy, fresh thinking, professionalism, collegiality and thoughtfulness of the speakers and attendees. I was also amazed at the distances we walked, as the conference spanned at least 8 hotels along the Las Vegas Strip. One of my colleagues from Opus Interactive, a business partner of Corios, walked 16 miles in one day!
Like several other large tech conferences, AWS re:Invent included product announcements, inspiring speakers, light shows, and more than a few sponsored parties; though I have to admit I was in bed every night by 10pm, since it was a work week. Throughout the event, I was impressed with the cohesiveness of the AWS executives’ and product specialists’ message. This is similar to our experience working with AWS services: everything ties together, and it just works.
The energy and innovative spirit I encountered was a familiar sensation. It distinctly reminded me of the tech industry back in the 1980’s and 90’s, when computing was moving off the mainframe and on to the PC. We migrated cumbersome (if not enormous) workloads to desktop PCs and Mac’s, and took advantage of the freedom and openness of new ways of developing business solutions. The PC revolution meant that we could apply brand new ways of thinking about data and analytics, which started to include visualization, rapid application development, user interfaces and formal data models. It also meant we could move the place where we worked from the stuffy central office, out to somewhere more comfortable as long as we had a phone line.
Comparing the cloud revolution to the PC revolution, it strikes me that there are some very similar themes that a massively distributed, services-oriented architecture now enables: we can solve problems on an exponential scale; we can reward the innovation of the analyst who has a brilliant idea; we can embed analytics into virtually every data stream with ever-reduced friction.
Here are some important statistics I took away from the executive keynote message of Andy Jassy, the CEO of AWS:
- Despite all the talk about leading-edge data structures, traditional relational data structures are still incredibly important. 80% of all data in the cloud resides in relational databases.
- We are just getting started. Only 10% of enterprise workloads and data have been moved to public clouds.
- The growth of cloud architecture adoption is massive. AWS operates an $18 billion annual run rate with an annual growth rate of over 40%.
- Despite all the investment in the cloud platform, there is still a ton of work to be done in order to operate our business processes on the cloud. For every 1 dollar invested in cloud architecture, there are probably 8 more dollars to be invested in design, migration, and operation, not to mention investment poured into new innovation.
- The most important reference cases for cloud adoption thus far are cost savings, but business value statements are soon to emerge. References for IT cost savings in compute and storage in the range of 20%, 30%, 50% are common.
- I mentioned that roughly 50,000 people attended the re:Invent conference at large, but of that universe, I’d roughly estimate that over 4,000 attendees were in the Global Partner Forum alone. Check out this video I took of the keynote session at the MGM Grand hotel.
My personal takeaway is those of us focused on business value need to leverage the exponential computing capabilities of the cloud to solve new problems which will produce bottom line revenue increases and business risk mitigation; through portfolio optimization.