AWS re:Invent Conference Welcomes Back Crowds

Over 27,000 attendees and members of the press (including Silicon) attend Amazon Web Services worldwide event in Las Vegas this week

Las Vegas has once again played host to a gathering of tech professionals in the flesh, as the AWS re:Invent Conference comes to an end on Thursday 2 December.

Last year’s event took place virtually due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but this year Silicon has physically attended the conference, along with 27,000 attendees, despite growing worries over the Omicron variant.

Attendees are required to be vaccinated and wear masks, and the fact that the event took place at all, signals a welcome return to some form of normality, despite ongoing Coronavirus concerns.

AWS re:Invent 2021

AWS re:Invent conference

Of course, the main reason for face-to-face events such as this is to facilitate contact and communication on a personal basis.

And in Silicon’s case, mask-to-mask interviews with leading spokespeople for the company and its partners, which under normal conditions would have been difficult to manage remotely.

Attendees meanwhile have carried out business and improved relationships with partners and customers, whilst keeping abreast of the latest technical developments.

Organisers of the event did not provide any data on the volume of business that AWS and its partners can close in a conference such as this.

However face-to-face meetings and relationship building is almost certainly the main reason the conference is now in its tenth edition, which also coincides with the 15th anniversary of Amazon Web Services.

Keynote speech

The keynote of the conference was provided by Adam Selipsky himself.

As a reminder, Selipsky replaced former AWS CEO Andy Jassy, who took over as Amazon’s CEO when Jeff Bezos stepped down in July from the management role of the e-commerce and cloud giant.

During his keynote, Selipsky did a quick review of innovations since the founding of Amazon way back in the 1990s.

Want to know more about the history of Amazon? Read Silicon UK’s Tales in Tech History.

Amazon of course started life as a bookseller, and few people were betting on a new technology called “public cloud services”, Selipsky noted.

AWS CEO Adam Selipsky

“What did both businesses have in common? Nothing,” admitted Selipsky.

But time proved the reason for Amazon Web Services, he said, which has outperformed the parent company in profitability (not in billing). Perhaps this was one of the main reasons why Jassy was been chosen to replace Bezos earlier this year.

Selipsky said it has been 15 years of continuous innovation in a market that has revolutionised the technology industry as we knew it: 15 years in which AWS has not limited itself to the e-commerce Amazon platform, but from that base, has created a portfolio of cloud services.

These cloud services ranges from IT infrastructure (computing, storage, networks) to software (artificial intelligence, databases, business analytics …), in addition to the pay-per-use model.

Selipsky said that people just have to look at other IT manufacturers, who have been adopting Everything as a Service, to see the success of public cloud services.

Of course, traditional licenses for software, servers, networks and storage systems are still being sold, noted Selipsky, but the market is heading towards an XaaS (Everything as a Service) model that will soon leave the traditional model relegated to a residual option.

Selipsky said it is also true that not everything is reduced to adopting the public cloud, but that the hybrid and multicloud cloud is being imposed to respond to the needs of each company.

That said, the XaaS model has already become the predominant business model, regardless of the place where data is hosted and business applications run.

Selipsky also said that AWS has also transformed the relationship between manufacturers and partners – from wholesalers to distributors, through to integrators and IT consultants – a relationship on which their success or failure depends directly.

This is shown as AWS currently has a network of more than 100,000 partners.

Partnership focus

The first day of the AWS re:Invent conference was dedicated to Amazon Web Services partners, with the following message: The supplier must support the transformation journey of its partners in increasingly complex projects.

The theory is that gone are the days when AWS services were used for projects in development.

The scalability, elasticity, reliability and performance offered by the more than 200 AWS services available means that more and more companies migrate (partially or totally) their applications and data to the public cloud.

This means that manufacturers who initially focused on the private cloud such as VMware, NetApp and Red Hat, already offer services and solutions on AWS, but many others have also decided to make the leap to the public cloud or have directly developed new native solutions.

While the AWS re:Invent conference brought together 27,000 in-person professionals in Las Vegas, it also achieved half a million online registrations.

AWS covered a number large-scale migration projects such as those carried out by clients such as Nasdaq, Goldman Sachs, Gilead, United Airlines or Adidas, among others.

It also highlighted that only a few years ago, no one would have bet on seeing financial, insurance or banking services run in the AWS public cloud, but today they are a now reality.

And, according to the statements Silicon has heard during the congress, these complex migrations have been a resounding success.

Mainframe migration?

Projects such as these are the result of initiatives such as AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP), established in 2017, and which has already seen hundreds of migrations thanks to its partners, including large (and complex) developments based on SAP.

As part of this evolution, AWS is focusing on one of the platforms that has been one of the most stubborn technology platforms: namely the mainframe.

Silicon will cover this in detail in future articles of the conference, since it deserves special attention, but will also discuss the AWS Mainframe Modernisation program.

This is where AWS intends to attract those mission-critical processes that, for its nature (complexity, scheduling, availability, privacy) has been maintained on the traditional IBM platform.