CEO Andy Jassy gave the keynote speech at AWS re:Invent
CEO Andy Jassy gave the keynote speech at AWS re:Invent

6 Takeaways from CEO Andy Jassy’s AWS re:Invent Keynote

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(By John Foley—background info below)

In the opening keynote to the AWS re:invent conference, CEO Andy Jassy said the expansion of digital capabilities by many companies in response to COVID-19 likely “accelerated cloud adoption by several years.” 

Now, more organizations are shifting from their initial responses—providing tools for employees working from home and developing new ecommerce capabilities, for example—to forward-looking strategies for new ways of working. “Many companies have gone from talking to having a real plan,” Jassy said. 

During the three-hour presentation, Jassy introduced some two dozen new services and capabilities, took a few swipes at competitors Microsoft and Oracle, and offered an upbeat look ahead. “There’s a lot of growth ahead of us,” he said.

For more on AWS’s outlook for 2021, please check out our Cloud Wars Top 10 Special Report

Here are some highlights from Jassy’s keynote: 

  1. We are still in the early days of cloud—but companies will eventually go all cloud. Jassy noted that only 4 percent of global IT spending currently goes to cloud computing, so there’s still tremendous upside. And while not everyone thinks that traditional data centers will disappear, Jassy expects that “the vast majority” of companies will eventually unplug their data centers as they migrate more of their IT workloads to the cloud.
  2. Data volumes are growing into petabytes (PBs) and beyond. For many companies, terabytes (TBs) are still the basic measure of data stores, but we are increasingly seeing data volumes that scale to PBs, which are 1,000 times larger than TBs, and even exabytes, which are 1,000 times larger than that. JP Morgan Chase now manages 450 PBs of data in support of 54 million “active digital customers,” said CIO Lori Beer. JP Morgan Chase uses a hybrid cloud, so not all of that data runs on AWS. But the sheer volume points to the need for solutions that can scale by 10x, 100x, or 1,000X.
  3. Cloud infrastructure is available in ever smaller chunks. At the same time that data stores are getting bigger, the units of computing keep getting smaller. This isn’t entirely surprising—think back to Moore’s Law about the doubling of transistors on a chip—but it has big (albeit microscopic) implications for enterprise IT. Jassy said AWS Lambda customers can now be billed for 1 millisecond of compute, which in aggregate can translate into 70 percent savings. 
  4. AWS continues to innovate and expand in cloud databases. AWS offers 15 purpose-built databases. More than 100,000 customers are using AWS’s Aurora relational database, which Jassy described as “the fastest growing service in the history of AWS.” Across its offerings, more than 350,000 databases have been migrated to AWS (a small fraction of all the databases deployed in business), and Jassy announced another way to do that: a service (in preview) called Babelfish to migrate SQL Server applications to Aurora PostgreSQL. 
  5. AWS has an answer to manufacturing equipment failures. The tech industry has long tried to help the manufacturing industry solve a challenging and costly issue—predicting when equipment (i.e. generators, wind turbines) might fail, so corrective action can be taken. AWS announced two services —Amazon Monitron and Amazon Lookout for Equipment—that use machine data to predict when gear is in need of preventive maintenance. It’s one of several AWS announcements targeted at vertical industries.
  6. AWS new hybrid cloud server is the size of a pizza box. AWS is expanding its hybrid cloud offerings to help customers bridge the gap between on-premises environments and its public cloud. AWS announced two smaller versions of AWS Outposts (introduced two years ago), which are essentially the AWS cloud in a box for those who want to run AWS on-premises. You get the same hardware, software, tools, and APIs that AWS uses smooshed down to one-and-three-quarters inches. 


AWS re:Invent runs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 18. AWS expects 500,000 people to join the virtual event, which features more than 500 sessions, over the next three weeks.


Want to know what the competitive landscape looks like for AWS in the year ahead? Read the Cloud Wars Top 10 Special Report.

About the author: John Foley is an independent technology writer and analyst who previously worked at Oracle, IBM, and MongoDB. You can reach him at [email protected] and on Twitter: @jfoley09.


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