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Andy Jassy Keynote At AWS re:Invent 2018

[Cue the music] CEO of AWS, Andy Jassy, rocked the keynote stage yesterday, accompanied by the AWS house band. After hearing how AWS is continuing to invest in their global network at Monday Night Live, attendees were on the edge of their seats waiting to hear this year’s announcements. Jassy leveraged his band to introduce five sentiments that AWS users, known as ‘Builders’, are feeling. The central theme of the keynote was ‘What do Builders want’, read on to find out what new services AWS is releasing to give Builders the tools they want.

AWS is dominating the Cloud Wars

The AWS House Band introduced the first sentiment by playing, “I want it all, and I want it now,” essentially meaning that having the right tool for the right job unleashes builders to build anything they could imagine. Jassy used the first sentiment to assert AWS’ market dominance. He stated that other cloud providers are just checking the box when they release new services and that it is important to dig into the actual offering. He shared how AWS has 3x more encryption then the next cloud provider, how Amazon Key Management Service integrates with 52 services which is 4x the next closest provider, Amazon S3 is by far the largest and most popular object store. He then introduced a new storage class called Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive designed for long-term data archival, taking tape out of the picture. To make it even better, this storage class is only a dollar per terabyte per month. Other notable announcements included Amazon FSX for Windows File Server, which makes it easy to run Windows applications on the cloud, and Amazon FSx for Lustre which allows you to create and access a file system in minutes with sub-millisecond performance. Guardian rounded out this topic by sharing their ‘Production First’ approach to cloud adoption and how they recently shut down their last data center! The main takeaway from the first sentiment is that users want the most capable provider who can give them the services they want at unparalleled speed.

Security and compliance is a priority

You can’t have a keynote without mentioning security and compliance, right? The second sentiment focused on three new enhancements that are helping address challenges with security and compliance. First, AWS Control Tower was announced which helps you set up a multi-account environment or landing zone by using best practice blueprints. Next, he introduced AWS Security Hub, which despite not garnering much applause from the audience, provides customizable insights into security issues within and across your AWS accounts. Lastly, Jassy announced a new service to help you build a secure data lake in a few days, known as AWS Lake Formation.

#databasefreedom, enough said

The third sentiment for Builders is database freedom. Jassy shared that Amazon Aurora continues to be the fastest growing service in the history of AWS, which means users will never again have to rely on ‘Old Guard’ databases. There were also several announcements, with the first being DynamoDB Read/Write Capacity On Demand so Builders don’t have to worry about capacity planning. Next was Amazon Timestream, which is a fully managed time-series database that provides analytics for trillions of events per day and is 1,000x faster than a relational database. Jassy then decided to discuss Blockchain, which has been a hot topic this year. He shared two customer use cases which included companies in verticals such as healthcare and manufacturing needing ledgers with centralized trust, and how companies in the retail business or financial institutions need transactions with decentralized trust. Then came the announcement of Amazon Quantum Ledger Database which allows you to maintain a verified record of changes to your application data, available in preview. Closely followed by AWS Managed Blockchain which lets you quickly create and manage scalable blockchain networks with a few clicks and manage them with API calls.

A little less conversation, a lot more machine learning

The band played Elvis Presley to kick off the fourth sentiment for Builders. When it comes to more action, AWS users are looking for advancements in Machine Learning. Jassy noted that the one constant in Machine Learning is change, and boy did he have some exciting news to share. He started by highlighting announcements from Monday Night Live such as the P3dn Instances, which are now the most powerful GPU instances with 3x faster network throughput. The P3dn Instances tied into the ability to speed training times for TensorFlow, an AWS partner and framework for machine learning. With the P3dn Instances, training time was cut in half, from thirty minutes to fourteen minutes. Jassy then transitioned to focusing on the growth of Amazon SageMaker.

In just one year, Amazon SageMaker has been changing the world as organizations like GE Healthcare and Formula 1 use it to innovate in their respective industries. Formula 1, for example, has developed F1 Insights powered by AWS to analyze the one million data points that occur on the race track and provide predictions. One of the many machine learning announcements from the morning included the general availability of Amazon SageMaker Ground Truth which automates the annotation of training data and reduces data labeling costs by up to 70%. Jassy then announced the AWS Marketplace for Machine Learning with more than 150 models and algorithms for Amazon SageMaker. By far the highlight of the machine learning sentiment was the introduction of the AWS DeepRacer! The DeepRacer is an autonomous race car built to be the size of a shoebox, and it is driven by reinforcement learning. Dr. Matt Wood, General Manager of Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence, was brought to the stage to announce the AWS DeepRacer League which will run at AWS summits worldwide in 2019, this garnered laughter and excitement from the crowd. A track has been created at the MGM Grand Hotel for AWS re:Invent attendees to try out the AWS DeepRacer. These are just a few of the exciting machine learning announcements that were made during the keynote.

Hybrid cloud is here to stay

Jassy acknowledged that the transition from on-premises to the public cloud can be very challenging and gets harder the longer organizations wait to make the move. The fifth and final sentiment for Builders is that there may always be some data that needs to reside on-premises. To meet this need Jassy invited the CEO of VMware, Pat Gelsinger, to join him on the stage to highlight the partnership of the two companies. As new VMware employees, the CloudHealth team was thrilled to see Pat Gelsinger take the stage and eager, like the rest of the audience, to hear the big announcement. Jassy and Gelsinger announced AWS Outposts, coming in 2019, which allow you to order hardware racks that are designed the same way as the ones AWS uses in their data centers. Builders will have a family of hybrid options on AWS including the option of running VMware Cloud on AWS with AWS Outposts. Both the innovation and close partnership between AWS and VMware present enormous opportunities ahead.  

Stay tuned for more re:Invent 2018 updates, including a special recap on the next keynote session presented by the CTO of, Dr. Werner Vogels.