AWS re:Invent: The Keynote

AWS re:Invent is a learning conference. They host a diverse spectrum of companies are startups, mid-size companies and large enterprise.

AWS has been in the market over 7 years. Andy Jassy, SVP of AWS gave a broad overview of the many offerings that Amazon has made available. He said the thing his team is most proud of is the pace at which they’ve been able to roll out new products, with 235 products now on the market, with many more to come in the next 6 weeks. Their client list is pretty ridiculous — Netflix, Microsoft, Adobe, Heroku, LinkedIn, Dropbox, tumblr, Heroku, Oracle, and the list goes on.

He talked at length about their security features, and how they make continuous improvements, obtaining federal and health dept certifications, especially for their largest enterprise customers, which trickle down to benefit all their customers, large and small.

He introduced a new offering in the security space, Cloudtrail, which logs all API calls to a service and store on S3.

Next, he talked about the AWS pricing philosophy, where the more customers they have, the more usage, the more infrastructure they need, which leads to economies of scale that they can then lower prices and get more customers. AWS has had 38 Price Reductions since 2006.

He then tied back into the them of the conference: Reinvention. AWS is able to conduct all sorts of experiments with cloud computing that enterprises can’t do because of their cost. Amazon is able to experiment often and fail without risk, enabling customers to rapidly build products with these services with deep capabilities.

Andy introduced Jeff Smith, the CEO of The Suncorp Group. Jeff spoke about innovation. He said we constantly underestimate our ability to solve problems. The biggest constraint we face is the constraint of our own thoughts. I loved his Charles Kettering slide:

Andy Jassy came back on stage and emphasizing that AWS’s energy is focused on what customers want, which led him to making a new product announcement: Amazon Workspaces, cloud desktop virtualization, with access through the browser of tablets.


Next to the stage was a VP from Dow Jones who talked about how they are migrating much of their operation to AWS. He got the most laughs of the keynote when he made a direct appeal to the developers and designers in the audience to join his team. I think it is almost a rule that every speaker has to have a portion of their talk dedicated to recruiting.

Andy Jassy came back to announce a new AWS mobile app development product called AppStream. AppStream uses EC2 to render and compute the user experience then provide HD video quality application streaming to deliver apps to lower end mobile devices.

Two more speakers spoke about how they use AWS, one to create a platform for the SEC to monitor and review all stock market activity to prevent flash crashes and the other (Atomic Fiction) to create amazing imagery with a AWS-powered render farm for big budget Hollywood movies like Star Trek Into Darkness.

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