Cloud enthusiasts around the globe will be spared the trip to Las Vegas this year, as AWS re:Invent goes virtual (surprise, surprise). Typical advice for navigating this massive annual conference would include things such as, “wear comfortable shoes,” and “be sure to download the event app.” Not this year. You don’t need an app to navigate to your couch (though there is one), and as far as footwear? it's optional.
Attendees will also be spared the ~$2,000 registration fee. This year’s event is totally free, and it spans three weeks (Nov 30 to Dec 18) instead of the typical few days. By the time you finish watching all the product announcements and big-name keynotes, we’ll be a week out from Christmas, when you can relax and digest all the announcements with your fruitcake.
While the forum has changed considerably this year, the content is sure to be as pivotal as ever. AWS has a knack for not just staying relevant, but for forging the path forward. Over a decade ago, when the world transitioned from on-premise data centers to public cloud infrastructure, AWS led the charge. Now, as the world shifts to containerized workloads and adopts new IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS solutions from a variety of providers, we can expect AWS to roll out integrated support faster than you can say “Kubernetes.”
Let me explain.
Five predictions for AWS re:Invent 2020
Prediction one: Expanded integrations
Cloud customers are growing up. When “the kids” first started toying with the cloud, their needs were simple. If AWS could spin up some virtual machines and store their application data, they were happy as a kitten under a leaky cow. But now those kids are grown up, and they’ve grown up in a world where Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the norm. Other providers caught on to the trend, and cloud consumers can now choose from a variety of major IaaS providers including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, and VMware Cloud.
But innovation didn’t stop there. Today’s cloud operators and developers have more complex needs. So for years, innovators at thousands of different companies have been building Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions that continuously make life better for developers, cloud managers, and the companies that rely on their skills. Today, a typical user will employ a dozen or more SaaS solutions in conjunction with AWS for CI/CD, log management, performance management, observability, security, and of course, cloud cost optimization.
AWS recognizes that operating in the cloud today means using solutions and services from numerous providers. That’s why we predict there will be announcements focused on making it easier for third-party tools to connect more seamlessly to the AWS ecosystem. We anticipate that AWS will begin to address managing workloads hosted on other clouds, and perhaps offer ready integrations with additional third-party tools.
Prediction two: Warming up to multicloud
Innovation has changed the game so much that the very definition of "cloud" itself is evolving. Loosely, "cloud" used to mean a piece of hardware or a virtual machine that lived offsite and powered your applications. But the widespread adoption of containers and container orchestrators–like Docker, Apache Mesos, Kubernetes, CoreOS, RedHat Openshift, Rancher, etc.–means modern applications are built and deployed using tools that are not native to the cloud infrastructure provider.
So, when a business talks about operating in the cloud, it's no longer just talking about having its infrastructure on AWS or Azure, etc. Now, when a business is operating in the cloud, it means they're using SaaS and PaaS solutions from any number of providers and running those workloads across multiple providers’ infrastructures.
For this reason, AWS must warm up to the term "multicloud." In the past, AWS has been averse to multicloud, going so far as to forbid even the notion of other IaaS providers' existence. But times, they are a-changin'. Other providers of cloud services are no longer AWS’ strict competition. Instead, the cloud behemoth must work with outsiders, and we anticipate a shift in messaging now that the definition of cloud has expanded to include SaaS and PaaS providers.
Prediction three: AWS Savings Plans update
Since AWS Savings Plans GA’d last year, they’ve been a huge hit with CloudHealth customers. But many AWS customers are still rely on Reserved Instances (RIs) for several reasons. A primary reason is that Savings Plans are not yet available for database services. For example, if your business is using RDS, DynamoDB, Redshift, Elasticsearch, or ElastiCache services, you have to continue purchasing RIs for discounts on them. But we think it's only a matter of time until AWS extends Savings Plans to cover more services, including databases.
And why stop there? While I won’t hold my breath for it at re:Invent, new AWS Savings Plans offerings could be created for Amazon cloud storage services too. Object storage is a rapidly increasing proportion of our customers’ cloud costs, with the median AWS user spending 12.4% of their total bill on object storage, making it the second-highest spend category after compute services. We’d love to see AWS Savings Plans for cloud storage!
Prediction four: New services and instance types
AWS always announces a number of new services at re:Invent. We’re boldly declaring our guess for the number of new services announced this year to be 24. At least ten of them will be serverless computing, at least two will include 5G, and an additional eight will incorporate machine learning. As always, there'll be one wildcard service (looking at you AWS Snowmobile and AWS DeepRacer) and one service that's based on Amazon.com retail technology, like Amazon Fraud Detector.
We’ll get new and more powerful instance types too. After all, would it even be re:Invent without a few new M’s, C’s, R’s, and T’s? Last year EC2 went Nitro, and this year, we’re guessing that three new instance types will crop up, and many of the existing instance types will get upgrades. For a guide to Amazon's existing instance types, see our article here: AWS Instance Types and Comparison.
Prediction five: Some things won't change
Despite the different format, we predict that many things will remain the same for the 9th annual AWS re:Invent conference. CEO Andy Jassy will give a three-hour keynote packed with announcements, customer stories, and jokes. (We may even see the re:Invent house band return!) Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon.com, will wear his favorite band T-shirt while telling us about the latest and greatest technology. Although it’s speculative, an EDM performance may somehow find its way into the conference. And there will be swag. There will always be swag.
Be sure to visit our virtual booth for a product demo that highlights our support for AWS Savings Plans, and CloudHealth Secure State–a solution for mitigating security and compliance risk. You’ll also find information about FlexOrgs–a powerful feature for enterprises to manage and delegate control of their cloud environments, as well as a framework for improving cloud financial management, operations, and security in four phases. Most importantly, don’t miss our digital swag bag giveaway with $150 in AWS Cloud Credits, a complimentary Health Check on your environment, and a FREE 30-day trial of CloudHealth!
Other things to do during re:Invent
Check out the AWS keynotes, including of course, CEO Andy Jassy who will deliver his speech live at 8am PT on Tuesday, December 1st. Peep the agenda, watch AWS leaders speak, follow along on Twitter, and most importantly, register for free.
Expect things to look and feel quite a bit different this year. Vendor booths will be replaced with virtual landing pages, and attendees will forgo the opportunity to rub elbows with 50,000 like-minded individuals. But at the end of it all, you'll still come out with an overwhelming number of new Amazon services to sift through, and renewed inspiration to work at the cutting edge of cloud technology. And isn’t that what re:Invent is really all about?