Our Recap of AWS re:Invent 2018

Who else had as much fun as we did at re:Invent 2018? I hope everyone is now home, rested, and going through everything they’ve learned while at the show – I know I learned a ton! The best part of being at a conference like re:Invent is hearing firsthand from practitioners how they are using technology to solve their business challenges. I also find it equally important to dig a bit and find out what’s not working and what they wish they could be doing even better than they are. After all, this is where the next exciting tech opportunity might lie.

While on the expo floor I had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of attendees about their machine data analytics successes and challenges. Several interesting topics emerged:

  1. Everyone recognizes value in collecting more of their enterprise’s machine data to generate actionable insights for the business
  2. The volume of machine data to be collected continues to grow, especially with microservices-based apps and IoT devices
  3. Many teams, from DevOps to security, want a solution that’s easy to use and scale, but I found that most report they need to throw more people and money at their existing solutions to meet the business’s needs
  4. Businesses without an overarching data strategy tend to end up with many disparate data lakes, log management tools, multiple vendors, and upset end-users
  5. ML capabilities are now table stakes for analytics platforms – this can’t be an afterthought or bolt-on any longer
  6. Managers want to enable more users to gain value from all their machine data, but due to clunky UIs, complex query languages, and confusing terminology, broader adoption is hard.

From this I see three major trends shaping this dynamic industry.

  1. Offer value, not a service. That’s the lesson of re:Invent announcements: data has value, and you know better than anyone else what the value of your data is – so equip yourself to extract it.
  2. Large-scale disruption happens over a large time scale. Focus on your business’s value, and you will be positioned to manage your way through disruption.
  3. Amazon’s move into open source with Firecracker (serverless, which Amazon describes as “…a new virtualization technology that makes use of KVM…”) is interesting, especially in light of recent changes to licensing from commercial OSS providers. This may be the announcement to watch most closely.

I encourage you to keep reading and learning, like I am, now that re:Invent 2018 is over. Now’s the time to take the next step towards improving your business, based on all the cool new tech out there.