Dec. 06, 2018Squadex, Cloud Transformation Consultancy, has attended and participated in AWS re:Invent 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Below is the quick overview of the event, plus the specifics and details of the major announcements delivered this year. Enjoy!


AWS re:Invent 2018 Squadex

AWS re:Invent 2018 is the largest customer and partner annual conference hosted by Amazon Web Services, dedicated specifically to cloud computing.

This year ~53,000 attendees, including AWS practitioners, cloud enthusiasts, ML & Big Data experts, technology providers, and business leaders were present.

In comparison, AWS re:Invent 2017 was attended by 43,000 people. The very first re:Invent event back in 2012 brought together only a few thousand cloud engineers and AWS devotees.

Attendees of AWS re:Invent 2018

AWS re:Invent 2018 lasted for five days, which were packed with keynotes, hackathons, bootcamps, certification lounges, breakout sessions, expos, and more.

An array of deep technical sessions on AWS tools, cloud best practices, application architecture & development, performance optimization, security, and cloud migration were held.

It is worth noting that AWS did a marvelous job of organizing everything — re:Invent venues were located directly in the hotels so that the attendees could participate in as many sessions as possible.

AWS re:Invent 2018 campus

As custom has it, AWS re:Invent 2018 was anchored at the Venetian. The sessions took place across seven hotel and casinos — from the MGM Grand to the Encore.

The Squadex team was honored to attend four major keynotes by:

  1. Andy Jassy, CEO at Amazon Web Services
  2. Peter DeSantis, VP of AWS Global Infrastructure
  3. Terry Wise, VP of Global Alliances Ecosystems, and Channels at AWS
  4. Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon.com

Each keynote was packed with value, and we will be pondering over the insights for a few months to come.

Of course, there were product and service announcements as well. The most important of them are displayed below.

AWS re:Invent 2018 Major Announcements

This year’s re:Invent was kicked off with a series of business stats by Andy Jassy.

As of Q3 2018, Amazon Web Services is a 27B revenue run rate business with a 46% y/y growth rate.  Its reported revenue stays at $2.1B. According to Gartner, AWS controls ~52% of the worldwide cloud market while its closest competitor, Microsoft Azure, having just 13.3%. (GCP’s share is 3.3%.)

Amazon Web Services announced a wide variety of new services and tools — from traditional compute and storage to account management and IoT.

(The full list of product announcement is available here.)

With 18 product categories showcased in total, machine learning, databases, hybrid cloud, and account management were definitely at the focal point of the event.

Andy Jassy reveals Amazon SageMaker updates

Specifically, AWS speakers prioritized new tools and updates of their machine learning ecosystem.

To begin with, AWS announced that its “Machine Learning University” was available to all developers. Every developer can now explore and deep dive into courses that AWS’ own developers take to learn ML & AI for free.

AWS announced a few key improvements around Amazon SageMaker — SageMaker Ground Truth, SageMaker Neo, and SageMaker RL. A text and data extraction tool Amazon Textract and a GPU acceleration tool Amazon Elastic Interference metaphorically made it to the stage as well.

AWS created a new ML category of products for its marketplace. Now, everyone can easily access algorithm and model packages.

AWS Deepracer revealed at AWS re:Invent 2018

And finally, AWS introduced AWS DeepRacer, a 1/18th scale race car driven by reinforcement learning, 3D racing simulator, and a global racing league. Definitely, a fun way to collect data for reinforcement learning purposes. BTW, we pre-ordered a couple of race cars for our office immediately.

Compute received a few pretty important updates, too. AWS released a couple of new instance types and, most importantly, announced AWS Outposts, which allows to bring AWS capabilities to any data center and create efficient hybrid cloud solutions.

AWS Outposts announced at AWS re:Invent 2018

As to Serverless computing, AWS announced the updates of Lambda Layers and revealed a new virtualization technology that makes use of KVM — Amazon Firecracker. The first allows developers to easily inject up to five packages into a given function at runtime while the latter is mainly used for Lambda sandboxing functions.

Amazon Firecracker first revealed

Storage services got a boost as well. AWS updated Amazon S3 service with Intelligent Tiering and added a preview feature called S3 Batch Operations. On top of that, it released file system products — Amazon FSx for Lustre, Amazon FSx for Windows File Server, and the new AWS DataSync.

Several network-related products were previewed. Specifically, AWS showed a global traffic router called AWS Global Accelerator, released the new AWS Transit Gateway service, and announced a service discovery service called AWS CloudMap.

Types of AWS databases revealed at AWS re:Invent 2018

Databases and data analytics announcements were many. AWS released an important update of DynamoDB — added DynamoDB Transactions and introduced DynamoDB On-demand. AWS Lake Formation and ML Insights for Amazon QuickSight were announced, but not previewed. We expect more details about the two to be released in a few months.

There were also a few HPC-oriented announcements. AWS unveiled Elastic Fabric Adapter, a network interface for Amazon EC2 instances used to run HPC apps. It is integrated with the Message Passing Interface that allows scaling thousands of CPU cores. The service is available in preview on AWS EC2 P3dn and C5n instances.

Besides a plethora of services featured above, Amazon Web Services unveiled multiple application-focused services like AWS Control Tower, AWS License Manager, AWS Well-Architected Tool, and AWS Security Hub. There were also a few announcements regarding IoT, security, and networking.

The re:Play Party

The re:Play Party is a legendary event. If there were no re:Invent that year, AWS should have thrown re:Play just for the sake of having a good time.

AWS re:Invent 2018 re:Play Party

The party is really geek-friendly. There was a ton of video games, comic books, board games, figurines, and more. Of course, there was a lot of food and drink, too.

However, the most amazing thing about the re:Play Party is the sheer scale of it. It is safe to say that most people have never attended a party so huge and colossal.

Every year, AWS invites feature musical guests to perform at the party. The rumor is that Werner Vogels is responsible for selecting the performers. He announces who is going to entertain guests during his keynote the morning of the party. At this year’s re:Play, Jen Lasher, Mija, and Skrillex performed at club stage; Zach Person, Thievery Corporation, and Future Islands — at live stage. All performances were really cool and inspiring.

To make a long story short: If you plan to attend re:Invent in 2019, make sure that you get the full access — in this case, you will be let in to have some fun at the re:Play Party.

To Sum It Up

AWS re:Invent 2018 was a truly awesome event. Though getting everything done while visiting major keynotes and tech sessions was by no means easy, we made it.

The value of keynotes, multiple tech- and business-focused sessions, and fun activities is really enormous. AWS re:Invent is truly a place where you can learn something new, network with tech people and entrepreneurs from all over the globe, and have lots of fun.

This year’s re:Invent marked a significant milestone in AWS growth. The company announced multiple products that pretty much ensure its leading role on the cloud market for years to come. And though it is hard to imagine what’s next, AWS will most likely continue to rapidly dig into Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Data.

We are already looking forward to attending AWS re:Invent in 2019. And what about you?