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Takeaways from re:Invent: A Solutions Architect Perspective

AWS re:Invent is the biggest public cloud conference out there, and each year, Andy Jassy’s keynote sets the tone for trends that we can expect to see as we look ahead. I attended AWS re:Invent both in 2018 and 2019, and while there this year, I kept noticing how much of Jassy’s focus in the 2018 keynote really set the tone for what we saw in 2019.

To be more specific, at the 2018 re:Invent keynote, Jassy really focused on “builders,” which are the developers at a startup or a bigger company, and the tools and technologies companies can use to make their jobs easier.

At the 2019 re:Invent Expo Hall, many companies got the message to focus on builders, with an emphasis on no-code deployment, managed CI/CD pipelines, managed ETL services, or Kubernetes.

Kubernetes was the biggest focus I noticed while making my way around the Expo Hall this year. Now that EKS has been out for over a year, the “Kubernetes” buzzword was all over the conference. Many of the companies at the booths focused on improving or managing EKS clusters for customers in AWS, with service offerings ranging from improved security and networking for Kubernetes, or monitoring EKS clusters in more detail than AWS provides out of the box.

In addition to the focus on Kubernetes, AWS re:Invent 2019 really focused on data: both helping people move their data into the cloud, or managing the data that is already in the cloud. This included the big players like DataDog, New Relic, and Splunk, but also a number of small players that had more of a niche focus helping customers with their data needs.

At a higher level, the 2019 re:Invent keynote differed significantly from the 2018 keynote in the sense that AWS shifted its focus from the “builders” to enterprise customers at large. Startups do not need to be sold on the cloud, because it is way easier for companies starting with nothing to build their infrastructure in AWS rather than on-premises.

My prediction for next year will be that the amount of companies focused on the “Enterprise” will significantly increase, and that this will be reflected in booth graphics and company descriptions throughout the Expo Hall at AWS re:Invent 2020.

Attending re:Invent is always a rewarding experience, as it is a great opportunity to meet and network with thousands of other like-minded cloud professionals. When I think back on working at the booth for multiple hours each day, something that always made me smile, amidst the hustle and bustle at the Expo Hall, were people dropping by to talk and then grabbing a few stickers and foam fingers for their kids. The biggest takeaway here? Never underestimate the importance of swag.

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