Staying up to date in the complex field of business IT trends is hard. Since I felt my knowledge of the AWS (Amazone Web Services) Cloud portfolio was no longer up to date I was happy to have the opportunity to visit the 2016 AWS Global Summit organised on the May 24 in the Netherlands. The number of visitors that this AWS Summit attracted was far beyond my expectations. But since this was my first AWS Summit experience I did not really know what to expect of course.
The day was full of presentations all focussed on what you can do with the products and services AWS is offering now. Also great demos were given to show how easy working with AWS products is. So if you want to get more familiar with the products and use cases possible with AWS visiting an AWS Summit can give you a head start. One of the key notes was given by Werner Vogels. Werner presented an overview of all AWS offerings and invited some well-known Dutch companies on stage to elaborate on how they use AWS for their advantage. So companies like Blendle, Wehkamp and PostNL shared their experience on their AWS Cloud journey.
The key message during this day was that with AWS can you really say goodbye to your own data centre and migrate your complete IT landscape to AWS. In the past security was a common reason to be careful with the use of AWS or Cloud services in general. However nowadays the need for better security is an enabler for using AWS services according to the CTO of AWS, Werner Vogels. So I was a bit surprised that Werner said a couple of times that security and especially data security is the key responsibility of the customers of AWS itself. Is data not complete safe at AWS? Can everyone read my unencrypted data when stored at AWS? But as a security specialist I welcomed the emphasis of having good encryption by AWS and putting a lot of emphasis on security.
AWS promotes very low cost options for new and existing companies to build a complete IT landscape using the AWS Serverless Architecture patterns. According to AWS this is a real enabler for the digital transformation and being ready for new disruptive patterns that will hit every business in the coming years.
This AWS summit was perfectly organized. Plenty of (free) parking spaces, great venue and great lunch and drinks. So I went home with the following observations made:
- AWS one of the largest players on the infrastructure (PAAS) Cloud market today. Anything you can think off is offered by AWS.
- Many innovative companies worldwide are using AWS as platform and benefit from the Cloud price model that is focussed on usage.
- AWS is primary focussing on PAAS services. SAAS services are offered through market places and partners.
- Although AWS is marketing its services as open without vendor lock-in, AWS is has become the closed sourced black box vendor that Microsoft was 15 years ago. The lack of transparency on how the services are engineered and the proprietary code running your valuable business services is a factor to consider. AWS is offering OSS software within the services portfolio, but AWS should do far more than just use OSS software to extend their services portfolio. Starting donating significant amounts of revenues to OSS foundations would be a good start. Digital innovation worldwide on infrastructure and software has always gain advantage from producing core products under a FOSS license.
- Traditional IT architects and IT administrators still have a significant role when using AWS services. So AWS trainings and certifications are offered on multiple technical roles. AWS have developed a lot of usage patterns and best practices to get the most of the AWS services in the best way. But the CTO of Amazone, Werver Vogels, emphasized that all customers are completely free on how they use the AWS services.
- Comparing AWS with other CSP (Cloud Service Providers) is hard and difficult. IT Complexity and risks will not disappear when using AWS. So to reduce complexity and not move complexity in the Cloud make use of good expertise to help you with this journey.
And of course the best reason to visit any summit is that you have the opportunity to share and learn in person from what other people do with AWS or are planning to do.