Three weeks ago, Amazon Web Services ran their annual love-fest in Las Vegas and it was quite a remarkable week. On arrival, attendees (all 32,000+ of them) were given a shiny new Alexa Echo Dot, Amazon’s latest entrant into the growing market for voice controlled, AI-based smart assistants, a segment that includes Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana.
Amazon have now made it clear that they’re taking Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning very seriously, with four brand new, developer-focussed AI related services (Polly, Rekognition, Lex and MXNet) announced during the week. The free Alexa Echo Dots yet another incentive for developers to start building apps that make use of (and ultimately contribute to) Amazon’s efforts in this space.
The week was brought to a close with a spectacular party, headlined by Martin Garrix, named the world’s top DJ in 2016 by djmag.com. Goes to show that some of the worlds biggest geeks and code cutters are also capable of cutting some serious rug:
While the potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are both exciting and somewhat scary, there was plenty more to consider over the course of the week with a bevy of announcements such as new server instance types, enhanced support and orchestration for containers (Blox), low cost, simple to launch virtual servers from $5 per month (Lightsail), free of charge DDoS protection (AWS Shield), application performance monitoring and debugging (X-Ray), a new ”Internet of Things” (IoT) play to help developers build and manage smart, connected devices (Greengrass) and a fully managed continuous integration (CI) service (CodeBuild) that neatly rounds off Amazon’s DevOps-friendly suite of CI/CD services — and that’s just scratching the surface.
There’s a summary of the announcements here: https://aws.amazon.com/new/reinvent/
With videos of the sessions here: https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazonWebServices
For me, the main takeaway was that the pace of technology-enabled change is continuing to accelerate and Amazon Web Services is very likely to be at the heart of it.
AWS is a sales and innovation machine, continuing to put distance between themselves and their competitors — their sheer pace of innovation would appear almost impossible to compete with. The public clouds of Microsoft, IBM and Google would need years to catch up and that’s assuming AWS were sporting enough to stand still for that long.
In 2016, AWS announced around 1000 new services and updates – simply incredible if you’re company whose product and development teams are making use of the platform, and quite simply terrifying if you’re just about anyone else. As AWS continue their march up the value chain, those in the business of infrastructure services, monitoring, BI, data analytics, CI/CD developer tools, network security and even artificial intelligence (AI) all have very good reason to be concerned.
Interestingly, AWS reported an annual revenue run rate of nearly $13 billion with an incredible growth rate of 55% this past year, while the traditional big IT vendors – VMware, HP, Oracle, Cisco, Dell, EMC and IBM have gone backwards — dropping from a collective $221 billion revenue in 2012, to $206 billion in 2016.
Momentum for the public cloud keeps growing, and it’s easy to see why.
AWS is without doubt the leader in the field, and according to Andy Jassy (AWS CEO and pleasingly the very same guy who first presented Jeff Bezos with the AWS business plan) they are the fastest growing, US$1 billion-plus technology company ever, with Gartner estimating in 2015 that AWS is more than ten times the size of the next 14 competitors in the public cloud space combined – Microsoft, Google and IBM included.
Just look at these revenue and YOY growth numbers:￼
Source – https://www.statista.com/statistics/250520/forecast-of-amazon-web-services-revenue/
If you’re an application developer looking to win in your market, you would be remiss not to give careful consideration to building your application on top of AWS. Legacy IT infrastructure still has its place, but if your business is looking to the future then the cloud with all its automation and as-a-service goodness is where it’s at.
AWS’ API-driven infrastructure services enable you to take your development processes and application smarts to the next level. Adopting continuous delivery allows your product and development teams to move many orders of magnitude faster than they do today, reducing outages, improving software quality and security. And once your applications are infrastructure aware (aka “cloud native”), they’ll auto-scale seamlessly with the peaks and troughs of customer demand, self-heal when things go wrong and deliver a a great experience to your customers – no matter where they are in the world.
If you’re serious about embiggening your business, you need to embiggen your product and software development capabilities, and you need to do it quickly. Wondering where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck? Where you’ll find the most efficiency gains? AWS looks like a pretty safe bet to me.