Notes from AWS re:invent conference

The AWS re:Invent conference now taking place in Las Vegas has a record 50,000+ attendees. AWS had a 7-year head start in building a public cloud, and intends to hold on to its dominant 33% share of this market. The 2nd biggest cloud provider, Microsoft Azure, has about a 15% share.

A few significant announcements at this re:Invent could impact the future of some companies discussed here. In particular:

  • AWS services will be able to run in any data center by Q4 2019. Yes, you read that right. The company that invented the public cloud will be delivering it on prem as well. This potentially impacts Nutanix and Pivotal, both of which are trying to build cloud-agnostic platforms that operate in hybrid environments.

  • You’ve heard of Lambda, the AWS platform that allows you to build “serverless” apps as event-driven functions (with no need to manage servers)? Well, AWS is open sourcing the code for Firecracker, the virtualization technology that makes Lambda possible. This will encourage developers to build Lambda-like services on non-AWS platforms.

  • DynamoDB, which is AWS’s NoSQL database, now supports atomic (ACID) transactions. So it’s being positioned to compete better with MongoDB.

  • AWS has developed a custom machine learning chip, called Inferentia. This accelerates computations done by Sagemaker, which is Amazon’s machine learning service. So Amazon is getting into Nvidia’s space.

Where does all this put us? I’ve made a list of AWS services below, together with some competitors for each service that have been discussed on this board. In some cases, the competitor is ahead in features and market share (like Okta vs Cognito), but in other cases, AWS is ahead. In many cases, the “competitor” is also an AWS Partner, e.g., VMware. Note that I’ve omitted the other public cloud providers in the Competitors list.


Product                    AWS Service       Competitors
-------                    -----------       ------------
Virtual machine            EC2               VMware, Nutanix
Object storage             S3                ?
Network-attached storage   EBS               VMware, Nutanix
Containerization           ECS/Fargate, EKS  Pivotal
NoSQL Database             DynamoDB          MongoDB
User auth. and SSO         Cognito           Okta
Data warehouse             Redshift          Snowflake
Map reduce / Hadoop        EMR               Hortonworks / Cloudera
Text searching             AWS ElasticSearch ElasticSearch 
Performance monitoring     Cloudwatch        New Relic
Call center service        Amazon Connect    Twilio
Data visualization         AWS Quicksight    Alteryx, Tableau
ETL                        AWS Glue          Talend 
Machine Learning           Sagemaker         Databricks 
IoT                        AWS IoT           ? 

The competitors can continue to succeed if they provide enough differentiation and deliver excellent customer service to retain their existing customers. But AWS is a behemoth that bears watching.

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Good stuff. I’m most impressed with the on-prem aspect of AWS. This is a company that is not slowing down.

Thanks for that post rdutt, I had no idea Amazon/AWS was competing with that many of “our” companies in the cloud space…at least I own AMZN, too!

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