Andy Jassy, Amazon Web Services senior vice president, opened the company's annual user conference with a clarion call for organisations to transform their business using the cloud.
Transformations are happening across virtually every industry that are built on top of the cloud. These include AirBnB for hotels, Spotify to music, and Dropbox for consumer storage; all of which were built on top of the cloud of AWS.
"As an enterprise you don't have the option to be slow anymore, if you want to be competitive long term. Otherwise you fall into a death spiral and ultimately lead to extinction," said Jassy at the AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas.
The conference, now on its third year, was attended by 13,500 customers and partners across the globe and another 50,000 watching it through live streaming.
He says AWS has been growing dramatically, with a million customers using AWS in every imaginable business segment and company size. Their customers range from startups like Pinterest, Dropbox, and Spotify to large customers in finance and government, among these are Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
According to Jassy, their customers include 900 government agencies across the world, including the US Navy, NASA, and 3400 academic institutions. At the same time, he says, AWS has a large and vibrant ecosystem of partners helping customers move to the cloud.
With 40 per cent growth year on year, AWS is the largest multibillion enterprise IT company in the world. The main drivers for cloud are agility and innovation, he says. But the cloud is also about how fast an organisation can deploy servers, if it wants to do something new. In the "old world", a term he uses throughout the presentation to refer to on-premise technology, it would take take 10 to 18 weeks, which would be "demoralising" for staff. With cloud, you could have thousands of servers in minutes. "You can from idea to launch in record time. The staff know if they have an idea, it is worth it, because they have a chance to try it, see if it works, and expands it."
More and more companies are moving workloads in large amounts - or their entire data centres - to AWS and the cloud.
Companies of every size are deploying new applications by default to the cloud, he states. Large companies, meanwhile, are trying to figure out how to migrate their applications as fast as possible to the cloud.
In contrast, in the old world, these companies would spend millions for "expensive inflexible slow moving infrastructure that is frozen in time.
"The cloud is becoming the new normal," Jassy says. "The new normal companies have this really large, robust, fully featured technology platforms from AWS at their fingertips to get ideas to launch as fast as possible."
The pace of innovation is accelerating at AWS, and allowing customers to do things that they dream and talk about.
In 2012, AWS launched 159 services, and 280 in 2013. As of this week, it has launched 442 services, and is said to be on their way to launching up to 500 functionalities.
"It is just a fraction of things that are going on right now."
He cites the impact of the announcement that the Central Intelligence Agency has chosen to work with AWS.
"A lot of customers had stated that if it is secure enough for the CIA to use, it is probably secure enough for them too. That has completely changed a lot of these conversations."
Some AWS customers came on stage to talk about their experiences.
One of them is Joe Inzerillo, CTO of Major League Baseball, who says they are bringing the sport to the digital age using AWS platforms.
Consumer behavior is changing and are going more online and mobile. Their preferences are also changing with customers watching the games on their iPads, rather than big television screens.
He shares that the most exciting work he has done in his ICT career is the Statcast that is powered by AWS. Statcase objectively and accurately measures the position of every player, the umpires, and the ball in near real time.
He says each season - with 2430 games -- produces 17 petabytes of raw data. This information is captured and put into the Amazon system for real time analytics.
Jeroen Tas, CEO, informatics solutions and services at Philips, says they are capturing patient data and interpreting these in real time. The data involved is massive, as they involve digital scans and genome sequences.
"We are creating the Philips HealthSuite digital platform, and AWS helps us to stay secure, scalable, and adaptable."
"We are aiming to reinvent the health of billions of people with support of AWS."
Partners and pioneers
Jassy says the cloud is the biggest technology shift in our lifetime, and involves a change management process in enterprises.
"If I look at the difference between enterprises that moved quickly and successfully to the cloud, and those that have moved slower, a lot of it is not technology but people," he states.
He says leaders have to decide why they want to do this, and not tolerate being blocked. They will not boil the ocean, but pick a bunch of workloads and move, because it is inexpensive to use AWS. It is easy for them to get the experience doing it, and that starts the cycle.
"Everything we do starts with the customers, all strategies and tactics go back from there," Jassy avers. "Most technology companies are competitor focused."
He says AWS is working towards becoming a trusted advisor to the business, providing automated cost optimisation and advice.
According to Jassy, AWS has sent 2.6 million of those notifications to customers and saved them $350 milliion dollars.
"We don't want to make money from you if you are not getting value out of it. We are trying to build a business that will outlast all of us in this room."
Partnerships in the new normal
During the keynote, Jassy announces the launch of AWS services and partnerships.
One of these is the Amazon Aurora or "new dawn", which is a commercial grade database that is five times better than standard MySQL, he says.
Amazon Aurora is a MySQL-compatible database engine for Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) that combines the speed and availability of high-end commercial databases, with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases. Its availability is as good or better than commercial databases or high-end SANs, superior scalability and security, at one-tenth the cost of high-end commercial database offerings. With no upfront costs or commitments required, customers pay a simple hourly charge for each Amazon Aurora database instance they use, and Amazon Aurora can automatically scale storage capacity with no downtime or performance degradation.
Jassy also announces three new services to make it easier for enterprises to maintain security, governance, and compliance of their resources in the AWS Cloud.
AWS Key Management Service is a fully managed service that makes it easy for customers to create and control the encryption keys used to encrypt their data on the AWS Cloud.
AWS Config is a fully managed service that provides customers with full visibility into their AWS resources and associated relationships, lets them audit resource configuration history, and notifies them of resource configuration changes.
AWS Service Catalog allows enterprise administrators to select what AWS resources they want their employees deploying, in what configurations, who has access to each of these options, and then makes them discoverable to their employees via a personalised portal.
Jassy also shares that AWS has significant significantly expanded APN Partner benefits, launched new Managed Service and SaaS Partner Programs, and APN Partner-specific training for its AWS Partner Network (APN) program.
AWS also announces that the AWS Marketplace has grown to more than 1,900 software products that are pre-configured for the AWS Cloud and available across 23 different categories that customers can purchase and launch, many with 1-Click functionality.
Divina Paredes travelled to re:Invent as a guest of AWS.
Send news tips and comments to [email protected]
Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap
Follow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz