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2017 AWS Re:Invent Recap: The evolution of innovation in the cloud

Sol Cates
Sol Cates | VP of Technical Strategy, CTO Office More About This Author >

A couple weeks ago I attended yet another successful AWS Re:Invent conference. For those of you that don’t already know, AWS Re:Invent is Amazon Web Services premier cloud conference for customers, partners, and industry professionals. There was a noticeable increase in attendance at this year’s show, and keynote presentations from AWS’ CEO Andy Jassy and’s VP & CTO Werner Vogels did not disappoint.

Many topics were discussed at the conference, but there were two major themes this year that stood out to me.

2017 AWS Re:Invent Recap: The evolution of innovation in the cloud

#1: A shift in how people are transferring workloads to cloud

In the past, organizations have focused heavily on getting old applications to behave the same way in a new environment, such as the cloud. As a result, a lot of workloads were being shifted to the cloud through virtual machines (VMs), applications and DevOps.

At this year’s AWS conference, organizations and attendees were focusing on two new approaches to cloud migration: microservices, such as containers, and serverless, which are much more aligned with cloud vendors’ recommended best practices. These new approaches enable organizations to simply deploy their workload or applications by stitching things together, rather than maintaining infrastructure.

The conference not only demonstrated a change in how people are bringing their workloads to the cloud, but also how applications are being developed for the cloud. Rather than trying to maintain systems and servers that are volatile and costly, many organizations are beginning to use frameworks that allow systems to become more nimble.

With these new approaches, we are seeing more applications that are self-healing, portable and horizontally/dynamically scalable – all the desirable traits for a proper next-generation application. But, to achieve that, organizations must dramatically change how they develop their applications.

#2: An increased security presence

Another theme I noticed at Re:Invent was a significant increase in security presence compared to last year’s show.

Although there was no individual security topic that stole the show, there was a lot of talk around making cloud migration more acceptable to enterprises and conversations around the tools that enterprises need to be successful. We saw everything from monitoring what’s happening in the cloud, to making sure organizations are using cloud in a secure way and training employees to do it correctly.

As I mentioned, security was not nearly as prevalent of a topic at last year’s show. A year ago, the story being told was very disjointed, but now there seems to be common theme of helping customers use cloud applications securely and teaching organizations how to deploy cloud security.

The transition from a fractured story to a more unified message is not unique to the cloud. With every innovation that comes along, there are early adopters that jump on it first and in doing so, take the risk of not being properly secured. Many of these early-cloud-adopting organizations have been struggling for the last five to 10 years to figure out how to secure the cloud. Fortunately, we are now seeing a pivot, and security is finally catching up.

Now, organizations are partnering with vendors and technology within the ecosystem that are allowing them to deploy more cloud services in a secure way. Additionally, vendors are able to answer questions surrounding multi-cloud and moving from on-premises to the cloud.

I’m glad to see that security techniques are evolving and becoming more front-and-center on cloud provider platforms. As buyers become more conscious of what they can and can’t do, there is a lot of pressure on providers to do the right thing or find ways to help them meet there needs. To me, it seems as though providers are taking a step in the right direction.

All in all, the 2017 AWS Re:Invent conference demonstrated that the innovation we previously experienced with cloud adoption is becoming the norm with better security in place. Next year will be an interesting time for security, and I am excited to see what 2018’s show will bring.