Impressions from AWS re:Invent 2020 - Part 2: the cloud is not enough

In the first blog post on the AWS re:Invent 2020 we focused on new announcements related to the AWS cloud platform.

But many announcements were related to deployments outside of the cloud, as well as to partners and clients.

Hardware, software, services - the cloud is not enough

Already in the last few years, AWS has added more and more products to its portfolio that are no longer exclusively provisioned in the AWS Regions, but also in client data centers and edge nodes. E.g., AWS Outposts is targeting on-premises workloads, AWS Local Zones addresses end users and resources in particular geographic areas, and AWS Wavelength targets mobile users and connected devices.

Aim is to provide a seamless experience across the AWS cloud, on-premises data centers and the huge variety of edge infrastructures. In short: AWS technology – including infrastructures, chips, software and services – should be run everywhere.

Installable software: The new AWS IoT SiteWise Edge brings features of AWS IoT SiteWise to the customers’ premises and enables them to collect and process equipment data on-premises for low latency applications that must continue to work even if connection to the cloud is unavailable. And the launch of Amazon ECS Amazon Anywhere (Elastic Container Service) and Amazon EKS Anywhere (Elastic Kubernetes Service) further underlines AWS’ diversification strategy. The new open source distribution EKS Anywhere, an installable software package, works on any infrastructure and offers customers automation tools for Kubernetes. Amazon ECS Anywhere will allow customers to deploy native Amazon ECS tasks in any environment.

All mentioned solutions can also be deployed on AWS Outposts.

On-premises infrastructures: AWS Outposts will be additionally available in two smaller sizes that require less space than the full 42-rack unit AWS Outposts. And each of these smaller versions will allow customers to run AWS services like Amazon EC2, Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS, and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) on-premises.

Already in the last years, the AWS Snow Family was regularly extended by portable edge devices of different sizes and specifications to collect and process data at the edge and migrate data into the cloud.

Managed services for hybrid infrastructures: AWS Managed Services (AMS), including incident, problem, patch, and security management, can now operate AWS workloads hosted on AWS Outposts in data centers, co-location spaces, or on-premises environments. AWS Managed Services usually works with partners to help operate AWS on behalf of customers.

Partners & Marketplace

New additions to the AWS partner program are, e.g., intended to help software vendors on their way to the cloud and enable them to market and sell their specific competencies and specializations. 

And clients that source software solutions via the AWS Marketplace should directly find a suitable partner for their implementation. An interesting move in the partner space: AWS Marketplace now also offers customers the option of purchasing professional services. Customers can purchase cloud-related professional services from vendors such as Presidio or Computacenter via the Marketplace with a standardized contract. They will also be billed via the AWS Marketplace. These partners now have the ability to market services such as assessments, integration and support services, or training through a new channel that is, according to AWS, used by about 300,000 active customers.

Going vertical

AWS also pursues a further verticalization together with its partner ecosystem. Besides “Mainframe Migration”, new competency areas that are being added to the AWS Competency Program comprise Travel and Hospitality, Energy and Public Safety and Disaster Response. AWS for Industrial is an initiative featuring new and existing services and solutions from AWS and Partners built specifically for developers, engineers and operators at industrial companies.

Client case studies

As usual, many clients shared how they work with AWS. Tech and media companies are still among the heavy cloud users. Companies such as video communications provider Zoom, or Asian fashion ecommerce platform Pomelo Fashion announced to have selected AWS as their preferred cloud provider. Twitter will use AWS to deliver Twitter timelines. ViacomCBS selected AWS as the preferred cloud provider for its global broadcast media operations. And supersonic airplane developer Boom highlighted how the cloud enables startups to do things that were only possible for large enterprises or governments in the past.

But large-scale cloud migrations, including increasingly critical workloads, or even the complete replacement of data centers, is becoming a serious consideration for a growing number of established companies, as recent announcements confirm:

Star Alliance is working with Tata Consultancy Services to migrate all of its data, platforms, and business-critical applications to AWS and close its data centers. Insurer Nationwide is moving business critical workloads to AWS, including more than 850 business and customer-facing applications, such as claims, personal and commercial insurance policy systems, as well as their website. As part of a wide-ranging strategic collaboration, BMW Group will migrate data from business and operations units in more than 100 countries to AWS. Globe Telecom, the largest mobile network operator in the Philippines, has moved the majority of its technology infrastructure to AWS. Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) is migrating its content library and SAP workloads to AWS. Siemens Smart Infrastructure is moving its SAP infrastructure to AWS. Itau Unibanco, Latin America's largest bank, will migrate its core banking platforms, call center solutions, online, and mobile banking applications to AWS. Thomson Reuters has completed a large-scale migration to AWS and is expanding its relationship by leveraging services like analytics, database, containers, serverless, storage, machine learning, and security.


Impressions from AWS re:Invent 2020 - Part 1: "the right tools for the right job”