SingleHop at AWS re:Invent 2017 – Takeaways and Predictions
What do you get when two Amazon Alexa’s talk with one another to orchestrate a DR failover on AWS cloud? Some laughter, some high-fives, but more importantly a crowd of AWS fanatics that are excited about the future of technology and inspired by Amazon’s pace of innovation…
Now that the SingleHop team has returned from re:Invent and had a moment to catch our breath from all the action, we’re recapping our experience, observations, and sprinkling in a few predictions for 2018.
Machines + People= More Productive Future
Given the sheer number of sessions, demos, and sponsors talking about machine learning, AI, and deep learning, it’s clear that this is not a fad, but rather, something we all need to pay closer attention to.
There are generally two camps: Those who believe AI could eventually be destructive and displace people altogether, and the camp that believes it will be a true enabler and drive greater innovation and productivity from the people willing to accept and leverage it.
The SingleHop team is in the second camp. We’ve been automating repetitive tasks with infrastructure for the last 10-plus years, and firmly see machine learning and AI as the next, smarter version of that. That’s why we’re bringing our automation up the stack into the managed services layer and leveraging machine learning to enable a more predictive customer experience.
Lots of tools, software, and features. A lack of expertise to use them.
There was certainly no shortage of new feature announcements from AWS directly, not to mention the jam packed exhibit hall where sponsors and vendors showcased a growing number of software platforms and integrations with AWS. Here are just a handful of the product announcements:
- Amazon MQ
- Amazon Sumerian
- Alexa for Business
- AWS Fargate
- Amazon ECS for Kubernetes (EKS)
- Amazon EC2 M5 Instances
- Amazon EC2 H1 Instances
- New Deployment Options for AWS Lambda Functions
- Amazon Lightsail Load Balancer
- Spread Placement Groups for Amazon EC2
- Launch Templates for Amazon EC2 Instances
- Amazon Time Sync Service
- AWS Lambda Per Function Concurrency/Throttle
- Amazon Neptune
- And many, many more…..
But as we talked to other attendees it became evident that feelings of overwhelm and confusion are only worsening. The promise of many of these technologies is incredible, but the thing that seems to be missing is the know-how to use them effectively to fully recognize the value.
I often use Salesforce.com as an example of this conundrum since most people are familiar with it. While there are hundreds, if not thousands of cool things you can do with Salesforce, either natively or via integrations, most organizations only scratch the surface of 5-10 percent of those capabilities. The reason is that it takes a lot of effort, training, time, and resources to establish wider adoption, implementation, and constant evolution. This is the same thing we’re seeing with AWS and their growing ecosystem of platform partners.
A clear need for consulting, migration, and ongoing management expertise.
Piggy backing off the point above, there’s growing demand for the know-how to help organizations move to and leverage the power of AWS and available integrations and tools. Unfortunately, the talent pool is trying to catch up with the pace of development.. As we see it, there are three options orgs have:
1.) They can try to train their current teams to take on this new way of doing things. The challenge here is that most IT teams are already strapped for time and resources, so asking them to figure out this new language while keeping the current systems running well becomes burdensome, if not impossible.
2.) They can hire new talent…The challenge here is that the talent pool is slim and costly. If you’re lucky enough to find someone who already knows this stuff, they will cost you an arm and a leg.
3.) You can partner with someone who has already built out a team at scale. There a providers, SingleHop being one of them, who have already invested in the staff and tooling to take this work on so organizations can move more quickly and stay focused on their core competencies rather than attempting to also be good at managing services like AWS and others. And because we’re providing these services across many customers, the economics are much more appealing.
Security and compliance front and center
There was also no shortage of discussions covering security and compliance at re:Invent. More organizations are realizing that cloud services can actually offer a stronger security posture than on-premise deployments. The core reasons for this are that, for most orgs, security is designated to someone on the IT team as one of their many responsibilities, which is typically a recipe for a breach. Cloud providers, however, have spent years, millions of dollars, and a lot of R&D time building the team and tools to deliver the highest security standards.
For example, SingleHop partners with leading security provider AlertLogic to deliver best in breed security as a service on top of our standard managed cloud services.
Cost control needs to be taken more seriously
Judging by the number of software vendors offering cost optimization tools, keeping AWS (and Azure) costs in check is a real issue that doesn’t seem to be getting any easier for organizations to handle on their own. Reserved Instance purchases (RIs), Convertible RIs, “wrongsizing” resources, zombie servers – there’s a very long list of all the ways your costs can get out of control really quickly.
We stopped by for a demo of Cloudability, who cited an average 30-35 percent cost savings from customers who use their software to manage AWS resources. Think about that for a moment. Imagine you’re currently spending $50,000/mo in AWS. That’s $600,000 annually. Take 35 percent off of that and you just saved your organization $210,000/year! If your reaction is anything like most of the customers we speak with, it’s ‘wow’.
Now that we’ve covered our observations while attending re:Invent, let’s jump into some predictions for the year ahead.
What’s Next for AWS Cloud Computing in 2018?
AWS will put greater emphasis on their partner ecosystem. More training, enablement, tools, and assistance in 2018 for the simple fact that AWS is moving too quickly to be great at all things needed to leverage the power of their platform. I covered some of this above, and the expectation for 2018 is that the focus from AWS on their partnership experience changes in a positive fashion.
Multicloud and hybrid adoption continues on an upward trend. According to Markets and Markets research, “The hybrid cloud market is estimated to grow from USD 33.28 Billion in 2016 to USD 91.74 Billion by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.5% during the forecast period.”Even with AWS’s 42% YoY growth on their $18B annual run rate business, the need for multicloud and hybrid deployments will continue to gain steam for several years to come. Nine out of 10 people I spoke with at re:Invent said they were using at least three clouds, with AWS, Azure, and on-prem deployments as the most commonly cited. There was also a good mix of responses that included third party managed services.
The reason these orgs are not going all in on AWS is because there’s yet to be a one-size-fits-all model. Whether that’s because the applications are yet designed to work on AWS, lack of feature availability, performance issues, or economics, there are still many reasons not to go all in.
Machine learning makes its way into the managed services layer. Okay… I’m cheating a bit on this one because SingleHop is bringing it to fruition. With the anticipated launch of SingleHop AI in Q1 2018, we’re changing the game in managed services. Machine learning is one component of the Software Defined Managed Cloud, enabling a predictive, proactive and transparent managed cloud experience.
That’s all for our recap of AWS re:Invent 2017. If you want to learn more about any of these points or predictions, I’m happy to chat. Or, if you want to learn more about the services SingleHop offers to help you achieve your cloud objectives, just fill out the form below and our team will reach out.
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