Jeff Bezos at Amazon Web Services recently stated that more than one million people from organizations of every size use AWS across nearly every industry. They have seen so much success to date – just last month announcing that AWS will be a $10 billion business by the end of 2016. Given this recent achievement, I wanted to take this time to sit down with David Lucky, who manages our close relationship with AWS, to get his take on Amazon’s recent success, as well as his predictions for what the future of the industry has in store.
As a long-time partner of AWS, what do you think their biggest successes have been?
David: Our partnership at AWS covers over a 5-year timeframe so needless to say their success in that time span has been incredible. Much of that success I believe is due to a relentless focus on innovation and customer obsession. A good example of this customer obsession is how they listen to what customers need, and deliver on them. For example, their fairly new database engine – Aurora. In the past, customers have been frustrated with the licensing terms and high costs of traditional database providers but still wanted the performance of an enterprise class database engine. Aurora addressed these seemingly incompatible needs and today, the service has been adopted by customers in large numbers and is AWS’ fastest growing service. As we know, cloud adoption is a journey and to achieve success, having partners that are focused on both innovation and customers is a winning combination. These two guiding principles, among others of course, have led to a scale of operations I don’t think anyone could have predicted five years ago. The amount of innovations all geared around customers has been key to their success.
Looking forward, where do you think AWS is headed – what are you most excited about?
David: There are truly many things to be excited about. When I think of the consumer device, the Amazon Echo, which is a home-based automation and speaker voice recognition system, coupled with the AWS cloud infrastructure behind it, I can’t help but be excited about the possibilities. Developers all over are using the AWS cloud to find new ways to use this service, as well as the Amazon Dash buttons and AWS IoT service – where AWS cloud platforms and consumer-oriented tech have a close relationship. This is providing developers a platform to create unique applications and obtain instant feedback. Creating new voice commands for the Echo using AWS Lambda or new home automation with the Dash and AWS IoT are innovations that are opening up the door to new realms of possibilities. I can’t wait to see what else my Echo will eventually be used for.
Any trends you think will be major focus areas at the upcoming AWS Summits and re:Invent later in the year?
David: In the most recent events we saw a lot of providers being recognized for exceptional customer service and dedication to innovation. These announcements bring to light the fact that AWS’ partner network is stronger than ever and in 2016, it sounds like the emphasis the company is placing on its partners will continue to grow. We saw two themes emerge around the new services announced at re:Invent that partners can take advantage of – reducing the friction with onboarding data to the AWS platform with offerings like Snowball, the RDS Database Migration Service and most recently the launch of the AWS Application Discovery Service. We are also seeing a security and governance theme with the AWS Config Rules, WAF, and Inspector – which last month went GA. I would expect continued innovation in the security space this year. All of these also address adoption of the cloud and reducing that potential friction.
I anticipate we’ll see more trends around tools and processes for automation in everything – this will continue to be a driver as we look to later this year and into next. I would imagine AWS will continue to innovate from their base of automation code for tools including CodeCommit, Code Pipeline and CodeDeply. In the past, we have also seen AWS announce a few products that compete with other marketplace vendors. It will be interesting to see how existing vendors innovate to differentiate themselves. Certainly the specific new products / features are something we expect at every AWS re:Invent and AWS Summit. I don’t want to give away any announcements though – the anticipation is half the fun.
The topic of next generation architectures is gaining popularity – what do you think the industry needs to do in order to get there? Is it a reality today?
David: There are aspects to next generation architectures, particularly the micro service architecture method of developing software through a more modular approach, that require companies to set business goals and establish processes around them. The goals and processes are necessary in order to implement and take advantage of these techniques and systems. The AWS platform including its EC2, API gateway service, containers and Lambda all provide the required toolsets to help enable this transformation for companies. However, there are key fundamental steps, including clear goals and policies, companies need to take in order to get there. And it will take some time for more companies to fully adopt these principles.