Last week marked the sixth Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent conference I have attended. While AWS has attracted the webscale and startup businesses in full force, the enterprise has been a bit of an enigma for AWS.
This year at re:Invent, AWS continued their regular drumbeat of rolling out a significant number of new products and features. And just like past years, the conversation of attracting the enterprise came up. But this year was different. In past years, there still seemed to be something missing from the conversation. A sort of gap that was never truly crossed in a meaningful way. This year, AWS took a markedly different approach and showed that it is listening to the enterprise customers.
LISTENING TO ENTERPRISE CUSTOMERS
The webscale and startup markets are very different from that of the enterprise. In past years, the expectation was that enterprise works similar to startup/ webscale. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
One of the biggest differences is in how enterprises consume cloud-like services. Not everyone is able to (or wishes to) leverage traditional public cloud services. In my post ‘Mapping the AWS platform taxonomy that includes hybrid cloud’, I outline how AWS is addressing this head-on with solutions like Outposts, Local Zones and Wavelength. This is a huge shift in AWS thinking by acknowledging that traditional public cloud is not the end-all be-all.
ENTERPRISE PERSPECTIVE ON ANNOUNCEMENTS
Beyond the fundamental way that enterprises consume cloud-based services, a number of announcements should resonate well with the enterprise audience.
Graviton2 Processor: There are two aspects that are interesting to this announcement. First, Graviton2 shows AWS is not relying only on standard silicon and leveraging custom silicon to change the game. In the case of Graviton2, it is based on ARM. Second, by doing so, they have the ability to change the price/ performance options for customers. For the enterprise, this is a key game changer.
Braket: Quantum computing is still in its infancy and relative hard to experiment with. Braket is AWS’ solution to allow customers to experiment with quantum computing without having to engage the expense and challenges of partnering with a company managing a quantum computer.
Nitro Enclaves: Enterprise customers are increasingly concerned about data privacy in a cloud-based world. Enclaves provides the ability to encapsulate data in a secure fashion without the need to disclose data through the process.
License Manager: Simplifies the license management for ‘bring your own license’ (BYOL) and allows enterprises to leverage their existing investment in perpetual licenses.
Access Points: Two problems exist with the data-application relationship: a) that data is being created everywhere and b) that apps that need access to data exist everywhere. No longer is there a direct, physical relationship between application and data. Access Points simplifies the data access using shared data across S3.
Data Exchange: There is a ton of valuable data in the world today. Yet, it is hard to make available and harder yet to monetize. As companies look to leverage data, share and monetize it, Data Exchange fills the gap by streamlining the process.
CloudTrail Insights & Detective: Cybersecurity is a top-line board and executive discussion. Prevention, identification and resolution rely on insights and speed. The combination of these two products assist in identifying unusual activity and quickly getting to the root of the issue.
Transit Gateway (new offerings): Transit Gateway is not new. But the new features underneath Transit Gateway including Inter-Region Peering, Site-to-Site VPN, Network Manager, Multicast and VPC Ingress Routing all reduce the friction and complexity through automation of growing and complex cloud infrastructures.
SageMaker Studio IDE: The new features that are part of the SageMaker Studio IDE focus on the developer by reducing the friction to increase developer productivity for machine learning activities. In doing so, it makes using AWS cloud services for machine learning more approachable for an enterprise developer.
CodeGuru: Bottom line, CodeGuru helps developers write better code. Through automation, CodeGuru provides support for the developer that they may not otherwise have access to. This both speeds up the development process and reduces issues in code.
Kendra: This could be one of the most overlooked new services for AWS. Data is key for enterprises. Yet one of the most misunderstood details is that data exists in a myriad of different corners within the enterprise. Kendra is focused on replacing enterprise search with a contextual and natural language context that makes it easier to both identify and leverage data.
Each of these new offerings directly address challenges that enterprises face when looking to leverage public cloud.
From the CIO perspective, it is clear that AWS is taking a renewed focus on the enterprise challenges and looking at the long game. Each of the new products outlined above, along with their approach to hybrid cloud, present a new opportunity for enterprises to consider when looking to leverage the spectrum of services from edge-to-cloud.
There are three things that stand out in the list: a) the continuity of solutions from edge-to-cloud, b) unlocking the opportunities that enterprises seek from data and c) taking a more measured approach to addressing the enterprise gaps head-on. Sure, AWS still shows the bravado that they are known for. But the changes outlined above, some subtle, show that a more thoughtful approach is permeating the company and how it addresses the enterprise.