In this part, Dan Allaby, Luis Benavides and Eric Holler discuss the trends in the CET space, major themes of Amazon re:Invent 2013 and where cloud computing is headed.
Dan Allaby: So, jumping into a re:Invent recap, I thought we’d spend a couple of minutes on some of the key themes and Luis, maybe from a high level; I’ll start with you. What do you think the major themes of this year were from your perspective? What did you kind of dial in on from the keynotes and the general conference itself?
Luis Benavides: Yeah I think Amazon made a very concerted effort to stand out with what I think boils down into two things. Their approach & entry and continued push into the enterprise, and then the other was really more performance related with the SSD announcements with EC2 and RDS for postgreSQL. I think those are the kind of things that we recognize around providing the tool capabilities to really make Amazon stand out in that space and as we continue to kind of push and get into what enterprise customers are looking for or what performance-oriented customers are really looking for.
Dan Allaby: Yeah they seemed to really emphasize performance and a continued commitment to innovation as well obviously. I noticed the Day1, no pun intended, from the first day
Luis Benavides: Oh, it’s intended.
Dan Allaby: laughs Yes; we actually have to probably address that too. Your company name, “Day1” Solutions; you were telling me last night what that stood for. Maybe take a second and just share with everyone the name of the company.
Luis Benavides: Yeah, so having worked with the Amazon channel and frankly even maybe taking a step back from that, just seeing the industry overall with a variety of different cloud providers and seeing what the hyperscaler guys like Amazon, Google, Microsoft were doing, we wanted this company to be very focused on Amazon out of the gate and really leading with that versus the other guys who really started off with the on-premise view of the world. I think we kind of work backwards to bring those Amazon resources into those worlds, so we wanted a name that really stuck with Amazon without calling it Amazon, and so the closest thing we could find was “Day1” which was a mantra of Jeff Bezos. It’s an Amazon mantra, not just necessarily Amazon Web Services, and that’s really the inspiration behind the name and fortunately it worked out in a lot of great ways and people always end up giving it some free pub[licity] and catching themselves saying “Starting right on Day 1” or whatever it is what they’re saying, including Amazon during the keynote session of re:Invent this year.
Dan Allaby: Yes it’s interesting when – so there was two if you didn’t attend folks joining, if you didn’t attend, there was two keynotes during the session Andy Jassy, he’s senior VP on day one and Werner Vogels who’s the Global CTO for AWS on day two – and by the way there was about 10,000 attendees this conference which Luis from last year, the number was somewhere around 5,000 I think.
Luis Benavides: Yeah, I think they had — walk-ins — they were right around 6,000 last year or just a bit higher.
Eric Holler: They topped at five and oversold actually.
Luis Benavides: Yup.
Eric Holler: They got more attention than they thought they’d get. They thought they were going to get five last year and six showed up.
Dan Allaby: And I think that, you know, they also had somewhere around 9,000 streaming the keynotes as well so lot’s of interest. When I look at Jassy vs. Vogels, Vogels is very deep. A lot of the services that were presented were extremely – more the advanced – some of the deeper, richer services that–
Eric Holler: Vogels is always like that though, I think he’s CTO for a reason and that follows the pattern of last year where his talk is always a little deeper, a little more into technology, a little more into really cool stuff and the first day is a little more about the business and the money and growth and supporting partners and it works for him. I mean Werner; he’s fun to watch even though he’s a geek and even though sometimes he takes that road. He’s fun to watch, he’s very accessible. I actually think last year’s keynote was a little better than this year’s but he had a pure message this year. We talked about it and Luis brought up the enterprise hit. I think that he went after – by the way he structures his talk – he went after the top five objection tickets from big enterprise. And then he brought up companies that are large enough that are all in the cloud, that he can go to virtually any enterprise provider and say “Oh performance? Well these guys are as big as you, this is how we do it, this is how we address it.” Security – just as important – for security he brought up a bank.
Dan Allaby: You remind me of one of the things and maybe Luis you can comment on this as well, certainly as far as showcasing big customers there was a number, but one of the customers that they tend to showcase is Netflix and what I found interesting about Netflix was they talked more about their own open ecosystem play and some of the programs they’re making available for customers to leverage around, I think Monkeys is one that’s helping you test for vulnerabilities from a scale and performance point of view around your virtual servers and they have several – Ice is one that helps with billing – so if you’re on the phone if you folks are more on the developer side and are curious and deeper into Amazon, definitely check out Netflix and their open ecosystem plays that they have available. Luis have you had any experience there or any comments in that area? I just find it interesting about what they’re doing and how they’re opening up to the general public some of those solutions that they’ve created.
Luis Benavides: Yeah, I think it’s amazing that you’re getting the innovation outside of Amazon for Amazon Web Services. From the customer like Netflix and from others that are out there as well, and they’re sharing all of that. You’re finding that the customers are innovating at a faster cumulative degree than Amazon Web Services and that’s what stands out to me about Netflix. One important thing though, and I think this is kind of building upon this year compared to last year that Andy mentioned is: just like Netflix where they continue to push and bring out those new capabilities, the conversation is changing in that Amazon world where it’s not about price anymore and I think that’s a very very important piece folks kind of dismiss and think of Amazon as just being a cost saver or maybe just Cloud and cost savings. And they really focused this message — Andy and his keynote – around agility. And I think when you look at Netflix, that’s exactly what they’re doing. They coming out with these new capabilities because they’re provided with a very agile-type platform.
Dan Allaby: That’s a great point. The other thing just kind of looking back through thinking of Andy’s “Day 1” stuff, he was also reinforcing the enterprise robustness of services. When people think public cloud they’re thinking storage, networking, compute but I think he spent a few minutes talking about database app services, management services—for most people, they’re just not aware of the breadth of enterprise-capable services that exist in Amazon more at that platform level and application level, not just at the core infrastructure which I think is one of the things that is starting to differentiate them in the marketplace.
Luis Benavides: Yeah and I think, you know, the announcement again for like RDS, as they continue bundling and putting out more RDS options, we kind of see enterprises moving to those first but we haven’t even mentioned WorkSpaces with Amazon’s move into the VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) space. This is an area that I think you’re centered around the VMWares of the world that have kind of done this for a while but it’s very interesting to see Amazon move into that space along with things like Amazon Kinesis that came out where you have WorkSpaces with a very VDI-focused & VDI in cloud and then you have Kinesis with mobility in cloud that I think always go hand-in-hand. So I think these are additional areas outside of this core enterprise line of business apps where now they’re taking advantage of other trends that are moving around mobility, VDI, and you know, that kind of world.
Dan Allaby: We certainly have seen a lot of interest in the desktop space and I think to see them come out with a VDI-like service and where they go with that is going to be very interesting but if you haven’t seen that, that’s a new service that was launched at re:Invent called AWS or Amazon WorkSpaces and it’s basically available in limited release at this point by invitation only I believe. But certainly the information is out there. Yeah I agree it was an interesting service. What’s your thought on the API trails service that came out?
Luis Benavides: Well again I think it’s exactly—Oh Eric were you going to jump in there?
Eric Holler: Oh no go ahead.
Luis Benavides: I was just going to say it shows again how they’re continuing to push into the enterprise and providing them the tools that they need and they want to see. That’s part of the value prop of AWS and why we make our bet on a company like an Amazon because the pace of innovation; the way they take their customer feedback on what they want to see, what the customers want, you know, that’s pretty unique and again getting it out to market like CloudTrail is kind of born out of that customer feedback loop.
Dan Allaby: It kind of also shows that –and I know even with us three years ago when we were talking about cloud, it was all about Infrastructure as a Service and “what does the control panel look like?” and “how can I spin up a server?” It’s definitely—now when you look at, sort of, integrated orchestration and automation, the API integration piece is more of a day-to-day relevant discussion. I guess Luis, even from your company’s perspective; does that level of discussion happen when talking with your customers? Do you get into the whole API? How relevant is that in your day-to-day business being aware of that?
Luis Benavides: I just think that’s where applications are evolving to. Things are gonna be—applications are—the behavior is going to be API calls, you know, not necessarily—or let’s say API calls because they’re build in this web-scale type infrastructure, not necessarily built for things that are limited capacity or limited performance in kind of an on-premise world so we’re seeing the need for redeveloping applications for that API model.
Dan Allaby: Yeah, absolutely. So I think the only other service maybe we should spend a second on then we’ll move topics, you mentioned performance. Obviously in terms of addressing the enterprise, performance performance performance is certainly one area and I think Vogels talked about consistency in performance and the importance of storage—sorry—the relevance of storage to that. That was sort of all prefacing some new instance services that are being launched that are very storage/high-performance-centric as well as some instances are very compute-centric.
Eric Holler: You dropped a couple of catchphrases that I don’t think have caught on but probably should when he said “Disk is the new tape” and “Memory is the new disk.” So that entire section was about consistency and he dropped those new instances that are plenty of power, tons of memory, SSD drives, and consistency in access which is as much about getting performance out of doing BI, about warehousing and making sure your databases can access the tables in a consistent put fashion as it is about having a superpower massive computer.
Dan Allaby: Yeah, it’s more about the consistency.
Eric Holler: That’s not as important in the consistency in IOPS that the input output is huge in what they’re trying to do and with I think with the changes we saw in RDS; the postgreSQL, some of the RDS stuff where they’re, y’know, you can now copy live instances across legions in RDS, you can now replicate. Now just a small little announcement that’s kinda—
Dan Allaby: Kinda woven in there—
Eric Holler: Not that important, the press isn’t gonna go “Oh wow, that’s cool.” What’s really cool is it improves your database performance. They’re doing the same thing with Redshift where you can encrypt on the fly and move it. That’s a real push at “Hey, I can handle your BI loads. Send me that data.” Y’know, “Kroeger, send me that data. You’re going to be fine hitting against it and you’re going to get the performance you need and expect out of it.”
Dan Allaby: Awesome, yeah. Uh Luis, anything before we shift gears, anything to add or wrap up around the re:Invent recap?
Luis Benavides: No I think we pretty much hit most of the things that were launched and I think, to your point of what you guys were just discussing, it really is, again, that push into maybe not exactly just enterprise but really, how did they change the game? How do you come out with new things that people haven’t been able to do before or at this kind of capacity? And I think that’s one of the things we recognize from these announcements and things like that around the performance side of those announcements.
Dan Allaby: Yeah, absolutely. I’d encourage everyone who is interested and really kind of wants to kind of get the full picture to just go through the keynotes that are available. They’re up on YouTube so you can listen through both Andy’s and Vogels’ keynotes.