In December 2019, AWS had its key global customer event re:Invent in Las Vegas. It is no surprise that the game gets bigger, the event gets broader and the content overwhelming in scale and scope.
AWS now hosts 65,000 from one end of the strip to the other. Even the always charming LAX immigration officials muttered to me “oh Amazon” when I told them I was in transit to Las Vegas. Word gets around.
So what did AWS announce? A lot. Hundreds of new or enhanced offerings. Even the Machine Learning tools of AWS probably struggle to keep up with the announcements.
Key themes from my perspective were as follows.
- Localising AWS
- Broader, deeper Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Increased depth in Database
Of course, there is more than this. Quantum Computing, Chips, Contact Centres, were all enhanced as was security, networking and every product offering that AWS has.
As someone who at least pays their taxes in the outer reaches of the cloud universe, for me, the most important announcements were around bringing AWS closer to their customers. There were three significant aspects of this.
- AWS Local Zones
- AWS Outposts
- AWS Wavelength
While it is positive AWS Outposts is finally GA, after one of the few launch missteps from AWS, and AWS Wavelength has excellent application for edge computing driven by 5G, I was most excited by AWS Local Zones.
What is AWAS Local Zone? It extends the Availability Zone to a dedicated local environment reducing latency and increasing the speed at the point of content creation. The first of these is extending the Oregon AZ to Los Angeles. This is an industry-specific investment specifically for the entertainment industry; content renderers can celebrate. capioIT expects that the next will be to New York and Chicago for financial services transaction support.
This is just the first stage of the local zone. When it is considered a scaled-down version of an AWS AZ, then it opens up considerable opportunities to strengthen up regional coverage. In Australia, a local zone for Canberra and Melbourne will enable AWS to make the first stage of investment without the need for a full-blown Availability Zone. Similarly, coverage in Japan, India and China will be significantly enhanced if the technology is applied to these markets.
The next opportunity will be to make the technology cross border. This will not work in all jurisdictions. No-one expects a Local Zone working from India to Pakistan any time soon. However, for markets such as Australia and New Zealand, it is potentially a way to provide stronger coverage for the New Zealand market. It will just depend on the priority list of AWS from an investment perspective.
AWS re:Invent is the ultimate firehose event. The number, breadth and depth of announcements are overwhelming even for a five-time event veteran like myself.
While there is a lot to digest, Local Zones for me is essential to bring the AWS business to more clients and a broader geographic footprint. It has much more full deployment potential than the first steps; however, this is no surprise and no doubt the AWS roadmap dartboard is full of a range of options that will enable the democratisation of the cloud to spread even further.