Takeaways from AWS Re:Invent 2016

Here at Motus, we spent a good chunk of late-2015-to-early-2016 migrating our production and staging services platform from colocated datacenters to Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) cloud. This effort has more than paid off for us in terms of reliability and scalability; we now have the ability to scale our platform to meet demand with the click of a few buttons. As recently as five years ago, that would have been a pipe dream to all but the largest software-as-a-service providers.

Now that we host our services in Amazon’s cloud, it is crucial to stay on top of the ever-growing capabilities of the AWS platform. Last week, Amazon’s annual AWS: Re:Invent was held out in sunny Las Vegas; most would agree that this is one of the most interesting and dynamic trade shows out there.

The conference offered hundreds of breakout sessions as well as intriguing talks from industry leaders such as Netflix and GitHub. As you would suspect, it was very useful to hear how other successful technology companies are using the many capabilities of the AWS cloud platform. Netflix, for example, is working directly with Amazon to guide the development of new services such as first-class Container Services support.

Meanwhile, speakers from established companies such as Citi, Capital One and Turner Media were on hand to discuss their successful pivots to DevOps, agile development and cloud hosting. This emphasizes even further that the modern philosophy of embracing IT as a first-class part of your business organization is not just for software unicorns.

As mentioned above, it is extremely important to keep abreast of new developments within the platform. For example, Amazon announced several new hosted database solutions and container management services last week during their two keynotes. They announced new development tools for the Alexa voice control technology in their Echo and Echo Dot devices. Other big topics included the Internet of Things and the Lambda serverless architecture. At Motus, we are particularly interested in the capability to use Lambda to programmatically define and enforce security best practices for our platform.

Today, AWS is the gorilla in the cloud hosting room, hosting (by some estimates) more than ten times the infrastructure of their next 14 competitors! With approximately 34,000 attendees (up from some 5,700 in the first Re:Invent in 2012), in addition to vendors and Amazon employees, the conference was a great networking opportunity. If you have relationships with any other technology companies, you will likely find they have a booth at the Re:Invent Central exhibition hall, or at least have representatives on site. We had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time with a few of our key vendors out there, and of course to learn more about some other solutions on the market.

(Pro tip: almost all the keynotes and breakout sessions are or will be available on the AWS YouTube channel)

Attending Re:Invent was a great experience, and we hope it will help us continue to deliver a great experience for our users!

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