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Experts weigh in on re:Invent 2015, AWS conference expectations

As AWS prepares for its annual re:Invent conference, our SearchAWS.com experts projected what developments the public cloud provider might announce.

The cloud masses will turn their collective attention to Las Vegas in early October for Amazon Web Services re:Invent 2015. And, as more enterprises shift away from traditional data centers and toward public cloud, many are speculating what developments will emerge from the event.

SearchAWS.com checked in with its cloud experts to gather predictions for re:Invent 2015, asking them to predict what big news AWS will pull from its sleeve in Las Vegas.

George Lawton

Amazon will likely announce significant improvements to the AWS Lambda software development tool chain at its next AWS conference. Over the last year, microservices have grown to be one of the most exciting and popular topics in enterprise application development. AWS Lambda represents a novel take on the concept that allows smaller applications, increased scalability and a faster pace of development.

George Lawton

Most of the focus on microservices has been based on the use of Docker and other container technologies. Containers are smaller than traditional VMs, and AWS Lambda instances are even smaller. Furthermore, Lambda applications can be provisioned more quickly than Docker containers, and are billed in 100 millisecond increments, enabling more granular accounting.

AWS Lambda instances can be triggered to spin up automatically in response to triggers from Amazon Simple Storage Service, Kinesis, Simple Notification Service and Alexa applications. Collections of Lambda services can also be woven together to create more complex serverless back ends, like SquirrelBin, with less overhead and better scalability.

But Lambda is still in its early stages. To replicate the success of Docker, Amazon will need to improve the tooling around the Lambda ecosystem. This could include support for languages other than JavaScript and Java. Processing intensive applications will benefit from C++ support. These types of applications will also benefit from support for larger memory instances that go beyond the current 1.5 gigabyte limit.

Complex applications woven from Lambda components could benefit from improved testing tools that make it easier to identify and rectify bottlenecks earlier in the development process. Expect to see cloud-based testing lab vendors introduce Lambda specific support. Amazon is also likely to introduce better monitoring and logging support for Lambda applications. This will make it easier for operations personnel and developers to identify the exact source of problems.

The Kubernetes container orchestration infrastructure for Docker has made it easier to provision and manage large collections of containers. Amazon is likely to prepare similar infrastructure for managing collections of Lambda applications. This will make it easier for enterprises to pursue a microservice strategy on top of Lambda.

Ofir Nachmani

Ofir Nachmani

According to several publications, the new AWS Infrastructure Region that is being built in India is going to be the company's largest data center. One of the main benefits of the AWS cloud is its low prices per instance and the option to work in scale. The talented Indian high-tech market can help AWS keep prices low with its new quality commodity data center.

AWS can differentiate itself in the market by making the cloud extremely elastic, and that is by enhancing its ability to provide resources that host specific workloads/jobs. That will help AWS' investment in building the physical layer of the cloud. This year, AWS acquired ClusterK, which enhances AWS control over a single resource availability. Changes to out-of-the-box Spot Instance features could be one of the main themes of re:Invent.

David Linthicum

New items will center on better cloud management from AWS, including providing better tools to AWS enterprise customers. AWS has sound cloud plans, but it's been largely focused on developers. As more enterprises use AWS, the approach is not aligned with existing management strategies. Thus, many of those using AWS are doing so through [managed service providers].

David Linthicum

AWS understands the gap, and I'm sure it will be taking time to fill it. That said, AWS could be taking some of the cloud market away from key and loyal partners. That will be the rub.

I think we'll see a more humble and accommodating AWS. Hybrid or private clouds are no longer evil, enterprises will be heard, and the roadmap will reflect the needs of the users, instead of a far-reaching vision.

The solution will be to be more operationally ready and practical in nature. AWS will work and play better with other clouds than before, and form some alliances with larger traditional players that would have been science fiction just a few years ago. AWS might buy a few smaller and more innovative companies; we could hear about those acquisitions at re:Invent 2015.

Brian Tarbox

The rise of alternative cloud plans, especially Microsoft Azure, means that AWS has to deal with companies that want to remain cloud agnostic. This creates high tension for AWS and business customers with regard to the level of integration. Does the enterprise love the new Lambda service? Well, it can't use it without complete vendor lock-in. Does the enterprise prefer Spot Instances? Google Cloud Platform has something similar, but Azure doesn't offer a comparable service.

Brian Tarbox

Each AWS service is powerful on its own, but the true power comes from the ability to use a broad spectrum of services. If your business is sticking with the lowest-common-denominator cloud offering then AWS is far less compelling.

Perhaps AWS will take a larger role in projects such as Spring Cloud that attempt to provide a common interface. But it's a bit of a devil's bargain: Help customers access competitors to avoid being shut out altogether.

Finally, there may be some announcement at the AWS conference about cloud interoperability, but any guess beyond that would be speculation.

Chris Moyer

Chris Moyer

We could see an expansion on Docker with Amazon EC2 Container Service and Lambda. Perhaps we'll even see something like Lambda for Docker. Given the vast amount of security breaches recently, security in AWS could be a big topic of discussion, and AWS may even offer a service to help with that.

The general public is paying more attention to re:Invent, but the format and announcements will likely follow the same format. The AWS conference has been working well, and the cloud provider has always done a good job promoting the successes of previous products. Now that AWS has so many products, it might choose to only highlight the most successful features.

Kurt Marko

Predicting an individual news item is like predicting what the stock market will do next week -- guessing can be hazardous. However, a major -- perhaps the major -- theme out of re:Invent 2015 will be AWS better positioning itself as a large enterprise platform. Thus, expect to see plenty of news about security, Identity and Access Management and enterprise integration, hybrid cloud/private cloud extension to AWS and cloud-first enterprise application design.

Kurt Marko

Data analytics could also be a key theme. This includes information about AWS big data services and application design and best practices for various business scenarios.

On the pure news front, there could be more price cuts announced along with usage numbers.

Finally, given how cloud-friendly Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been, my surprise, longshot pick would be some sort of joint announcement between AWS and Azure. If it happens, it would probably be something very focused -- somewhat like Microsoft's presence at the VMworld 2015 keynote to discuss end-user management software. But it would serve as some bridge building between the two largest infrastructure as a service vendors.

Based on how fast the event sold out -- it could have easily been double its size -- there should be a lot of energy and excitement among attendees and more media buzz than ever before.

Jeff Kaplan

AWS re:Invent will attract more attendees from brand-name companies that will demonstrate AWS offerings. Cloud-based services overall are gaining interest and adoption across a broader cross-section of industries for a wider array of purposes.

Next Steps

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Relive last year's re:Invent announcements

AWS re:Invent 2015 will focus on security and cloud management

This was last published in September 2015

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AWS re:Invent 2015: A guide to Amazon's sold-out event

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