Transformation and Innovation at AWS re:Invent 2019

The annual AWS re:Invent mega-cloud conference took place last week, spread out across six venues in Las Vegas with an estimated attendance of 65,000 customers and partners. With a theme of “Transformation” and that transformation doesn’t get easier if you wait, AWS certainly heeded its own words of “not waiting.” The cloud leader was off to a roaring start from day one with a slew of announcements, including new chips to run customers’ applications in its data centers plus new services and feature enhancements.

To get an idea of the truly nonstop blast of activity, announcements and launches coming out of re:Invent, one need only check the AWS Twitter feed from Day 1 onward of this year’s event, for the immensity and intensity of re:Invent and the deep innovation capacity of AWS.

CEO Andy Jassy announced 27 new features and services, among the topics addressed in his 3-hour marathon keynote session. AWS now has over 175 services for its customers, up from more than 100 services in 2017 and 140 in 2018.


AWS and AI

There was a big focus on AI and machine learning in the impressive announcements of new tools across an array of categories, including even professional football:

• Digital Athlete—Amazon has partnered with the NFL via this new platform using AI/ML and cloud computing. Digital Athlete is a computer simulation model of an NFL player that will be able to model infinite scenarios within a game environment with the mission of improving player health and safety and ultimately predict and prevent injury

• SageMaker Studio—the first fully integrated development environment for machine learning. Developers have a web-based interface where they can build, train and deploy machine learning models

• SageMaker Operators for Kubernetes—allows data scientists using Kubernetes to train, tune and deploy AI models

• Transcribe Medical—allows doctors to dictate clinical notes and speech into accurate text, with the result of transcriptions in real time

• DeepComposer—the world’s first machine learning-enabled musical keyboard

• Contact Lens—which analyzes call center operations via machine learning analytics

• CodeGuru—which uses machine learning to help developers find problems and mistakes in code


Highlights Aplenty

Apart from AI and machine learning, a few other highlights for me included the announcements of:

• AWS Marketplace for Containers – find and buy container products and deploy them on Amazon container services. There are more than 160 curated and trusted container products available

• AWS Outposts Moves to General Availability (GA) – this fully managed service extends AWS infrastructure, AWS services, APIs and tools to virtually any customer datacenter, co-location space or on-premises facility for a truly consistent hybrid experience

• EC2 Image Builder – a service that makes it easier and faster to build and maintain secure images. Image Builder simplifies the creation, patching, testing, distribution and sharing of Linux or Windows Server images

• AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Access Analyzer– is a new feature that makes it simple for security teams and administrators to check that their policies provide only the intended access to resources

• EC2 Instance Backup and Recovery – allows users to backup/recover at the EC2/running instance level vs EBS/storage level

• AWS Transit Gateway Network Manager – enables organizations to centrally manage and monitor global networks across AWS and on premises. This will reduce the operational complexity of managing networks across AWS Regions and remote locations


Last year we noted AWS manages to top itself in each successive year at re:Invent with its breadth and depth of new innovation. The streak continues with 2019. With the previously mentioned number of 175+ service offerings for customers, Amazon now has the broadest and deepest service offerings in the industry.

Additional resources:
Amazon Machine Learning University
AWS re:Invent 2019 Keynotes and Feature Product Announcements
AWS re:Invent Videos and Podcasts of Past and Current Breakout Sessions

Daryl Harrington is Director of Cloud Solutions for Groupware Technology.