Andy Jassy’s Keynote

While I wasn’t able to make it to re:Invent this year, I did enjoy watching Andy Jassy’s keynote in the AWS offices in Dublin. This was organised by the Irish AWS Usergroup, who also have a special post-re:Invent meetup planned for the 11th of December to discuss the new announcements and services.

Key theme: Transformation

Andy’s main message for the keynote was around transformation. Companies need to transform to stay ahead of the game, to keep market share, to grow in a competitive environment. 97% of IT spend is still on-premise, so there’s a huge market out there to take advantage of. However, you can’t just sit back and wait for transformation to happen. Procrastinating doesn’t make it easier and ultimately, it’s the role of business leadership to drive it.

He then called out 4 differentiators in transformation:

  • The senior team must be aligned on the transformation goal and must lead with conviction. Inertia is a very powerful thing in organisations, and can easily block transformation.
  • You need aggressive top-down goals that forces the organisation to move at a pace much faster than it would normally be comfortable with. Don’t just dip your toes in the water! Set up a plan and put into action straight away.
  • Train people! You can’t get things done without a team of builders who are enabled, coached and trained. Once a cloud journey has started, developers don’t want to be restrained or held back.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of analysis paralysis. Look at all the number of workloads that need to be transformed and with the easiest! Get it done, and then let the learning experience inform the harder workloads.

Modernisation and transformation

The next part of his talk focused on how cost-effective modernisation can be when you take the full picture into account. Improvements to security, licensing, scalability, cost of staff, elasticity all help drive business value and efficiency.

People are moving away from Oracle and SQL Server because they are proprietary, expensive, and have prohibitive licensing terms. Even this year Microsoft followed Oracle and changed the license agreement of SQL Server to make running it on AWS more difficult and expensive — which is not a customer-first attitude to have, and only benefits Microsoft.

As such, AWS now has several programs to help facilitate moving from Windows to Linux. Linux has a few advantages being cheaper, with more features and security due to the massive open source community. It removes the worry of licensing terms being changed unexpectedly as well.

Customer Stories

As always, the keynote featured interludes of various customer stories. David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, talked about the credit card platform they built that underpinned the launch of the Apple Card. It’s clear that there’s a big shakeup happening in the fin-tech world, and the AWS services are helping to lead the charge

Brent Shafer, CEO of Cerner talked about the huge amount of customer data and health information they have, and how AWS helps them manage it. Finally, Hans Vesper, CEO of Verizon, was on stage to talk about 5G, and the launch of a new AWS edge service on the 5G network, AWS Wavelength. The main use case is for delivering ultra-low latency applications on 5G to mobile and IoT customers.

The importance of data

Matt Wood also made his usual appearance to talk about the ever-increasing importance of the various data services. Each year, the percentage of new services from the Machine Learning, AI, and Data Analytics space grows larger and larger. This keynote was no different. He discussed the launch of 8 new services and functionality for Amazon SageMaker, as well as how important this space was for AWS.

New service announcements

Throughout the keynote there were a couple of other new service announcements:

  • 2 General Availability for services announced last year — AWS Outposts and Kubernetes on AWS Fargate. (Version 1 are a launch parter for Outposts. Read about it here, or get in touch for more info!)
  • Automated code reviews and application performance recommendations with Amazon CodeGuru
  • Amazon Detective: A new security service combining GuardDuty with some machine learning to give Root Cause Analysis on security incidents — released in preview
  • A new Managed Cassandra Service — released in preview.


Overall there was nothing too unexpected in the keynote. Transformation driving business value has been a common theme for a few years now. An increasing number of AI and Big Data services, some nice automation tooling for security, and continued focus on the enablement of developers.

About Version 1

Version 1 is a leader in Enterprise Cloud services and was one of the first AWS Consulting Partners in Europe. We are an AWS Premier Partner and specialise in migrating and running complex enterprise workloads in Public Cloud. Version 1 is a leader in Enterprise Cloud services and was one of the first AWS Consulting Partners in Europe. We have a policy of continuous investment in technology solutions that benefit our customers and are in the small number Amazon Web Services Partners to have achieved advanced partner status. Our team works closely with AWS to help our customers navigate the rapidly changing world of IT.