AWS Summit London 2019

It was a blustery, rainy welcome to the 12,000 people who attended the 2019 AWS Summit in London on May 8th. As an active member of the AWS Partner Community AirWalk were proud to sponsor the event and were struck by how much things seem to have moved on since 2018’s event.

As always, the focus in the earlier part of the day was the keynote. This begun with a history of the UK as a centre for innovation, from the industrial revolution through railways and medical advancements to wartime computing. This theme was then applied to the current cloud transformation of IT.

The session covered many categories of AWS services. We heard about the various compute services and the continuum from virtual machines through containers to serverless computing; the range of database services, from more traditional relational and non-relational options, through in-memory, document, graph and time-series offerings to the cryptography-provable ledger database; finally the various artificial intelligence services, machine learning services and machine learning frameworks were discussed.

Machine learning was also high on the agenda as AWS claimed it is doing more than anyone else to make machine learning more accessible to customers and partners.

And it wouldn’t be an AWS keynote without a tongue in cheek dig at the competition, with AWS VP Cloud Computing Matt Garmin making a point about vendor lock-in and suggesting that Oracle and Microsoft customers were in an “abusive relationship” with those vendors. The serious point here being that their opensource database – Aurora – is the fastest growing service in the company’s history.

The new i3en EC2 instance type was announced as immediately available. This offers an improvement over the i3 with greater storage density, lower cost per TB and more network bandwidth for a given CPU power.

The keynote also featured some customers who came on to tell us their AWS stories. We heard how Sainsbury’s are taking an opposing view to that of their retail competition and heavily using AWS to improve their software development processes and analyse Nectar data to help improve customer engagement. Lots of other retailers have been dropping AWS, fearful presumably of funding a competitor. We heard from the Ministry of Justice about how AWS services have helped them make improvements to their Legal Aid Agency’s systems, and finally how Faculty are using AWS to bring maturity to AI.

The AirWalk stand was buzzing all day with a great mix of people keen for us to help them navigate the regulatory and security challenges that often hinder cloud adoption, and those equally interested in taking on our touring car driver’s lap time around Monza in the AirWalk simulator. It’s fair to say things got pretty competitive, but Josh held on to top spot in the end – just!

In the end, we all felt really proud to be playing such an active role in helping clients realise the benefits of this technology and can’t wait to see what the AWS eco-system looks like in 12 month’s time. See you at the next one!