Codal Breaks Down The 2017 AWS Conference Keynote Speech
Sean McGowanJuly 27th, 20174 minute read
Sean is a technical researcher & writer at Codal, authoring blog posts on topics ranging from UX design to the Internet of Things. Working alongside developers, designers, and marketers, Sean helps support the writing team to ensure Codal produces engaging web content of the highest quality. When not writing about the latest innovations in app design, Sean can be found cooking, watching old movies, or complaining about the shortcomings of his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.
Addressing thousands of eager developers, technologists, and engineers, Adrian Cockcroft, the Amazon Web Services VP of Cloud Architecture Strategy, kicked off the 2017 AWS Conference with a keynote speech detailing their cloud computing platform’s growth, current status, and path forward.
The two-day conference, held at Chicago’s McCormick Center, drew a crowd of over 10,000 to participate in workshops, learning sessions, and roundtable discussions led by experts in cloud technologies.
Codal was lucky enough to attend the conference as well, not only to keep our finger on the pulse of the latest in web & app development innovation, but to learn the best practices for delivering these new technologies to our clients.
Missed the conference? No worries, we’ve got that covered too. Here’s a highlight reel of Mr. Cockcroft’s kickoff presentation, summarizing the latest and greatest from one of the most popular cloud computing platforms on the market today.
A Powered-Up Presentation
The keynote presentation began with a short diagnosis of AWS, posting an impressive $14B revenue run rate and a 43% year-over-year growth. The Amazon exec also revealed the AWS marketplace has hit over 135,000 customers, 3,800+ software listings, and 1,200+ ISVs.
After reviewing the stat sheet, Mr. Cockcroft announced the thesis of his address: the cloud has moved past just replacing data centers—it’s now delivering completely unprecedented functionalities. Mr. Cockcroft referred to these new functionalities as “superpowers”, and explored how AWS is honing each one.
Driven by the increasing pace of innovation, Mr. Cockcroft revealed AWS had launched 1,017 new capabilities last year, including the replacement of G2 with the next generation of EC2 instances, G3.
They also released the new F1 instances, which can run custom logic by integrating with FPGAs. This opens up the possibility for all kinds of exciting applications, generating use cases in genomics research, financial analytics, real time video processing, and big data search.
Next, Mr. Cockcroft explored the problem space of massive amounts of data. And I mean massive. Most of the technologies featured here could handle magnitudes on the scale of exabytes, or one quintillion (10^18 bytes). An easier(?) way to picture it: that’s a billion gigabytes.
In a particularly impressive demonstration, Mr. Cockcroft revealed that a five-year data shift of a single exabyte query, when performed by Amazon Redshift’s new Spectrum service, was completed in 155 seconds.
Precognition (Machine Learning)
AWS’s GM of Artificial Intelligence, Dr. Matt Wood, took the stage for this segment of the presentation, explaining the current challenges plaguing the advancement and integration of machine learning into our everyday lives. Chief of these obstacles: scale.
Dr. Wood addressing the crowd at AWS conference (Source)
Computing machine learning takes large data, extensive training, and a sizable amount of CPUs. But AWS has branded itself as the “center of gravity” for machine learning, the engine driving the technology’s progress.
Dr. Wood described the company’s longtime work in machine learning, citing their flagship “people who bought this also bought” feature before discussing the latest AWS AI services.
These new technologies included Amazon Rekognition, a photo & facial recognition platform; Amazon Polly, a smart speech program best known for generating Alexa’s voice; and Amazon Lex, the speech recognition and natural language platform responsible for the AI behind Alexa.
These were just a few of the AWS “superpowers” explored during Mr. Cockcroft’s keynote speech—the cloud computing platform simply offers too many new or updated services to describe them all.
In addition to Dr. Wood’s segment, Mr. Cockcroft also called upon C-level execs from enterprises leveraging AWS to drive their business goals, including Ancestry & Chicago’s own MorningStar. The latter especially emphasized how their AWS-powered cloud transformation reduced infrastructure costs by nearly 97%, and are looking to eliminate entire data centers by 2020.
For the concluding remarks, Mr. Cockcroft returned to the stage to succinctly review the ninety-minute presentation, and to unveil his vision for AWS’s next superpower: immortality.
Digital transformation is imperative to survival for enterprises, especially with such innovative startups breathing down their necks. AWS is trying to ensure their services will keep businesses afloat in a world where digitization has placed an indelible connection between company and consumer.