We've been on the ground in Las Vegas for AWS re:Invent 2021 this week reporting on all the latest news, announcements, partner showcases and more from Amazon Web Services' annual event.
Amongst the highlights was the launch of Graviton3, the most powerful CPU ever launched by AWS, the announcement of a new 5G product to encourage businesses to roll out private networks, and a look by the CEO of AWS at what the future looks like from the business.
The highlight of Day 2 was the launch of a $10m scholarship program to improve ML diversity and perhaps, find that elusive killer app for ML, similar to what Visicalc was 30 years ago for the IBM-PC.
Day 3's keynote saw Amazon.com CTO Werner Vogels take us on a road trip though AWS' cloud computing history, with news announcements including the launch of new local zones and a major commitment to renewable energy.
AWS re:Invent is now done for another year, but thanks for tuning in to our live blog, and stay with TechRadar Pro for all the latest tech news and updates your business needs to know!
This is of course the first in-person AWS re:Invent since 2019, and thousands of attendees, customers and AWS employees have flocked to the Venetian Conference Centre in Las Vegas. Initial estimates are around 28,000 attendees, all jabbed and masked up, are in attendance - and with this being the first in-person event for some time, spirits are high!
It wouldn't really be a tech keynote without some deafening 8am rock and roll, would it?
Music time over - now for some keynote!
First up we've got a run-through of AWS' growth and successes over the past few years - it's fair to say it's come a long way since launching in 2006
AWS CEO Adam Selipsky is on stage, to the tune of "Sweet Child O'Mine" - it's the 10th anniversary of AWS re:Invent, and the 15th anniversary of AWS.
Selipsky notes how tough the last few years have been, and how the company is partnering with charitable organizations around the world.
"It's hard to believe that when we first started, the concept of cloud computing barely existed," he notes. "It was slow, it was complicated, it stopped innovation...we knew there had to be a better path forward."
S3 stores more than 3 trillion objects, AWS offers over 200 ully-featured services, with millions of customers around the world, the CEO says.
"We're going to keep innovating to keep offeering the broadest suite of services, Selipsky notes"
Of those customers, Netflix, NASA and NTT DoCoMo are highlighted as some of the most innovative use cases for AWS.
Such customers are "pathfinders", Selipsky notes - "they're doing something unique"
"In the last 15 years, cloud has become not just another tech revolution, but a shift in how businesses actually function," Selipsky notes. "There's no business that can't be radically disrupted."
"And we're just getting started," he adds, noting that only 5-15% of spending has moved to the cloud, so there's a big opportunity to come, with 5G and IoT becoming super important too.
NASDAQ CEO Adena Freidman is the first customer use case on stage today, explaining how the organization is using AWS to help offer a huge range of services for its users across the world to help "redefine the global capital markets".
Selipsky is now looking at another gamechanger - 1930's basketball revolutionary Hank Lucetti - "the most disruptive basketball player of all time" who came up with the running shoot technique.
"When you get pathfinding right - it's transformative," Selipsky notes.
Time for EC2 - Selipsky runs through the wide range of systems on offer, as customers ask for more and more.
There's now more than 475 different instance types available, he notes, for virtually every workload.
But AWS is now going deeper, down to the silicon, Selipsky says - noting how big a success Graviton has been.
And here's the first big announcement of today - Graviton3 - "the next generation". Offering 25% faster speeds, boosted performance for science, cryptographic and ML workloads, the G3 also uses up to 60% less energy.
There's also a new C7g Instance for EC2 - the first available for Graviton3.
For ML workloads, there's also new Trn 1 and Inf1 instances "for every workload", Selipsky notes, as machine learning plays a bigger role for many organizations.
"We know we'll never be done innovating in compute," he says.
Another new launch - AWS Mainframe Modernization - which Selipsky says will help companies migrate, modernize and run mainframe workloads on AWS at a much lower costs than ever before.
AWS has been building bridges to your data centres, and wants to keep this trend going - "we'll continue to build those bridges", he notes.
Many companies might want to run some apps in data centres - and want some actual AWS in there to use the same API, hardware and tools, fully managed and supported by AWS. The company launched AWS Outposts two years ago, and is now pushing the edge of the cloud further with the general launch of the service today, across use cases from hospitals to oil rigs.
How do we connect all the new devices a modern company uses to stay online, Selipsky asks. 5G offers a lot of promise, with low latency and high bandwidth, but developing can be complicated.
Luckily AWS is now launching AWS Private 5G - a new way to set up and scale a private mobile network in a few days rather than months.
"It's shockingly easy", notes Selipsky - AWS sends everything you need, from hardware to software to SIM cards. Automatic configuration makes it ideal for factories and workplaces, and you can ask for as many devices to be connected as you need.
"There's nothing like AWS Private 5G network out there," notes Selipsky.
Dish Chief Network Officer Mark Rouanne is up next, to talk about the company's work in offering cutting-edge mobile networks with the help of AWS.
Our next superstar "pathfinder" is Florence Nightingale. The famous "lady with the lamp" was actually a pioneering big data geek, Selipsky says, having noted the link between hygiene and diseases, spotting patterns by collecting data into infections and deaths.
Today though, we have a lot more time for collecting data and spotting patterns trends in the mountains of information we see every day, Selipsky notes.
"If we can revolutionise how we spot patterns....data will change all of our lives," he says, "working with data is tricky, it's not static, and every organization has different needs."
"A modern data strategy knows data is dynamic...handling only a few stops on the data journey just isn't enough."
AI and ML increasingly part of the data journey, Selipsky adds - as is security, making this an increasingly complex journey for data.
"AWS knows how important this is to every customer...and that's why we're focused on building out all the critical needs for each step"
Our next launch and update is for AWS Lake Foundation. Selipsky announces the general availability of row and cell-level security for Lake Foundation - giving the chance to restrict access to specific rows and columns, and automatically filter and reveal data only to authorized users - a hugely important security boost.
There's also the general availability of transactions for governed tables in Lake Formation, which automatically manages conflicts and erros, ensuring a consistent view for users, and eliminating need for custom error handling code or batching updates.
Next we have AWS' raft of analytics tools - digging through all your data to help you spot trends and more.
AWS knows that this is still a pretty tough deal for many people, and has today announced new serverless and on-demand analytics for Amazon Redshift, EMR, MSK and Kinesis.
Taking infrastructure out of the way, you no longer have to get down and dirty with the services, Selipsky says - and you pay only when the service is in use.
"This is big," he says.
Our next customer talk is from United Airlines chief digital officer Linda Jojo, who outlines how the company has had to make the most of recovering from the pandemic.
United has just signed a deal to work with AWS when the pandemic hit, knocking a huge hole in its development, as its platforms were unable to scale down, as well as up.
It used a range of AWS tools, including Amazon S3, to build a new platform for the new way of travelling, automating COVID test validations and more.
Selipsky is back now to talk more about machine learning.
"We want more customers to unlock the power of ML," he says, noting that AWS provides the broadest and most complete set of ML capabilities around.
Tens of thousands of customers are using AWS Sagemaker, with developers flocking to AI services such as chatbots, vision and speech, NLP and more.
"We know your data is on a journey - and all the stops on this journey matter," he notes.
Data governance is the next stop for us, as Selipsky runs through AWS' range of tools and services that allow you to control where your data resides.
Amazon S3 offers the most advanced and secure ways to ensure your data stays secure, he notes.
But how does AWS help people in your company access all the data they need?
Selipsky explains how Amazon QuickSight offers dashboards to display data in a useful way, with QuickSight Q providing an easy way to get answers speedily and without hassle.
This is all part of the company's push to democratize machine learning, he notes - something AWS is hoping to solve with SageMaker - but there is still more to be done.
The new Amazon SageMaker Canvas will let users create ML predictions even if they don't have any ML experience, and with no need to write any code. This should let more users than ever before get the most out of ML, no matter what level of experience they have.
Our next pathfinder is Roscoe Brown, one of the Tuskegee Airmen and a pioneering African-American pilot, who overcame racial discrimination to found landmark organizations and community.
AWS is doing its bit for training, Selipsky notes, looking to train 29 million workers in cloud skills by 2025 to deal with the explosion in cloud work.
The company has launched digital program AWS Skill Builder, and making learning cloud skills available on Amazon.com, as well as the AWS re/Start program to help those starting at the very beginning of their cloud journey.
Next up is a new partnership between Goldman Sachs and AWS, looking to offer GS customers quicker access to financial data to analyze and manage.