Top 5 Takeaways from AWS re:Invent 2016

The AWS 2016 re:Invent cloud conference, last week in Las Vegas, was chock full of product announcements. With more than 32,000 people attending, it became one of the largest IT conferences to date.

As a strategic partner, Talend went “all in” with AWS earlier this year. So, while I was attending the keynotes and sessions, I couldn’t help but think what all this meant to organizations interested in working with cloud-based solutions, particularly in Big Data, Integration, and Analytics. After some reflection, here are my top 5 takeaways:

#1: Data warehouse migration to Amazon Redshift continues to pick up steam 

Over the week, AWS held numerous migration sessions, with more than 20 of them focused on Amazon Redshift alone. Amazon Redshift is not new. It is a fast, simple, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse. Clearly, AWS has made a commitment to ensure businesses understand how they can minimize costs and increase business agility. During these sessions, the speakers explored ways to select projects for the cloud, to plan and execute migrations, as well as to manage the IT transformation at a large scale. These sessions were packed, with additional attendees lining up and sitting on the floor outside. It’s great to see that cloud data warehouse migration continues to pick up steam among businesses. At Talend, we offer Talend Integration Cloud, built on AWS infrastructure for enterprise-scale, mission-critical data migration projects onto Redshift. And just two weeks ago, Talend’s Data Architect shared the ten lessons learned for building a better data warehouse in the cloud.

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#2: Big Data cloud migration made easy with Amazon Snowmobile and Snowball Edge

Last year, AWS announced Amazon Snowball, an appliance that can move terabytes of data from legacy systems. This year, AWS showcased the AWS Snowmobile, a truck that comes in handy if you need to move exabytes of on-premises data to the cloud (Amazon S3 or Amazon Glacier) in a matter of weeks. In the keynote, AWS CEO Andy Jassy also announced the general availability of a new Snowball data transfer appliance, the AWS Snowball Edge, which comes with onboard storage and compute capabilities. With it, businesses can easily transport up to 100 terabytes of data, which is more than twice the amount of data that the original AWS Snowball can handle. As adoption of public cloud continues, tools like AWS Snowmobile and Snowball Edge are key to enable enterprises to migrate Big Data with ease.

#3: More powerful compute and analytics tools are available in AWS

AWS announced a broad spectrum of compute capabilities in Jassy’s keynote. These new capabilities, along with several new Virtual Machine instances offer better performance in workloads processing. In fact, Talend customers have used several of these capabilities to address their needs. You can learn more about it from this AWS+Talend architecture. They also announced a new analytics tool, Amazon Athena. At face value, it is a serverless query service that makes it easy to analyze data directly in Amazon S3 using standard SQL. In my view, it is a great tool that complements the existing Amazon EMR and Redshift; that said, Talend integrates with Amazon S3, EMR, and Redshift. The combination will significantly lower the bar for businesses to merge all of their data into one repository and to glean insights from high-quality data. And lastly, AWS announced another analytics tool, AWS Glue. Our CTO shared in his blog how Talend shares a similar vision yet addresses different market needs.

# 4: Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD) is a key enabler for business agility

There were some exciting announcements for DevOps. Amazon announced several new developer tools such as AWS CodeBuild that allows developers to build and test code in the cloud. And there is AWS X-Ray that helps developers identify the cause of performance issues and errors. These new tools, along with the existing AWS developer tools enable IT teams to implement more rapid continuous integration and deployment processes. Organizations are therefore empowered to change the frequency of their application updates in a swift fashion. This is a big boon for businesses seeking agility and improved team productivity by building technology that gives them a competitive advantage. At Talend, we also offer CI/CD to help our customers become more agile with their cloud and big data integration processes.

#5: Artificial Intelligence (AI) powers the next wave of Big Data Analytics

When Andy Jassy announced the first batch of AWS AI products at his keynote, I was amazed by the level of convenience they could bring to our daily lives. For example, Amazon Lex powers Amazon Alexa to let you book a flight using voice commands; Amazon Polly lets you transform text into lifelike speech, and Amazon Rekognition recognizes a face easily. I then realized these services will in fact help companies build more customer-centric businesses. These services will process large batches of images and rich media files to improve their performance. It is not surprising that as these services become more widley adopted, they will power new use cases for Big Data analytics.

If I were to sum up AWS re:Invent 2016, it was exciting and encouraging to see how so many of the cloud players are working together to help customers solve Big Data and Cloud challenges powered by an ever-increasing array of dazzling and innovative technologies from AWS.

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