Amazon Web Services (AWS) CTO Werner Vogels is always an entertaining, opinionated speaker, with plenty to say about cloud computing, software development, and related topics. His keynote address at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas this week was no exception.

So while Vogels introduced a slew of new AWS products, services, and features (which come in addition to CEO Andy Jassy’s introductions the day before), this post will focus on the most interesting, most resonant quotes from his two-hour presentation, including bonus quotes from some of the prominent AWS users who joined Vogels on stage.

(For a full list of all the product announcements made during Vogels’ AWS re:Invent keynote, check out this useful roundup from GeekWire.)


Werner Vogels, CTO of AWS:

  • “It’s been a crazy 10 years,” building AWS, not only in the development of cloud services, but in “the kind of impact we’ve had with cloud services.… Our goal was to help internet-scale companies be successful, but we completely transformed the technology industry.” Just as important, “Many of our customers are transforming their worlds as well.”
  • werner vogels at aws re:invent“Our goal is to shift control from the IT provider to the customer. In the cloud, there is no contractual obligation to stick with the vendor, so we have to be on our toes every day.”
  • “I really believe that you have no business on the internet if you do not make protection of your customers a top priority.… We are responsible for the security of the cloud.” Fortunately, “We innovate rapidly so you have the tools to protect your business in the cloud.”
  • “Dev and test are the two most important workloads in your business. [And] because dev and test are so well supported in the cloud, many of our customers see major productivity improvements” in engineering productivity, of up to 2x or 3x!
  • “As creative as we are as engineers, we sometimes are too creative. There are many manual tasks … we need to automate those tasks” to get more security, reliability, and efficiency.
  • “I believe ‘operations’ includes the way we develop software.”
  • Many of our customers who want to move fast go to continuous integration/continuous deployment, because “smaller changes reduce risk.” If your update has 15,000 lines of code, for example, finding the security issue or other problem can be very difficult. It’s much easier when the update has only six lines of code.
  • “One of the things the cloud has done is democratize access to technology power.” In the cloud, everyone can have a data warehouse, and everyone gets exactly the same access to computing power.
  • “When it comes to servers, there are no cattle, there is only the herd.”


Jeff Lawson, co-founder, CEO, and chairman of Twilio:

  • “Software is a mindset, not a skill set.”
  • “Agility is the most important thing, but we have five 9s reliability in our API.… You can build agility with resilience!”
  • “You no longer get points for merely using servers. You only get points for serving users.”


Chris Turvill, head of cloud and platform agility at Trainline:

  • “We know that a 300ms delay in app performance costs us $10 million in revenue.”


DJ patel aws re:invent presentation

DJ Patel, U.S. Chief Data Scientist

DJ Patel, U.S. Chief Data Scientist:

  • “Today, it’s not what we can do with technology, but what we expect from our technology.”


Eric Gunderson, CEO of MapBox:

  • “It’s not about the data, it’s about how fast we can turn that data into a product” that helps you get around.
  • The biggest savings [we found in moving to the cloud] were in focus: Look at all the things we didn’t have to build!”


Neil Hunt, chief product officer at Netflix:

  • “We don’t have a data center any more. And that’s great!… We let AWS do all the infrastructure work, especially when it isn’t specific to Netflix.”


For a complete look at the presentation, watch the video below:'

Fredric Paul (aka The Freditor) is Editor in Chief for New Relic. He's an award-winning writer, editor, and content strategist who has held senior editorial positions at ReadWrite,, InformationWeek, CNET, Electronic Entertainment, PC World, and PC|Computing. His writing has appeared in MIT Technology Review, Omni, Conde Nast Traveler, and Newsweek, among other places. View posts by .

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