As cloud computing continues its amazing growth, AWS re:Invent—Amazon Web Services’ giant cloud conference/celebration in the desert—just keeps getting bigger and bigger. For its sixth year, AWS doubled down on its tradition of unveiling a staggering number of new announcements, products, features, and capabilities to some 43,000 attendees (up from 32,000 last year.)

AWS re:Invent once again demonstrated the cloud’s unstoppable momentum as its technology continues to expand and improve, and its business benefits become even harder to ignore. The cloud is pushing into new areas, including industries once thought resistant to its benefits.

There’s too much news for us to cover everything, but let’s look at some of the most interesting announcements. (AWS has published a full list of what CEO Andy Jassy announced in his keynote—you can also just ask your Echo: “Alexa, ask AWS what’s launched recently.”)

At AWS re:Invent and beyond, the cloud rules

Not so long ago, the conventional cloud wisdom centered around convincing enterprises that simple “lift and shift” cloud migrations could actually be a safe and rewarding strategy.

As AWS hits an $18 billion annual run rate with 42% year-over-year growth, we’ve moved well beyond the cloud as “the new normal” to serverless web applications, containers in production, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and graph databases (just to name a few advancements). In 2017, AWS re:Invent is all about how enterprises of all kinds are thriving in the cloud, and leveraging its unique properties to move faster and deliver better digital customer experiences.

andy jassy aws ceo at aws re:invent

Andy Jassy, AWS CEO, on stage at AWS re:Invent

The opening keynote—which also featured a dancing DJ and a live house band rocking out at 8 a.m.—included Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom. He talked about his plans for the travel technology company (and New Relic customer) to run a whopping 80% of its mission-critical apps on AWS within 2-3 years.

More telling, perhaps, was the appearance of Roy Joseph, managing director of Goldman Sachs, talking about his company’s move to the public cloud. Although “not an easy sell internally,” Joseph said, the venerable financial services company needed the flexibility, scaling, and innovation promised by the cloud. After incorporating BYOK (Bring Your Own Key) technology, which Joseph likened to a bank safety deposit box to provide the control and data privacy the institution required, Goldman Sachs is now able to take advantage of the public cloud. The result? “Our ability to innovate has multiplied exponentially,” he said.

Serverless is getting more than 15 minutes

Wednesday was a good day for serverless. According to an informal poll of one lunch table, 5 out of 6 IT professionals were most excited about the preview of Amazon Aurora Serverless, an on-demand auto-scaling configuration for Amazon Aurora, designed to let you “run your relational database in the cloud without managing any database instances or clusters.” And Jassy also announced new deployment options for AWS Lambda functions.

The numbers seem to support that serverless excitement: According to Jassy, an “astonishing number of customers” are already using AWS Lambda, which is experiencing 300% annual growth.

As we recently noted in AWS Lambda in Production: State of Serverless Report 2017, serverless seems to be the next frontier—“one of the most talked about cloud services of 2017.” At this rate, it may not be long before we’re hearing about enterprises moving even faster by using Lambda functions in production.

Another new announcement, AWS Fargate (which is supported out of the box by New Relic) is designed to let users run containers without having to provision or manage servers or clusters. Importantly, AWS users can do so whether they’re running Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) or, starting next year, Kubernetes.

andy jassy aws ceo on stage at aws re:invent

Andy Jassy, AWS CEO, on stage at AWS re:Invent

Kubernetes for the win

Yes, that’s right, Jassy also announced a preview of Amazon ECS for Kubernetes (EKS), which drew perhaps the loudest applause of the entire 2 hour and 45 minute-long keynote session. EKS is designed to make it easy to run Kubernetes on AWS without needing to install, operate, and maintain your own Kubernetes clusters.

When it launches in 2018, EKS will be integrated with many key AWS services, Jassy said, and the company is working hard to integrate it with all ECS services. If you’re looking for the best AWS integration, he said, ECS will likely remain your best choice—and certainly AWS’ preferred choice.

Nevertheless, along with Docker’s recent moves in this direction (see Docker Embraces Kubernetes: The Future of Cloud Container Orchestration), AWS support for Kubernetes seems almost certain to cement the platform’s position as the de facto open source container orchestration layer.

Get ready for more globally available applications

The new Amazon DynamoDB Global Tables could turn out to be the sleeper announcement of the day for many New Relic customers. It’s a fully managed multi-region, multi-master global database that makes it much easier to deploy the same user experience around the world. Generally available now, it’s designed to handle the difficult work of automatically replicating data between regions and resolving update conflicts. This will make it significantly easier for administrators to configure databases to failover to another region during region-level failure events. By making worldwide cloud applications significantly easier to create and maintain, it could be a game changer for managed cloud-based non-relational databases—and an important new capability for New Relic customers seeking to build globally available applications.

Of course, all the above barely scratch the surface of AWS’ big day. There were also more compute and database announcements as well as a raft of machine learning, Internet of Things, media, and other services.

That’s a lot, obviously, and stay tuned for more. But the one thing all these announcement have in common is that AWS is continuing to push the cloud farther and farther into both the mainstream and the vanguard of modern technology.

Watch Andy Jassy’s full AWS re:Invent keynote presentation below:


Lee Atchison, Clay Smith, and Darren Cunningham contributed to this post.'

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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