Top 10 AWS Cloud Trends for 2018

December 13, 2017 Lukasz Panusz

Amazon Web Services (AWS) just hosted their incredibly popular trendsetting expo conference – AWS re:Invent 2017. The event took place in Las Vegas and attracted more than 40,000 attendees and 400 Sponsors.

The expo continues to be a truly premier learning conference for the global cloud community with representatives from over 80 different nations.

Everyone flocks to AWS re:Invent to get the scoop on the latest cloud computing market trends (but the fact that it’s held in Vegas doesn’t hurt either).

Over 1000 sessions were held this year as well as numerous demos and hackathons. Attendees were able to soak up cloud knowledge on literally every corner.

On that note, we’ve prepared a breakdown of the technological advances, products, and services that were on everyone’s lips in Vegas last week.

Prepare to hear a lot more about the following in the coming months.

Key cloud trends emerging from AWS re:Invent:

1. Machine Learning / Deep Learning

“Despite decades of investment and improvements, the process of developing, training, and maintaining machine learning models has still been cumbersome and ad-hoc […] Businesses and developers want an end-to-end, development to production pipeline for machine learning.” – Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Machine learning is an extremely valuable technique that is relevant to many areas of enterprise organisation. However, modern machine learning frameworks are often challenging for developers without a specialised set of skills. That’s why AWS released new Machine Learning services, which will help leverage business benefits.

Here’s a list of the ones we think will be leading the prim in the near future: Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Polly, Amazon Lex, Amazon Sagemaker, Amazon Deeplens, Amazon Comprehend.

2. The rising importance of IoT

IoT devices are quickly winning their way into our everyday lives. And the density of their deployment is said to greatly increase within the next few years. We should expect to see everything from lightbulbs, industrial machinery, “smart cars” and even “smart cities”. And of course, as we see it, AWS plays and will continue to play a key role in helping enterprises take advantage of this new trend.

3. Security becoming everyone’s responsibility

We’re at a specific moment in technological advancement history where, as Werner Vogels puts it, – “There is no excuse not to encrypt data anymore. At the minimum, [we should] encrypt [personally identifiable information] PII and create threat models…”

AWS recently presented a series of security principles, concerning the following topics. Here’s a list of their security best practice guidelines: i) identity – implement a strong identity foundation, ii) detective controls – enable traceability, Iii) infrastructure protection – apply security at all layers and automate best practices, iv) data protection – protect data in transit and at rest, and v) incident response – prepare for security events.

This list may not be exhaustive but these five principles are definitely a good place to start building your security best practices.

4. Chaos engineering

The essence of chaos engineering is the practice of experimenting with purposely causing systems to fail. To the layman, this may sound rather counterintuitive – but trust us, everything is in good order. Here’s how it works: engineers work out a hypothesis regarding how a system might fail, then they come up with an experiment, which aims to simulate this failure, and finally, they conduct the experiment in a controlled manner. The results are then analysed and the experimentation cycle continues.

These practices aim to take advantage of the good forces of chaos, i.e., the potential evolution of resilience testing within a system – this includes graceful restarts and degradation, targeted chaos, cascading failure, and failure injection.

5. Big Data with digital human-centric access

AWS recently released Amazon Alexa for business making it even more obvious that conversational interfaces will be the next big thing in the software industry. Technological advancements exceedingly aim to make our human lives more comfortable by mimicking the way we would normally do things. Hence, it’s no surprise then that voice-enabled software is on the rise – it makes things easier and more efficient for the user, and we’re betting it’s here to stay.

6. Development of exclusively business logic (Serverless)

One of our favourite cloud gurus – you guessed it – Werner Vogels believes that with the increasing adoption of “Serverless” (Function-as-a-Service and managed services) the future is well on its way to becoming a reality.

A few enhancements of the AWS Lambda Function-as-a-Service serverless offering were announced at AWS re:Invent. The most important ones are concurrency limits, traffic shifting for deployments with AWS Code Deploy, CloudTrail integration, AWS Serverless Application Repository, increased memory capacity, upcoming support for .NET Core 2 and Golang.

7. Managed services for containers

Abby Fuller, Senior Technical Evangelist at AWS, showcased a few exemplary customer case studies in which packaging and deploying applications within containers had played a key role. The takeaway from the message Abby was trying to convey is that AWS provides managed services, which allow customers to focus only on workloads, and not on the heavy lifting of managing the underlying infrastructure. Being able to architect these systems correctly will allow for application execution that is secure, scalable, and reliable. This, of course, is something everyone wants.

8. 21st century architectures on the Cloud

“For every two orders of magnitude increase in a system’s users, you will most likely need to change the architecture fundamentally.” – Werner Vogels
In line with the latest best practices concerning this topic, you should follow a series of principles when designing systems that are meant to run on the cloud: i) stop guessing capacity needs, ii) test systems at the production scale, iii) automate to make architectural experimentation easier, iv) allow for evolutionary architectures, v) drive your architecture using data, and vi) improve through game days.

9. Virtual and augmented reality for everyone

AWS announced Amazon Sumerian during the AWS re:Invent Midnight Madness kick-off event, which basically means that things are about to seriously accelerate in the Virtual Reality (VR) department. Until now, creating realistic virtual reality environments required specialised skills and the use of many different tools. Not anymore! Amazon Sumerian enables any developer to quickly and easily build virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D applications for a variety of popular hardware platforms. We’re excited to see what all these new VR possibilities will bring about.

10. Media services

AWS also announced an integrated suite of AWS Media Services that aim to facilitate the production of reliable, flexible, and scalable video offerings in the cloud. There’s no doubt that we all expect the highest quality video experiences, which will be delivered securely and reliably to any device we choose to consume our media on. Previously, however, the procurement of specialised broadcast equipment was expensive and the equipment itself was rather inflexible, slow in terms of adapting to new device platforms, difficult to scale to meet times of peak user demand, and lacked support for the latest video formats, resolutions, and streaming techniques. AWS Media Services eliminate the need to procure such rigid and expensive equipment for data centres. We’re hoping this means seamless streaming services for us all.

This is list isn’t exhaustive as AWS launched nearly 30 products and services during the span of AWS re:Invent 2017.

AWS is definitely a trailblazer in the cloud innovation category. And it sure seems as though they’re aiming to corner the cloud computing market. We have no doubt that they’re well on their way to succeeding.

It’s looking as though the cloud computing evolution will keep us on the edge of our seats in the coming years.

Did you pick up on any other emerging trends at AWS re:Invent? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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