Amazon Web Services Summit London 2018


Last week I decided to brave the public transport system and venture into London’s Docklands for the 2018 Amazon Web Services Summit. Bigger than ever before, it’s now spread across two days, with the first day purely for public sector organisations, while the second day is open to everyone.

Travelling in, it quickly became very obvious just how big a deal the AWS Summit is – crowds of eager summit-goers queued six people deep the whole length of a platform, waiting to get onto a tube to take them to the ExCel conference venue. Thankfully, the sun was shining on England’s capital, so the crowds remained in good spirits and we all eventually boarded. Last years’ registration delays had clearly been taken into account as we were ushered into an enormous conference hall filled with dozens of registration booths, which quickly issued our passes, giving us access to the event.

Thousands of people thronged the hallways, and the keynote speech by Dr Werner Vogels, the AWS CTO was being streamed from the auditorium to the 6 separate event theatres (all of which were full), as well as live streamed to remote viewers.

Dr Vogels began by reflecting on how far the summits have come since the first London event in 2011, and how much their product set has evolved over the years. These products have evolved to meet the needs of customers as we journey through the digital revolution, and AWS aim to provide all the tools that customers require to build the applications that they need.

Just as the AWS product set has evolved, so too have the architectures that are used to run cloud native applications. These architectures now tend to be serverless, with more businesses turning to software-defined infrastructure to meet their growing needs for business agility, flexibility and cost-efficiencies. Serverless applications have many advantages – not least of which is not having to worry about creating and managing virtual servers to run applications.

Software-Defined Infrastructure – the way forward

While the focus of the keynote was obviously on the AWS public cloud, Dr Vogels did mention that some of their products can be easily linked to on-premises environments like private clouds to enable a hybrid infrastructure. Of course everyone knows that public cloud offers many benefits to businesses, but there will be times that an on-premises, private cloud solution might be better suited to enterprise organisations. Whether you are concerned about data security, data sovereignty, have legacy applications that aren’t suited to public cloud, or just have existing IT infrastructure that you don’t want to write off immediately, an on-premises software-defined infrastructure can be invaluable.

SAP S4/HANA – to the cloud, and beyond

A theme that was in frequent discussion around the Summit was migrating SAP to the cloud. As thousands of SAP customers face the requirement to upgrade to S4/HANA by 2025, the SUSE and AWS partnership is one way to achieve this without having to commit to vast amounts of capital expenditure. If you’re not sure how best to approach your SAP upgrade, simply follow Geeko the Chameleon and ask SUSE.

Overall, it’s clear that Amazon Web Services continues to go from strength to strength, and that the ecosystem surrounding them continues to grow. Whether you’re looking at public cloud or on-premises, one thing is for sure – Software-Defined Infrastructure is the way forward for businesses of all sizes to help them to react quickly to changes in market conditions and customer demand, while retaining the flexibility that businesses today need.


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Matthew Johns I have over 20 years' experience in the IT, cloud and hosting industry gained in a variety of roles spanning project management to product release and product marketing. I’m responsible for product marketing for SUSE OpenStack Cloud, and have been working with OpenStack since it was released in 2010. Outside of work, I enjoy running, cycling, great beer (craft, cask, keg - call it what you like as long as it tastes good), spending time with my family, playing the piano and charity fundraising – I’ve been supporting the Movember Foundation since 2006, and have run multiple races, climbed mountains and cycled around the UK for many charities over the years.