Conference Name Suggests the Events Overarching Theme

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-07-17

Amazon Web Services Sheds Light on 're:Invent' User Conference

SEATTLE €” Cloud computing leader Amazon Web Services shed a little more light on its upcoming first-ever user conference, re:Invent, which will be held in Las Vegas at the end of November.

The re:Invent conference, which will run Nov. 27 through 29 at Las Vegas€™ Venetian casino and resort, will host AWS customers from around the world in a first-ever gathering of customers, partners, developers and others that make up the AWS ecosystem, Adam Selipsky, vice president of marketing, sales, product management and support at AWS, told eWEEK.

€œWe€™re very excited to be holding our first global user and partner conference at the end of November in Las Vegas,€ Selipsky said. €œIt€™s something we€™ve talked about for a number of years and had strong demand from customers and partners.€

The event will be done in the Amazon way€”with a focus on the customer, he said.

€œWe€™re trying to put this conference together in an Amazonian and AWS fashion, in that we€™re trying to put our customers first,€ Selipsky said. €œWe€™re going to feature a lot of customers. We€™ve got customer speakers such as Tom Soderstrom, the CIO of NASA€™s JPL [Jet Propulsion Lab], Reed Hastings from Netflix, old-time AWS startup stalwarts like Don MacAskill from SmugMug. He€™s been with us from the very beginning€”a private beta customer of S3 [Amazon Simple Storage Service] in early 2006.€

AWS has done smaller events€”mini-conferences, if you will, and will continue to do daylong AWS sessions in various locations. The company has held these AWS summit events in New York, London and San Francisco. €œThey were broken down into mini-tracks and they start to look like mini-conferences,€ Selipsky said. €œBut this is our chance to bring our entire community worldwide all together with a lot of folks from AWS, a lot of partners and a lot of customers.€

One example of the type of experience AWS hopes will be helpful to others is the story of Cycle Computing, whose CEO Jason Stowe will talk about how the company spun up 50,000 cores of AWS for a molecular modeling task. They did 11 or 12 years of computing in just over three hours, and at no point did they spend more than $5,000 per hour. €œThat€™s a pretty phenomenal computing achievement,€ Selipsky said.

The event will feature more than 100 sessions, and they€™ll be broken down into multiple tracks, including big data and analytics, hosting Web applications, service-specific sections as introductions to various pieces of AWS, architecture sessions such as architecting for high availability, migrating enterprise applications to the cloud and more. AWS will list the sessions on the AWS re:Invent site later today.

Meanwhile, Selipsky said the conference€™s name sort of suggests the overarching theme of the event.

Conference Name Suggests the Events Overarching Theme


€œWe discussed the name pretty deeply,€ he said. €œThe name of the conference is re:Invent. That kind of says it all. The name intentionally has two meanings to it. The first is €˜regarding invention.€™ If you look at the whole startup community that€™s been on AWS and continues to be on AWS€”like the latest round of hot startups like Pinterest and Instagram€”there continues to be truly amazing invention happening on the platform with new companies springing up. And we want to highlight those kinds of companies. And we want to teach other companies how people are inventing on the AWS platform.€

The second meaning of the name is to reinvent or to invent again, Selipsky said. €œThis is particularly for a lot of our enterprise customers who have been doing IT for a very long time and are looking at how they can make their IT operations more capital-efficient, lower cost, more flexible and to allow their IT departments to say yes to their internal customers. There are a lot of important issues they need to deal with as they make that transition, such as how to deal with legacy infrastructures, how to deal with legacy applications, how to deal with legacy architecture and more. There will be a lot for decision makers of those companies in attendance to learn about how to reinvent the way they do IT and what cloud computing can mean to their companies.€

Asked about new competition in the market with Microsoft announcing its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) play, Google announcing its Google Compute Engine and Oracle and IBM coming into the fore, among others, Selipsky said AWS welcomes the competition, particularly from articulate, deep-pocketed companies that can help spread the word about cloud computing.

€œI think it€™s pretty clear that cloud computing is going to be a very large market segment and is an attractive business and will continue to be so for a long time to come,€ Selipsky said. €œAny time you have an attractive business you€™re going to have strong competition. I€™d be very worried if we didn€™t have strong competition because it would make me wonder if other people are seeing things that we weren€™t. So it€™s entirely unsurprising that there are a lot of competitors jumping into this area.€

Selipsky noted that at the end of the day there are likely to be multiple winners. "And I think in a large and attractive market segment, if we can be one of those winners, we can have an attractive business. And we don€™t feel like we have to be the only winner to have a great business," he said. "Our biggest competition today absolutely remains the server and the disk drive€”people doing IT the way they€™ve done it for the last 30 to 40 years. And I think that other companies with strong reputations and marketing and sales resources that can help educate customers and get more companies over the hump of understanding cloud computing will help the whole segment.€

However, Selipsky said that as an early pioneer in cloud computing, having been in the market for six years now with paying customers and having iterated many times on the platform, €œwe feel that we€™ve created and are maintaining a significant lead in terms of breadth of services, the depth of platform, and the history of operating with the platform.€

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