AWS Enterprise Summit – Live blog

Amazon Web Services gathered staff and clients together in November 2015 to discuss the adoption of cloud technology. Representatives of public and private companies of every size talked about their experiences with the Amazon cloud and showcased how this enabled them to transform their businesses.

10:17am: Gavin Jackson, UKIR managing director and leader of UK and Ireland at Amazon Web Services welcomed us to the AWS Summit.

10:30am: Keynote: Andy Jassy, senior VP of Amazon Web Enterprises, came on stage to explore the stages of Amazon’s way to the top. AWS run rate has increased to £8.4bn in the past decade. “Cloud computing has become the new normal,” he said.

AWS market has seen a dramatic growth over the past nine-and-a-half years. Over this period, Amazon has been offering its cloud services to start-ups and public sector customers, system integrators and enterprises that were “born or reborn in the cloud”.

The Amazon cloud has a broad geographical presence. During 2016, it will be expanding in India, Korea, Ohio and one more are in the UK, which Jassy was not ready to reveal. For each different region, they have a unique approach.

Why are companies flocking to the cloud so quickly? Jassy connected it with the movement from capital expense to the lowest variable expense, the increased agility, as well as the ability to go global in seconds.

“Cloud is about freedom and controlling your own destiny,” said Jassy, while going over the eight kinds of freedom the cloud is giving to its users.

  1. The freedom to build unfettered fast and agile working is a key component for the cloud.

Mark Hall, director of Aviva, the global IT operator and client of AWS, joined Jassy on stage.

“Working with the Amazon cloud was a question of necessity,” explained Hall, while he narrated his company’s 319-year old journey and its transition towards digital.

The two companies started their journey in 2014. According to Hall, they “started small, but scaled fast and grew”.

2.The freedom to get the real value from your data. Jassy shared more on subject of the freedom of the cloud. He said it is “cost effective” and “faster” than any other solution.

3. The freedom to get your data into or out of the cloud easily. AWS has recently launched the Kineses Stream, which companies migrate large volumes of data, as well as Snowball, which helps with storage appliance.

4. The freedom from bad (database) relationships.

5. The freedom to migrate.

Lebara chief technology officer, Richard Bastin joined Jassy to share his company’s experience with AWS.

“Working with the Amazon cloud was a question of necessity,” Bastin said. “Lebara, thanks to the AWS, has expanded in the domains of communication, entertainment, financial services and travel. More specifically, Lebara Talk, as well as Lebara Play, was built entirely on the Amazon cloud.”

Public perception of mistrust around the cloud seems to be changing, as confirmed by Bill Lucchini from cloud security of Sophos. “I think public perception is changing on its own. I can look in my sales numbers just from a few years ago and they are just going up in a very rapid rate,” said Lucchini.

6. The freedom to secure your cake and eat it too. Before, you had a choice between moving fast or staying safe, now you can both move fast and stay safe.

“We chose the Cloud in order to unlock our innovation ambition,” says Allan Brearley from Tesco Bank. “Start small and think big” is the motto of his company. Tesco Bank has been operating for 18 years and has found more innovative paths through the cloud.

In the light of high profile hackings of Sony and BT, cloud computing does not always look like the most secure choice. “The principle of the cloud is a shared responsibility model, part of that is done by the provider in terms of security and making sure the environments are isolated but is down to the customer to make sure that they follow the best practices in terms of security. This shared model should probably be the way forward,”said Lino Rangel, consultant at Cloudreach UK.

In order to tighten up access to data, Rangel proposes to businesses: “There are different permission levels or roles you can assign to people. You have developers, programmers, system administrators and others. You need to make sure you have different permissions they can scrape across the organization. You can define who accesses what and you can arbitrate and plan properly to make sure you get the best results.”

7.The freedom to say “yes”. Jassy proposed to its clients to do experiments, but not continue living with the failure of them. There are several start-ups that have been working with AWS, such as Air Bnb and Pariscope and others who have used the cloud as a driver for a digital transformation; to name a few: Unilever and iTV.

8. The freedom to control your own destiny. “People want control of their own destiny and that is what the cloud is helping you do,” Jassy reminded the guests.

In terms of retention and control of data, “you have to look at the terms of the vendor. There are vendors who own the data you put up on their cloud; I think that is the wrong thing to do,” advised Lucchini.

“In our solution, they do have control of the data, we just provide a tool for the customers to analyze the data and get more out of it,” explained Charles Stewart, general manager of Sumo Logic in EMEA.

11:40am: Talk with Lydia Leong, vice president and analyst at Gartner

Lydia Leong, vice president and analyst at Gartner, joined Jassy on stage to talk about Mode 1 and Mode 2 enterprises.

“The cloud allows businesses to take risks without large scale financial risks,” said Leong. According to her, the cloud is not a commodity; it is a way to transform the mindset of an organisation.

Leong gave the guidelines for success during this Summit. “Conceptive governance is what you should look into as a business, not control,” she advised organisations; as well as to always prefer to build private clouds instead of using public ones. She is a big supporter of Amazon’s cloud-native capabilities.

2:38pm: Breakout sessions

The panel join several of AWS’s customers from both the private and public sector.

“Amazon was really the only choice for us,” said Christopher Livermore from British Gas, while David Rogers from the Ministry of Justice announced: “In the next three years we are planning on using more and more Amazon services”.

Aviva’s Mark Hall said he was thankful for Amazon’s help to create a regulating work environment.

According to Amazon, security is not a feature, it is something essential for what they do; it is a shared responsibility between them and the clients.

5:01 pm: Accenture’s Narendra Mulani came on stage. “It doesn’t matter what business you are in, consumers have the same expectations,” he said.