A couple of weeks ago Shine attended an exclusive Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Roundtable, AWS Partner day, and open-to-all AWS Summit day in Sydney. In this post – the first of three – I’m going to talk about my experiences at the Roundtable and the Partner day.

The Round Table

My trip to Sydney got off to a rocky start – over the two days of the conference Sydney experienced some of its worst storms in the last 30 years. I thought I was fairly clever booking a room in the hotel where the Partner Day was going to be held, but of course the Partner Roundtable was being held at the Amazon offices a few blocks away. Luckily I didn’t get too wet, and was greeted by hot coffee and a nice selection of pastries to help me settle into the mornings discussions.

The gathering was small, and though I didn’t count, I would say there were less than 15 partners invited from across Australia and New Zealand, with a few empty seats due to the weather. As this session was invite only and covered by an NDA there’s not much I can discuss, but I will say that the AWS Partner managers in attendance were extremely friendly, engaging, and interested in helping. I’ve recently been emailed notes from the roundtable, so they were obviously listening too.

The Partner Day

The main Partner day got off to an interesting start with a mime playing music with lasers. Yes, you read that right. Here’s a picture:


Next, Stefan Jansen (Head of Channels and Alliances) and Mike Clayville (VP of Marketing, Sales, Pdt Mgmt, & Support) delivered the Partner Keynote with the main theme that Cloud Has Become The New Normal. Whereas a few years ago businesses needed convincing to move to cloud services, it’s now their default position – businesses now think Cloud First. It was certainly interesting to see the rapid growth and innovation that AWS is undergoing, with over 1 million active customers, S3 usage growing 192% year on year, and EC2 usage growing 93% year on year. Below are a few graphs that illustrate:


After the Keynote, Dr. Kevin McIsaac (IBRS) spoke about trends in computing and how Cloud is going to fully replace Wintel/Lintel, just as Wintel/Lintel replaced previous approaches.


Dr McIsaac suggested that we will see development of web native apps that autoscale and self heal, and Desktop as a Service (DaaS), a self-service workspace with SaaS and AppStreams. This future will be driven by cloud adoption and the benefits it brings, such as self-service, capacity on-demand, pay-as-you-go, commodity pricing, and location & device independence.

While I can see the direction he’s driving at, I was surprised there was no mention of mobile devices. Even though the Tablet market seems to have plateaued and corporate adoption is still in its infancy, I wonder if the future is perhaps more mobile and connected rather than tethered to a desktop. I can’t help feeling that DaaS (and Google’s Chromebook for that matter) seems a little too much like the old dumb terminals of 30 years ago.

After the Keynote there was a short break and then it was on to the various streams. Given this was a Partner Summit, the majority of these were geared towards building a business around AWS and how to sell its various offerings.

Next, there was the invite-only Partner cocktail party at the ArtHouse Hotel. This was a small gathering of about 10 partners from the Roundtable, and about 10 AWS staff from Australia and the US.

I had an interesting discussion at one point in the night, about how Amazon are leading a push to get partners to stop using EC2 instances for databases and use AWS services like RDS and DynamoDB instead.

It seems as though DBAs are feeling a little threatened by the simpler offerings of AWS. From Shine’s point of view, we’ve always believed in using the right tool for the job, and we’ve found that in most cases the built in features provided by RDS (scalability, snapshots, multi-AZ, etc) easily outweigh the ability to micromanage a database on an EC2 server. I’m sure there are use-cases for a database on EC2, but going back to the theme of Cloud Has Become The New Normal I would think that RDS (and DynamoDB) would be the default position.

After a few drinks, some pizza, and lots of great conversation, I wandered back to the Hotel to get a good nights sleep for the main event – the AWS Summit at the Horden Pavillion, which I will cover in my next post.

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