AWS Doesn't Scale

  32,000 cloud enthusiasts packed the 2016 AWS re:Invent conference

32,000 cloud enthusiasts packed the 2016 AWS re:Invent conference

OK, OK...Before you go ballistic on me, I was only referring to convention center that hosted re:Invent, Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) annual conference.  This year 32,000 technologists descended on less than one square mile of the Las Vegas strip, compared to five years ago when there were only 4,000. 

While a packed convention center can’t scale at a moment’s notice, AWS seems to be scaling at an exponential rate.  Andy Jassey, CEO of AWS summed up the company's achievements in his keynote:

  • Revenue run rate of $13B 
  • Growing at 55% YoY
  • 1 million active customers

Compared to competitors, AWS also hosts the most tech start-ups, enterprise customers, government agencies, and non-profits. There seems to be no limit to AWS’ growth. They are leaving competitors and traditional IT companies that ruled the world just a few short years ago in their dust. 

We have been keeping our eye on Microsoft Azure as they are the clear (but somewhat distant) #2 in the public IaaS market.  But according to Gartner, even Microsoft is having trouble chasing AWS as they are reported to have 10x the computing capacity than the next 14 competitors!

New AWS services unveiled

  Andy Jassey, AWS CEO delivers keynote address

Andy Jassey, AWS CEO delivers keynote address

Among the list of impressive (and ridiculously huge) new ideas AWS unveiled was a truck sized data storage "device" called Snowmobile that can be driven right to your data center for those customers that have Exabytes of data that they want to move to the cloud.  The need for this service underscores the massive shift that enterprise companies want to make to the cloud and the enourmous amount of data that will make the shift there. 

Like past re:Invent conferences, AWS took this opportunity to announce tons of new services.  For a full list see:

Stratas, How’s my CAPA?

Some of the more interesting new services announced leverage the artificual intelligence and machine learning investments that AWS has been making. 

Amazon Rekognition - Deep learning services that can perform powerful image recognition, comparison, and identification of objects in images. 

Amazon Polly - Send it text, get back speech that understands language context to provide for a near human "discussion".

Amazon Lex - Lex is the technology behind Amazon Alexa.  Lex has powerful capabiliites around speech recognition and natural language understanding.  Send it spoken word and, well, get into a conversation!

Think about the possibilities these services could provide for the future of Sparta’s quality management products! 

"Stratas, can you tell me the status of the CAPA concerning the water leak in lab 5?"  "Yes, it is pending the approval of John Smith, would you like me to call him for you?"

Life Sciences and Healthcare Companies Continue Their Ascent into the Cloud

Once again, there was no shortage of activity around the life sciences and healthcare communities.  Day 1 kicked off with a Life Sciences track that was attended by several hundred people in "standing room only" sessions.   

J&J continues to be very visible in making significant progress against its previously stated goal to move 85% of its Apps to the cloud by 2018.  This year they all but eliminated the need to provision machines for contractors and call center agents.  Instead, contractors bring their own devices and J&J auto provisions a secure virtual desktop for their use.  Over 10,000 have been deployed company wide.

Other presenters included:

  • Merck, who detailed their "continuous compliance."  It’s a capability that monitors the system, alerts on non-compliance, and is working towards self-healing compliance issues. 
  • Amgen on its two-year journey building an analytics data lake on AWS.
  • And Celgene discussing its use of AWS to provide collaborative scientific research platforms.

But my favorite presentation was by a pharma company headquartered in Japan who described their recent implementation of a very well-known quality management system on the AWS platform (wink wink).  The presenter described how they used modern automation techniques to streamline IQ work and challenged the audience to rally around these techniques as a best practice.  We agree 100%!

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    AWS re:Invent Hands-On Workshop

AWS re:Invent Hands-On Workshop

Reaffirming AWS as Sparta’s Cloud QMS Partner of Choice

Despite the large crowds that made navigating the conference frustrating at times, this was a great week full of meaningful announcements and valuable interactions with other techies. More importantly, it reaffirmed Sparta’s decision to partner with AWS to run Stratas Supplier Collaboration and Stratas Quality Management solutions.  

The choice was driven by AWS’ leadership in life sciences, their breadth of services, and pace of innovation.  And of course, AWS CAN SCALE!