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Rob Hirschfeld: Key Takeaways From AWS re:Invent 2022

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Guest: Rob Hirschfeld (LinkedIn, Twitter)
Company: RackN (Twitter)

In this episode of TFiR Let’s Talk, Swapnil Bhartiya catches up with Rob Hirschfeld, CEO and Co-Founder of RackN, to provide an update on his experiences from AWS re:Invent 2022, held recently in Las Vegas. Hirschfeld goes into detail about some of the key topics and announcements from the event and his own key takeaways.

Key highlights from this video interview are:

  • AWS re:Invent was filled with enthusiasm and the mood was positive. Even though cost-cutting has generally been a hot topic, Hirschfeld felt that most of the discussion was around pull-back rather than cost-cutting.
  • While Amazon usually showcases a lot of innovation, this year Hirschfeld felt that their announcements were not as significant. Their key announcements were: limited cold starts for Lambda and the introduction of pipes for the events system. However, Hirschfeld found some of the announcements somewhat confusing. He explains why.
  • Amazon is undergoing a lot of leadership changes, so it is expected that there will be some reframing as a result of this. However, Hirschfeld says it is not clear whether the recently announced products are mission-driving products, whether they are building them for themselves or customers. He feels that more clarity is needed.
  • Big data, analytics, and observability dominated the floor at the event, in terms of spending and booth sizes of the major vendors in that space. Amazon’s keynotes and addresses also focused on improving data analytics in terms of new integrations for improving how the system connects together.
  • Hirschfeld explains that there were announcements around things that improved how ETL of data analytics was done, by breaking down the barriers between services. He believes this indicates how much data analytics is currently being done on Amazon and on AWS.
  • Complexity continues to be a theme at AWS re:Invent, yet Amazon is not announcing many ease of use or improved integrations. Service providers are also earning a lot helping customers navigate AWS and re:Invent, and Amazon is also doing more consulting services. RackN aims to help platform teams become more consistent and collaborative across different infrastructures to help deal with the complexity.
  • Emerging technology such as AI/ML and AR/VR were featured during the event but Hirschfeld did not feel like they were the primary focuses. While there was some IoT, it was mostly around AI/ML analysis rather than Outposts.
  • Hirschfeld notes that he saw some multi-cloud vendors only had their name on the booth without the names of the cloud components on it. He tells us that although Amazon has more acknowledgment of hybrid and multi-cloud over the past several years, there are still instances where vendors are wary of cross-promotion.
  • Although AWS re:Invent showcases open-source technologies that are being used, it is not an open source community show. So, in that respect, it is not like KubeCon which is often primarily focused on the open-source community.
  • Hirschfeld feels like Amazon is lagging behind Google and Microsoft in terms of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), even though it is doing well on data center efficiencies. Nonetheless, he tells us that they have a way to go with ESG components.

The summary of the show is written by Emily Nicholls.

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