4 DECEMBER 2017 | 3 min

Weolcan at AWS re:Invent 2017 - Day 4

By Koen van Schijndel


After DJ Shiftee welcomed the audience with some early-morning beats, AWS CTO Werner Vogels was welcomed to the stage. Vogels decided to structure his keynote around reflecting on the vision he stretched during his keynote at re:Invent five years ago, in 2012, which at that time, did not contain any new announcement or features. Therefore, Vogels started by saying: "if you're only here for new announcements, than please leave now, because there won't be any....naah, actually there might be one or two". Since our minds were already blown by all the new announcement that were made by Andy Jassy the day before, we were happy to sit back, relax and enjoy Vogel's vision and enthusiasm! In this blog we wil provide you with a brief summary.

Technology Drivers have changed

The general availability of hyperscale public cloud platforms have changed today's technology drivers. Vogels mentioned that everyone nowadays has access to the same compute, storage and network capacity. Together with the fast pace of innovation on these public cloud platforms, this led Vogels to indicate four major technology drivers that should be leveraged:

  • Data. Data quality and the way data is used has become a distinctive competency.
  • IoT. IoT capabilities on public cloud platforms allow for a whole new set of systems to become connected.
  • P3-instances. Instances that come with a GPU that allow to execute neural networks in realtime.
  • Deep Learning Frameworks: Machine Learning frameworks such as MXnet and TensorFlow are more and more integrated into public cloud services, which makes Machine Learning efforts easier and more accessible.

Machine versus Human centric Interfaces

Vogels continued his keynote by addressing the "digital access to date". For a long period of time, we've worked with machine-centric interfaces to interact with machines. Think of a keyboard and mouse for your PC and the touchscreen on your phone. Vogels argues that, focusing on these machine-centric interfaces, we have lost track on regular communications with digital systems, making interactions with unneccesarily complex in some cases. Therefore, Vogels envisions all interactions to be moving from machine-centric to human-centric, in which for example 'voice' and maybe even 'smell' will be used to interact with systems. Some examples of why we need human-centric interaces that were provided by Vogels, are:

  • Imagine baking pancakes. Vogels always forgets how many milliliters go in a 'cup'. This means washing your hands, unlocking your phone and Google for a conversion table. Wouldn't it be way easier to ask AWS Alexa to help you with that?
  • You can give your grandma and grandpa an iPad to be able to Skype with you. And they will! But, at the same time, this is probably the only thing they will do as the rest is too complicated. If they can see to the iPad what they want to do, controlling the device all of a sudden becomes way more easy.

Architecting with the Well-Architected Framework

Some time ago, AWS introduced the 'Well-Architected Framework' to provide some guidance in properly architecting for cloud. AWS has done a lot of work to furhter improve the framework which led Vogels to again emphasize its importance. In particular, Vogels paid attention to security, which is one of the pillars of the framework: "security was and will remain the number 1 investment area for AWS. Security becomes before all other features". Moreover, Vogels indicates security to be 'everyone's job', to be able to align the pace of protection with the pace of innovation. The traditional security team does not suffice anymore; when working in a DevOps-environment, development should become part of 'security' as well. Fortunately, a lot can be automated in the area of security leveraging tools and services on the platform.

Business logic is all the code that we'll write in the future is business logic

Vogels concluded his keynote by saying that "all the code that we'll write in the future, will be business logic". With the amount of services on the public cloud platforms increasing, the need for coding functionality decreases and architectures start to like more and more like business processes. In a workshop for example, Christian created a service desk pipeline for Weolcan using all standard building blocks and a GUI to model this process. So, no more custom code, but start leveraging out-of-the-box cloud services!

Want to learn more?

Christian and Koen were at AWS re:Invent 2017 in Las Vegas last week. Check our blog for new updates in the upcoming months and follow us on Twitter.


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