Opening keynote at re:Invent 2020 highlights AWS plans for hybrid, edge, business intelligence and global expansion

For the better part of the past year, Amazon Web Services Inc. Chief Executive Andy Jassy had been reading plenty of news stories around how Microsoft Corp.’s Azure business was gradually eating into his company’s market dominance. By the time AWS re:Invent kicked off this morning, Jassy had plainly heard enough.

AWS’ leader made the point early in his keynote remarks that not only was his firm now the fifth-largest enterprise information technology company in the world, but the company only appeared to be growing more slowly because of its continued robust revenue generation over a lengthy period of time. AWS generated revenue of $35 billion over the last reported year, more than the next three largest cloud competitors combined.

“The point that Jassy is making is right on,” said Dave Vellante, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. “That’s the law of large numbers. You grow more slowly, but you throw off more revenue. Who would you rather be?”

Vellante spoke with theCUBE host John Furrier during the opening day keynote analysis during AWS re:Invent. They discussed the main messages from Jassy’s keynote, including plans for global expansion, the company’s hybrid strategy, a new foray into the business intelligence market and AWS’ dim view of multicloud. (* Disclosure below.)

Climbing the IT mountain

Jassy’s keynote set the tone for a number of broad themes and strategies that AWS intends to pursue in 2021. Among these was a clear interest in extending the cloud provider’s reach into global IT markets, given that 96% of compute remains on-premises, according to Jassy.

“Global IT was a really big part of the announcements,” Furrier noted. “The new mountain they’re going to climb is global IT spend. You’re going to see massive surge for those territories.”

Despite its legacy of providing extensive cloud services, AWS is continuing to expand its hybrid strategy. Among the announcements released on Tuesday was a set of enhancements for Outposts, the company’s on-premises offering, along with the opening of new Local Zones, bringing server farm regions closer to customers.

AWS also announced an expansion of Wavelength, which will let customers run latency-sensitive applications on colocated AWS hardware or at edge data centers of telco carriers.

This latter point highlighted a notable extension of AWS’ hybrid strategy. Jassy outlined a vision where customers consume an AWS hybrid solution using the same APIs and control planes as in AWS regions, including distribution to the edge.

“He was essentially announcing that hybrid was changing,” Furrier said. “That to me was the biggest signal.”

Ignoring multicloud

Despite AWS’ embrace of hybrid, multicloud does not appear to be in any of the company’s future plans. The firm has demonstrated a strong reluctance to even use the term, and Tuesday’s keynote offered no evidence that would soon change.

“What wasn’t said was the recognition that multicloud is an opportunity,” Vellante said. “Amazon does not currently see that as something that customers are clamoring for.”

In a clear play for the business intelligence market, Jassy announced the preview launch of QuickSight Q, a data query tool with natural language capabilities. The AWS chief executive expressed frustration about users’ inability to find the relevant data they need, preferring a search bar solution that sounded similar to what has been developed by companies such as ThoughtSpot Inc. and Tableau Inc.

“That reminded me of what ThoughtSpot is doing with search and AI,” Vellante said. “Amazon is doing what they can for its customers.”

Jassy’s pique at industry chatter that his turbocharged cloud race car may be slowing down shows that he may occasionally take at glance in the rearview mirror. Nevertheless, a key message from the AWS leader’s three-hour keynote was that the company plans to remain focused on the road ahead and the broader goal of global IT expansion.

“They are putting AWS everywhere,” Furrier said. “That was my takeaway.”

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of AWS re:Invent. (* Disclosure: Amazon Web Services sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither AWS nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: AWS/livestream

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