So last week I had the pleasure of attending my second AWS re:Invent in sunny Las Vegas. Keynotes were listened too, breakout sessions were attended, and drinking and gambling occured.
One thing that stuck with me from the keynote by Amazon CTO, Werner Vogels (day 2) was the bold statement, not for the first time I think, that "the Cloud is the new normal". Why, you may ask, did this stick with me? Well it's basically because I think its simply not true.
Sure, there were 20,000 attendees to the event. Yes there were a multitude of sponsors ranging throughout the IT industry too, but in numerous conversations I had, and from listening to questions people were asking at some of the breakout sessions, it was obvious that many people were just starting to think about a journey into the Cloud.
Of course there were many old hands too, of which I consider myself, but we were/are the early adopters really. The ideas of distributed architecture, public cloud services, continuous delivery, and all the other buzzwords that are normal to me/us, are still "new shiny" to so many, and with "new shiny" there will still remain suspicious and nervousness.
You might disagree with me on this, but interestingly, the announcements made by AWS in the keynotes from AWS senior Vice-President, Andy Jassy, and also Werner Vogels actually illustrate the point that the Cloud is NOT the new normal.
Take for example, AWS Import/Export Snowball (pictured right). Here we have a physical device that can be connected to your local network which you can then copy up to 50TB on to, and then have shipped to AWS to be deposited into S3 aka "durable, scalable, "inifinite" cloud storage". The USP of this product - a product I think is great - is effectively about removing the barriers that businesses often face when it comes to Cloud entry.
If Cloud really is the new normal then you wouldn't need this product.
Then we have the AWS Database Migration Service. Again this is an awesome product. It's purpose is a cheap one-way migration of a database up to 1TB from on-premise into Amazon RDS. Hell it even has a Schema Conversion Tool to allow people to move from say Oracle and SQL Server (on-premise) to Amazon Aurora, MySQL, MariaDB, or PostgreSQL (in the Cloud).
Notice the common theme here? It's all about Cloud adoption and pulling business in by breaking down barriers to entry.
Again, if Cloud really is the new normal then you wouldn't need this product.
Next there's Amazon Inspector, an automated security assesment service that will scan deployed applications against rules, which handily includes a knowledge base of pre-defined rules mapped to the most common security compliance standards like PCI, DSS.
If there is one reason why some businesses have not yet adopted the Cloud it is concerns about compliance. Amazon Inspector removes that risk barrier to Cloud entry, as does another of the announcements, AWS Config Rules.
For want of repeating myself, if Cloud really is the new normal then you wouldn't need these product.
Don't misunderstand me here, I'm not being all down on the Cloud, far from it, as a long time user and certified professional on AWS I'm definitely a fan. However let's not get carried away. When it comes to "Enterprise" the Cloud is not the new normal because there is so much capital expediture still wedded to on-premise solutions.
I, for example, know of more than one large B2B enterprise that arguably operates at considerable scale where hand-rolling snowflake builds of infrastructure remains "the normal" and from conversations with others this is not uncommon at all.
I don't doubt that Cloud will become the "new normal" but right now it most defintely isn't, as many of the new AWS announcements illustrate.