AWS re:Invent and the 5 fronts of the cloud arms race

For the last six years running, the most important event in cloud computing has been AWS re:Invent, where the market leader announces its latest improvements. This year, 44,000 people descended upon a very crowded set of Las Vegas venues spread across multiple hotels for breakout sessions, certification exams, a diverse expo floor, and the all-important keynotes where the newest offerings were announced.

Increasingly, the public cloud arms race is being waged on four fronts, with a fifth quickly emerging. All five had a healthy set of announcements—here are some of the highlights.

1. IaaS/PaaS

AWS started the cloud revolution with its S3 object storage service in 2006, which was quickly followed by its EC2 compute offering and a set of other IaaS products. As time went by, PaaS services like load balancers, message queues, and databases emerged as key components as well. Both classifications of services are, of course, built on physical hardware that AWS organizes into availability zones and regions.

That physical footprint, AWS announced, will grow to span 22 regions and 107 point-of-presence locations for its edge-caching network by the end of 2018. AWS likes to point out that their definition of an availability zone spans multiple data centers, each of which is separated by a “meaningful difference,” which often is more elaborate than competitive offerings that use similar terms. The impressive part about this is that in its first 10 years, AWS made 11 regions available, and in the subsequent three doubled that number, which clearly speaks to the speed at which they can rack equipment.

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