On February 19, Amazon Web Services (AWS) organised the AWS Cloud Day in Jaipur. AWS solution architects, industry veterans and startups took to the stage to discuss Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), SAP, migration, cloud architecture, and how Amazon’s Cloud solutions are helping startups scale. The event was packed with the latest AWS announcements, great customer stories, and breakout sessions for users with different levels of technical proficiency.
Digital innovation and transformation on Cloud
The event began with the keynote by Harshad Satam, Manager - Territory Business, AWS, where he spoke about how AWS is enabling customers to innovate. According to him, innovation helps create user experiences that are exemplary. Harshad also said that in this realm, the opportunities are limitless, and it has been pretty successful.
"Our mission is to be a customer-centric company," said Harshad, talking about how AWS always starts with the customer while building any product. AWS has 14 leadership principles, the first being customer obsession, and the last being 'deliver results'. “If you start with the customer, the results will automatically follow," he added.
Harshad also said that at AWS, they believed that almost all decisions are two-way door decisions that encourages users to experiment frequently with minimum loss. Ninety percent of their roadmap is driven by customers who suggest a service. Harshad added when any customer asks them to build a particular service, it’s not just available to that customer, but to all their customers.
"We are here to enable innovation for everyone by creating a self-service platform for you to try, build products, solve problems, address markets and customers. It’s never been a better time to build," said Harshad.
Customer success stories
There are several organisations who have leveraged AWS Cloud services and scaled their businesses. Among them is MyTeam11, which migrated their entire application on AWS to take control of their stack. Nitish Bugalia, Head of Product and Strategy of the company, said the reason they chose AWS was because of its in-class support system, the training offered, built-in security features, and a customer-first mindset. "The rapid prototyping helps us fail fast and learn fast, which results in direct cost savings and a shorter cycle time."
Gamezop is another customer that is leveraging the AWS platform because of its massive developer community, its customer-centric approach, and pricing.
"While all of us want to make great apps, we also want to find out the cost incurred. AWS has clear pricing models which meet your code practising needs,” said Yashash Agarwal, co-founder of the company.
Vaibhav Global Limited also faced several challenges while using private cloud servers in terms of scalability and support. Mahesh Khandelwal said it’s important to choose the right partner, technology and sizing, and it is for this reason that they went with AWS. "Migrating to AWS was seamless. We received autoscaling support to manage multiple loads, so that the website doesn’t slow down."
AWS AI and ML services
The next session by Suman Debnath, Principal Developer Advocate, AWS, covered the AI and ML services provided by AWS.
“Our objective is for developers to have enough access to AI and ML tools to make the best use of their work," he said.
AWS has the broadest and deepest set of ML services which scales and caters to a broad segment of customers, from large enterprises to startups.
They have divided their ML services into three layers - AI services for application developers, ML services to build ML models, and an ML framework and infrastructure for ML experts and practitioners.
Suman also spoke about their newest service, Amazon Kendra, a highly accurate and easy-to-use enterprise search service that's powered by ML. "Amazon Kendra can help you build a search engine for your organisation. It's very efficient as you don’t have to write any code," he said.
AWS Cloud economics
"A lot of customers want to save cost, which is a good intention. But what's the mechanism to put in place to deliver tangible results?" said Harshad Satam in his next session on financial management in the cloud. "Saving cost is not just a statement in the organisation, it becomes a part of your cloud operations journey," he added.
AWS provides mechanisms in terms of better pricing models to optimise cost and resources. Harshad spoke about the four pillars to manage cloud cost - See, Save, Plan and Run. Tag your resources, look at the cloud monitoring console and see how much you're spending. You can monitor AWS cost per delivery and check if you have any unused IP that is being charged.
There are also features like AWS Budgets, which helps you set budgets for projects and get proactive alerts if you exhaust the limit. "The tools are readily available, you just need discipline to optimise cost," he said,
AWS Cloud security and governance
Suman Debnath took another session on security and governance on AWS Cloud. "People don't spend much on security unless they are hit. Security is the most important aspect in the cloud," he said.
AWS has shared responsibility when it comes to security. Their full-stack services are built with sophisticated and secure infrastructure so that users can focus on their business. Suman said that conforming to security best practices and compliance is also taken care of for all customers - be it an established organisation or a startup. They also save all their logs for a period of ten years. The AWS security team gets around 10,000 incidents in a year, but 97 percent of the time it’s resolved automatically through their services.
"The more managed services you take, the more control we have in terms of security standards, so you don’t have to worry about compliance to build your application," said Suman.
Migrating SAP and purpose-built database on AWS
In the next session, John Jeevakumar, Associate Consultant, AWS ProServe, highlighted what aspects to consider while moving SAP workloads to AWS.
Compared to other platforms within the market, John said that with the virtue of being the first cloud provider to partner with SAP, AWS stands out in terms of the number of partners, market performance and certifications. He also delved into a purpose-built database for modern applications and said that scale, performance and availability are the three parameters you should look at when checking what kind of database fits your requirement.
Building a SaaS/ISV solution on AWS
Abhishek Mahanty, Senior Solutions Architect, AWS, took a session on why an increasing number of SaaS players are building their products on AWS. He said that there's a lot of commonality between what SaaS and AWS has to offer, including pay-for-what-you-use, work with resources on-demand, build highly durable services, scalability, and so on. Abhishek added that the three main reasons why you should consider building your SaaS solution on AWS is because of its flexibility, a subscription-based usage and innovative services.
Abhishek spoke about what makes SaaS applications different from the regular applications. In SaaS, you have multiple user tenants and AWS helps you focus on your core IP and not on ancillary aspects. "Scale and security are important, but we bring the tenancy flavour to the conversation," he said.
Containers, serverless and data lakes in AWS
Saira Shaik, Senior Technical Account Manager, AWS took a session on containers and serverless on AWS and how it helps accelerate modern deployment. Saira also spoke about the operational model in AWS. As customers have several aspects to take care of including capacity, cost, security, compliance, competitors, they didn’t want to burden them with operations. They realised that customers want to build the application, and not the infrastructure, and AWS takes care of that by ensuring that your application guides the infrastructure.
Saira also delved into data lakes and analytics on AWS and how it helps turn data into insights. Because of the explosion of data from multiple sources, the challenge is how much to store, who can access it, how to present the data to the right audience, its accuracy, and so on. Data lakes solves this by ensuring that data is in silos. "You can do analytics faster and get the best performance at low cost. Also, because we're integrated with a lot of third-party tools and partners in the marketplace, it's more secure," she said.
AWS training and certification
The event concluded with a talk by Saurabh Bhattacharya, Senior Technical Trainer and Evangelist, AWS, on how you can accelerate cloud transformation through training. The world's most valuable resource today is data - it's the new oil. With the pace at which innovation is increasing, it’s necessary to have talent and skills to enable that innovation. Saurabh said that 66 percent of IT decisionmakers said there’s a gap between team skills level and the required knowledge level to achieve organisational objectives.
To bridge the gap, AWS is providing new services and features, which results in improved return on investment.
"You get 80 percent faster time-to-market, 4.7x profitability, you are 4.4x more likely to overcome operational talent, and there is a 30 percent improvement in employee satisfaction. Training is not an expense, it’s an investment," he said.
All of AWS’s training material is developed by AWS experts who have created the technology themselves. They have over 500 courses available for specific domains, skill levels and roles, to access anywhere, anytime. AWS also provides classroom training, with laboratory sessions, to help prepare you for real-time challenges.
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