CEO Andy Jassy made a slew of announcements, many of which will impact the channel.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

December 1, 2020

4 Min Read

AWS re:INVENT VIRTUAL — Amazon Web Services revenue has exploded by $40 billion over the last four years. And the behemoth cloud computing provider continues to hold majority market share over competitors – 45%, according to Gartner. CEO Andy Jassy sees both trajectories continuing over the long term, due in large part to COVID-19.

“It will turn out that the pandemic accelerated cloud adoption by several years,” he said on Tuesday during a live keynote. AWS is holding its annual re:Invent conference throughout December, albeit virtually.

For AWS, organizations’ coronavirus-spurred transitions to the cloud have translated into 29% year-over-year revenue growth. AWS aims to keep boosting those numbers, and it has put together a range of services to help it do just that.

What’s New From AWS re:Invent

Over three hours, Jassy made numerous announcements related to containers, databases, storage, machine learning and on-premises capabilities. AWS also has enabled developer functions on the MacOS platform. Each of these pieces of news will speak to different channel partners, depending on their specialties.

One of the most intriguing proclamations ties to AWS rival Microsoft. (Which still maintains second place per Gartner and other analyst firms.) AWS clearly has Redmond in its sights and isn’t holding back. To that point, AWS has developed a function that understands SQL Server’s proprietary language and communications protocol. That, Jassy said, will enable SQL users to get out from under Microsoft’s ever-changing licensing agreements and rising costs.


AWS’ Andy Jassy

“Stop paying for SQL Server licenses you don’t need,” Jassy said.

AWS is making the tool available via open-source access. Combined, this all appears to represent a hefty threat to Microsoft.

“Customers are fed up with and sick of incumbents,” Jassy said.

Many partners also will find value in updates regarding AWS Connect, the company’s contact center platform. As organizations have sent more people to work from home during COVID-19, they need cloud-based contact center systems. AWS has responded to the demand by beefing up Connect’s skills. For example, the Wisdom component now delivers information to agents from various repositories, including Salesforce and ServiceNow. Plus, the Customer Profiles feature now personalizes customer service. And Contact Lens, the analytics element of AWS Connect, now issues real-time alerts. If a call is going awry, a manager will receive a notification and may coach an employee on the spot or take the call. Finally, there’s Tasks, which connects to Salesforce and Zendesk, and Voice ID, for caller authentication.

Contact Lens Real Time, Customer Profiles and Tasks all are available now. Users must register to the preview program to test Wisdom and Voice ID.

Outposts & Local Zones

Finally, Jassy unveiled a couple more hot tidbits that will impact a range of partners. First, one of the biggest complaints AWS has fielded over the past year about its on-premises Outposts product has focused on size. Users have had to make sure they have enough space to accommodate the racks. That eliminated potential customers such as restaurants, hospitals, retailers and factories, Jassy said. So, AWS responded. It now offers a pizza box-sized server and another that measures about two stacked pizza boxes. All Outposts functionality resides in those smaller forms.

In addition, AWS is adding to the number of Local Zones it operates. Local Zones bring computing power into large cities, reducing latency for bandwidth-heavy applications and users. Local Zones hit the market last year in Los Angeles, supporting filmmakers, graphic designers and video game makers. Boston, Houston and Miami all now join the Local Zones list. In 2021, AWS will put 12 more cities on the Local Zones map.

Both the Outposts and Local Zones enhancements open opportunity for the indirect channel.

Yet even while focusing on technology, Jassy did not overlook social issues. He acknowledged the year of racial upheaval that has marred the United States in 2020.

“We have a long way to go in the way we treat Black people,” he said, vowing that AWS is working to do better, too. Given that AWS stands as a leader in its category, it makes sense that the CEO would address this pressing issue. However, he did not discuss pending changes or improvements within AWS.

AWS will hold its global partner keynote on Thursday morning.

About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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