The AWS re:Invent 2021 Expo Floor: Coolest Technologies in Cloud Services & Automation

My first time at AWS re:Invent was an incredible experience—and I’m not just talking about the parties. Unlike most newbies, I had the best possible guide: IOD’s CEO Ofir Nachmani, a 10-year re:Invent veteran. With his guidance and encouragement, I had four days of fun exploring the show floor, collecting swag (you can’t do that over Zoom!), attending keynotes from AWS and other industry leaders, and shaking hands with representatives from both leading cloud vendors and innovative startups.

With Ofir Nachmani, IOD's CEO

Part 1 of this four-part AWS re:Invent recap series explores some of the most exciting emerging technologies in cloud services and automation.

The cloud connectivity company Kong was a great place to start our visit given the way they seem to keep reinventing (or re:Inventing?) themselves. Software Architect Claudio Acquaviva and his colleagues showed us a demo of how Kong Enterprise Hybrid Mode makes it easier to connect microservices and APIs across a range of hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

The evolution of their solution over the last few years has not gone unnoticed: First named a Gartner Magic Quadrant visionary in Full Lifecycle API Management in 2018, Kong has now evolved to being named a full-fledged leader in 2021.

About the company: Kong is a cloud connectivity company, powering connections to build a reliable world. They are the creator and primary supporter of Kong, the most widely adopted open-source microservice API gateway. (Source: Konghq.com)

With their dazzling yellow-gold design and super-cute robot mascot, it was impossible to miss the Turbot booth—and we were glad we stopped by to explore their full-stack governance platform. 

With the increasing complexity of cloud configuration and control, Turbot provides a continuous compliance solution for companies of all sizes to keep up with specific standards, such as HIPAA, PCI, and NIST. Turbot offers a simpler solution for continuous compliance, both before and after an audit, including automated remediation.

About the company: Turbot provides real-time, automated configuration and control of software-defined infrastructures for enterprises. App teams can achieve agility with direct access to their favorite tools, while your enterprise ensures control with continuous security and compliance. (Source: Turbot.com)

The IOD team @awsreinvent 2021 💃 

Multi-cloud consultant Cloudreach was broadcasting episodes of their Cloudbusting podcast live from the re:Invent show floor while showcasing their cloud-migration solutions Cloudamize and Sunstone. 

Beyond having some of re:Invent’s coolest giveaways (including Lego sets and a limited Cloudbusting edition of Beats by Dre headphones), podcast topics were exciting and highly relevant, including the cloud-native enterprise, “decarbonize yr tech,” and sustainability and carbon footprints, along with a bonus episode on security implications of cloud trends.

About the company: Cloudreach is an independent multi-cloud services company. Their mission is to deliver the promise of the cloud and drive extensive value for their clients. They help enterprises build a new foundation for future growth through successful cloud transformation. Through their cloud-native experience, Cloudreach has built deep expertise in applying cloud technologies to unlock new possibilities. (Source: Cloudreach.com)

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Deep-diving into a demo of Sunstone, Cloudreach’s new hyperscale MSP platform, it was clear that this solution offers an intuitive platform to streamline, optimize, and even delegate ongoing management components to the MSP end customer.

 It was interesting to see how Cloudreach has built a platform that is not pure out-of-the-box SaaS but more of an ancillary solution developed to support their services’ customer base. 

However, these added-value MSP services also have the potential to be repackaged as an independent SaaS solution; future direction for Sunstone may depend on its parent company’s plans, given Cloudreach’s recent acquisition by leading European MSP Atos. 

 

Cloud security was very much on the agenda at the massive Presidio booth, hot on the heels of the veteran systems integrator’s collaboration with AWS and CloudStrike to release a unique Ransomware Mitigation Kit.

With ransomware-as-a-service becoming a growing threat, Presidio’s field CISO Dave Trader said in an interview with theCube’s Lisa Martin during AWS re:Invent that “the access to be able to launch attacks has become so simplified that the attacker level doesn’t have to be sophisticated.”

For a company like Presidio that’s been around for a while, partnering with AWS has helped it establish leadership in cloud and cyber; the company has also made a number of key acquisitions recently to cement that leadership role and pave the way for continued growth and expansion in cloud for 2022

About the company: Presidio is a global digital services and solutions provider accelerating business transformation through secure technology modernization. Extensive teams of engineers and solutions architects with deep expertise across cloud, security, networking, and modern data center infrastructure help customers acquire, deploy, and operate technology that delivers impactful business outcomes. (Source: Presidio.com)

Extract, transform, and load (ETL) refers to creating data pipelines that extract data from silos and make it available for analytics of all kinds. At Etleap’s booth, founder and CEO Christian Romming, along with company reps, demonstrated how their solution lets customers achieve perfectly functioning data pipelines far more easily than traditional methods. 

And in return, their reps were very excited to receive IOD’s super cool (if we say so ourselves😉) Kafka t-shirts!

The big plus of Etleap’s “ETL-as-a-service” solution is that it eliminates much of the engineering heavy lifting of setup, maintenance, and scaling. 

Like me, Etleap is a relative newbie at re:Invent; this was just their second time there, the first having been in 2019. As Romming explained, they’re helping companies cut down on engineering time and costs, letting users build and maintain highly available, scalable, and performant data lakes with a lot less effort. Etleap’s solution promises to bring time to value for data down to days, and currently integrates with 50+ data sources, making it easier to analyze data with less engineering burden.

Obviously, I didn’t attend re:Invent 2021 just for the swag. 

Image credit: @n2wsoftware

But I couldn’t help but notice that some of the top swag—plus daily draws for prizes like drones and Airpods (and more Legos!)—was coming from backup and disaster recovery solution provider N2WS (maybe the “BOOM!” on this adorable pop-up penguin is a hint at the need for a solid disaster recovery platform?). Even before the conference, N2WS gave away a full #AWSreInvent pass + $1000 to use on flights, hotels, or Vegas fun. 😀

Both Ofir and I enjoyed chatting with CEO Ohad Kritz and marketing VP Ezra Charm about their work with MSPs providing backup solutions for AWS—and beyond, since the company announced it was expanding its automated backup protection to Azure VMs earlier in 2021.

About the company: N2WS is the leading provider of enterprise-class backup, recovery, and disaster recovery solutions for Amazon EC2, RDS, Redshift, Aurora, and DynamoDB. Used by thousands of customers worldwide, Cloud Protection Manager is a preferred backup solution for Fortune 500 companies, enterprise IT organizations, and managed service providers operating large-scale production environments on AWS. (Source: N2WS)

Summary

Touring the show floor is always a great way to discover trends and see changes in the industry, large and small. As cloud evolves, the solutions we’re seeing from vendors seem to be going in two directions: innovative new capabilities built “on the shoulders” (so to speak) of previous developments, along with tools and platforms that promise to make it easier to handle some of the more challenging aspects of cloud (like compliance). 

Since creating great B2B cloud content is IOD’s bread and butter, staying on top of these trends–along with the pain points driving them—and gaining a sense of the current competitive landscape helps us understand and work with our clients even better to get their message across.

Stay tuned! This was just part one of four in our ultimate roundup of the expo floor highlights from AWS re:Invent 2021—focusing on technology innovators leading the field of cloud services and automation. Next up, Part 2: cloud security companies.

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