5 Things To Watch At AWS re:Invent 2018

The AWS Watchlist

Amazon Web Services doesn't like to telegraph big developments, and its flagship re:Invent conference often delivers genuine surprises around new products and programs coming to the world's largest public cloud.

In recent years, AWS has used re:Invent as a forum to introduce a slate of new artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, DevOps and database technologies. The conference has also given partners their first looks at important changes coming to the AWS Partner Network channel program, including new certifications designed to encourage specializations that differentiate solution providers.

As the AWS community descends on Las Vegas this week, the seventh annual re:Invent seems primed to provide some major announcements that will lead to new opportunities for AWS partners.

Here are five topics that could generate headlines over the next week.

Artificial Intelligence

In the lead-up to last year's re:Invent, there was a general impression that AWS needed to catch up to Google and Microsoft in the race to deliver artificial intelligence.

The cloud leader didn't disappoint, dropping a slew of new AI products at the conference that made clear it wasn't prepared to cede ground in one of the industry's most-heated battlefronts.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy introduced Amazon SageMaker, a modular service allowing customers to build machine-learning models, train algorithms, and host them in different environments. SageMaker was accompanied by a set of new audio, video and language-processing services.

Going into re:Invent 2018, AWS has already revealed SageMaker Workflows, adding automation, orchestration and collaboration features for creating machine-learning pipelines.

But it's likely that's just the appetizer as AWS looks to maintain its progress with upgrades of existing AI services, or even an entirely new offering.

There could also be some news related to custom AI processors.

In February, reports surfaced that Amazon was working on developing its own AI chips to enable Echo speakers to better compete against devices from Apple and Google.

If true, that custom hardware could find its way into other products, including AWS instances geared for running machine-learning workloads.


AWS isn't particularly aggressive when it comes to buying companies to bulk up its portfolio. The cloud leader likes to develop its cloud capabilities organically and doesn't have a track record of multibillion-dollar deals of the kind we've seen play out across the industry in recent years.

For that reason, AWS' annual conference hasn't been used as a showcase for new products stemming from integrations of acquired technologies.

But with several show-stopping deals of late by the likes of Microsoft, IBM, Salesforce and Google, it's interesting to see if AWS will buck that trend.

With unprecedented consolidation happening in the cloud market, Amazon might want to do something that's out of the norm—like reveal a strategic acquisition.

Partner Programs

AWS typically introduces new accreditation tracks ever year at re:Invent for partners looking to boost their skills delivering the latest and greatest technologies available on its cloud platform.

Leading into re:Invent 2018, AWS has unveiled an AWS Certified Machine Learning training and certification program. The new curriculum involves Machine Learning University—self-paced courses for developers, data scientists, data platform engineers and business professionals

More training opportunities and accreditations will likely be revealed at the AWS Global Partner Summit.

At last year's Summit, AWS Channel Chief Terry Wise unveiled a rebranding of the AWS Channel Reseller Program to the AWS Solution Provider Program, along with incentives to improve that program by making it easier for partners to participate, access support and contract with AWS.

At re:Invent 2017, AWS also introduced a tiered incentive structure within the program to target and highlight partners with specific competencies, such as DevOps and migration.


The relationship between the leading public and private cloud providers has been moving forward at lightning speed.

VMware Cloud on AWS was still in its infancy at re:Invent 2017, having only hit the market a few months earlier in limited regions.

Now the hybrid cloud service is global and, by most accounts, thriving.

A few months after a significant price cut for VMware Cloud on AWS was revealed at VMworld 2018, it'll be interesting to learn more about how that ground-shaking partnership proceeds.


Two years ago, at re:Invent 2016, AWS lifted the curtain on AWS GreenGrass, an Internet of Things platform enabling developers to build powerful applications running locally on edge devices.

IoT remains one of the hottest segments of the cloud market—especially as it merges with artificial intelligence.

Going into this year's conference, AWS revealed an important customer win in the IoT arena—autonomous vehicle company Mobileye selected AWS as its preferred public cloud provider, with plans to use its edge services for data analytics in its self-driving cars.

Last week, AWS also introduced upgrades—including an option for local GPUs—for Snowball Edge, which uses AWS Lambda for local data processing on AWS Snowball migration devices.