AWS re:Invent - A Musical Review of the 2017 Keynote

Written by: Kelly Andrews

I took a couple hours today to watch the live stream of the AWS re:Invent keynote with Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS. The sheer number of announcements is staggering, setting AWS apart yet again as a leader in the space.

The general theme of the keynote itself was freedom of choice for developers, comparing technology builders to musicians/composers. Essentially, both want to have the freedom to use the right tool to deliver a product to their particular audience with no restrictions. While the analogy might have some holes (for me personally), it did set the stage for the musical theme. For each of the broader topics, a house band played a related cover.

A deeper thread in the entire keynote was more of a call to action for anyone not using the cloud in general. With rapid innovation from AWS within the cloud space, the functionality in the cloud is only going to get more sophisticated. Companies not already utilizing the cloud will continue to see competition become better equipped for today’s technological demands.

Some of my favorite highlights are the following (in no particular order):

  • Amazon Aurora Serverless DB

    • What a great feature to add for Lambda. This will really propel the world of serverless for the better. Can’t wait to experiment.

  • Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes

    • Falling in line with the competition, this announcement comes as no surprise, but it is of high value. Couple that with the Fargate announcement as well, and this is going to be really powerful for cloud computing.

  • AWS DeepLens

    • I haven't gotten into machine-learning too much yet, but this device really makes me want to. The demonstration from Dr. Matt Wood, where the camera could recognize album covers and facial responses, was very fun to watch.

I could go on for hours about the new updates and announcements, but you can go check them all out yourself on the Amazon blog.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a couple passions, one of which is music. Naturally, what I really want to focus on are the musical choices at AWS re:Invent. As I mentioned earlier, each new topic was introduced with a relevant song. A great segue between thoughts, I believe.

Lauren Hill - Everything Is Everything\_dOWYHS7I

Originally released May 4, 1999, "Everything Is Everything" came out in the time of Columbine, Lance Armstrong’s first “win,” and Barbie turning 40. It truly classifies the late `90s hip-hop scene, with its orchestral hits, rolling beat, and mixture of tight harmonies and fluid rapping (TLC is another that comes to mind). The song also featured a teenage John Legend, which is really cool.

The basis of the song's message is that everything is influenced by everything else. Less of a message around hopelessness, more about acceptance of change and things not being in your control.

Kelly's bottom line

Lauren Hill truly is an incredible artist. Great song and message.

re:Invent theme

AWS used "Everything Is Everything" to introduce its vast array of technologies and products. As a technology builder, they give you everything for everything -- something we all want for sure.


George Michael - Freedom! `90

Released October 30, 1990, what an absolutely amazing song. I can almost recall when I heard this song for the first time. The opening percussion and piano riff with a bass line filling out the bottom -- just intoxicating. To me, this is one of those songs that are just timeless.

The song itself was about the relationship between George Michael and his recording studio. This led to one of the most iconic music videos of all time, where George Michael didn’t actually show his face. Instead, a series of supermodels lip-synced the entire video, with some torched leather and an exploding guitar and jukebox to really make things interesting.

Kelly's bottom line

The song is iconic, the video, maybe even more so.

re:Invent theme

At re:Invent, the line I don’t belong to you, and you don’t belong to me was specifically highlighted. The focus of this theme was on data services and how you get to choose the right tool. AWS has several and added several more -- definitely a free choice here.


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Foo Fighters - Congregation

I am not a huge Foo Fighters fan. Not saying that I dislike them -- it's more that I don’t know all of their songs. Based on the amount of Disney songs I now have committed to memory, you should know what music I listen to most these days. However, every Foo Fighters song I listen to I love, and continually question why I haven’t listened to more.

This song has it all: rocking guitar, amazing percussion, and Dave Grohl’s voice. This song is the latest release of all the music presented at re:Invent (October 31, 2014). Foo Fighters also happens to be one of Andy Jassy’s favorite bands.

Kelly's bottom line

Clearly, I need to listen to more Foo Fighters, more often.

re:Invent theme

The topic that went along with this song centered around analytics and data lakes. In other words, the congregation of data.


Eric Clapton - Let It Rain

I grew up listening to Eric Clapton, and this song was one of my biggest influences while learning to play guitar. “Let it Rain” is one of Clapton’s earliest solo releases from his first album in 1970.

All the classic sounds of the `70s are here: long solos, driving bass, and absolutely rocking sound. I’m a huge fan of this era of rock ‘n' roll, and “Slowhand” does not disappoint here either with his solo at the end -- just classic Clapton.

Kelly's bottom line

You can’t get enough Clapton. A true controller.

re:Invent theme

For the “Let It Rain” theme, data was the focus, as this topic was about machine-learning. This theme also seems to have the largest product launch of all. No surprise since machine-learning is a hot trend, and supporting it only makes sense.


Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - The Waiting\_mOg

I find myself almost emotionally attached to any Tom Petty song these days. “The Waiting” was released in 1985 and was a big part of my childhood in general. I took his passing really hard.

This particular song isn’t my favorite Tom Petty song, but it’s still incredibly good with memorable lyrics and unmistakable vocals. If you haven’t listened to more of Tom Petty, go get the full anthology -- it’s worth it top to bottom. An amazing artist. He will be missed.

Kelly's bottom line

Listen to Tom Petty. Start here: “Learning To Fly,” “Free Fallin',” “Won’t Back Down.”

re:Invent theme

The focus here was on IoT, and essentially the data latency that comes with it. Looks like another area of wide improvements -- IoT is still gaining ground.


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