Amazon recently held the London leg of its Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit in the majestic and the humongous ExCel Arena and I was lucky to attend it. I had heard about various cloud computing platforms like AWS, Microsoft Azure etc. and hence was really keen to find out more about it.

However, my journey to reach the venue on the day of the Summit wasn’t particularly smooth, thanks to the tube strike. With seconds to spare, I arrived and found myself ushered into a huge auditorium for the introductory note. The agenda for the Summit was proposed by keynote speaker Stephen Schmidt, Vice President of Amazon Web Services. This was to be followed by four parallel tracks of sessions. Each track session was adapted for various audiences depending upon their familiarity with AWS and their level of expertise.

Stephen surprised us with some interesting facts; as per a survey by Gartner in 2013, AWS leads the pack of cloud computing platform providers and it has 5x the compute capacity as that of the rest of its 14 competitors combined. AWS has its datacentres at various geographical locations across the globe allowing the client to use the centre which is closest to it, thus reducing any delays in accessing the cloud service. It also ensures that the data within a particular region stays in that region only.

The conference was also peppered with talks by a few clients of AWS - they shared their experiences pre and post moving to AWS. The one that I found interesting was by the online takeaway food delivery service, JustEat.  JustEat has its presence in 13 countries; coupled with around 36,000 restaurants and a customer base of around 6 million. AWS has helped them achieve 1,000 orders per minute in UK. By using AWS they were also able to reduce the time between software releases from 3 months to less than 1 day!! Doing this has helped them achieve high availability. Using AWS, they were able to crank up more instances of application to handle the increased load during festive seasons, especially Christmas, and killing those instances when they were no longer required. All of this without spending too much time, effort and money.

I was also surprised to know that some of my favourite apps like Shazam (the app that recognises any music and media), HailOCab (the app to order a black cab) are actively and heavily using AWS.
I was given the opportunity to meet and interact with the AWS team and its partners. It was exciting to become familiar with the different cloud-based solutions they presented. A few of the interesting ones were Splunk; an application which monitors, searches and analyses log files and machine-generated data., and a company called Boundary; providing companies with real-time visibility and monitoring of their cloud deployments.

There was also a chance to win one of 10 Amazon Kindles as a part of the AWS Cloud Trail competition but unfortunately, I wasn’t one of the lucky ones! All in all, I think it was great session and would highly recommend it to anyone else interested in cloud computing should they do another summit.


Varun Lakhan