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December 15, 2022

Next-Gen Cloud at AWS re:Invent 2022

By David Anderson

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending another AWS re:Invent. To sum up, it was about the next generation of cloud (also called next-gen cloud or modern cloud), which is focused on delivering value quickly by removing barriers to business adoption and enablement. 

From Cloud Migration to Cloud Solutions 

This year there was a solution focus to re:Invent; previously, there was a focus on migration. On Day 1, SiliconAngle published the article “AWS chief Adam Selipsky hints at the next-gen cloud.” The article looked at classic cloud versus next-gen cloud. Classic cloud is infrastructure as a service and the platform of the cloud. Next-gen cloud refers to ISVs (independent software vendors) and true cloud, which uses the cloud to power your business journey. I was excited because this is exactly what we discuss in The Value Flywheel Effect book! (In The Value Flywheel Effect, I refer to these as Legacy Cloud and Modern Cloud) 

Quote from the article:

“Digital transformation is moving to the cloud which is driving organizational change and people are saying, ‘Hey, how should I organize my company? And I can see my culture changing, how do I proactively shape that?’” Selipsky told me. “But the business transformation potential of the cloud is to make organizations faster, more risk-taking, more innovative. That’s what I meant by business transformation of the organization.

AWS is market-leading for low-level cloud primitives. If you want “compute,” “storage,” or “messaging,” get it from AWS. It has been this way for the last 15 years. 

But the next-generation cloud is about business capability. When you apply Wardley Mapping correctly, cloud primitives are pushed to the right to become commodities. You can then look for the business capability you need. 

Next-Gen Cloud = The Value Flywheel Effect

That’s precisely what the Value Flywheel Effect is. You look at your business strategy and decide what you need to rent versus what you need to build. You use technical strategy to build the right thing. And you’re not stuck building a capability that someone else will expose as a service.

AWS is consolidating core primitives and opening up the solution space to help customers do exciting things with them. And you can see that with the partnerships they are setting up with other big companies like Mongo and Cloudflare. It’s becoming an ecosystem. 

Developer Experience

There has been a lot of criticism of AWS in previous years regarding their developer experience. Code catalyst is a big move from AWS to make that more seamless. It stitches together several things that have evolved over the last while. But it’s about enabling product teams to rapidly deliver value in a way that doesn’t blow up three months down the road. It’s an accelerator for teams coming to the cloud or serverless. And it is a frictionless developer experience. In our book, it’s the next best action phase (phase 4) of the Value Flywheel. 

Well-Architected

Well architected also featured heavily at AWS re:Invent. AWS is continuing to develop well-architected framework and build it into things. And they are continuing to create patterns, blueprints and accelerators. 

Security

Security is also featured at re:Invent with AWS’s Verified Permissions. It’s out in pilot at the moment. Still, it has the potential to make a significant impact on managing fine-grained permissions and doing identity authorization properly. 

This is another example of AWS creating more intelligent primitives so you don’t have to. Many of us implemented this with a custom-built solution—you can now delete that. Deleting code is a good idea! Remember, as I say in the book, code is a liability.

Conclusion: Shifting to the Modern Cloud (Next-Gen)

At AWS re:Invent, we heard loud and clear that enterprises and large companies have moved to the cloud but need help doing the next piece. They need help creating their Value Flywheel. They’ve moved to the cloud, but they now need to go to the next stage of modernization or next-gen. 

In The Value Flywheel Effect we help you with what to do next. We spoke to many people who were trying to do a serverless transformation — and trying to create their value flywheel. There’s a lot of demand for more advice and guidance. And stories of how companies have done this. 

The ecosystem has never been better for applying the Value Flywheel Effect. A lot of the challenges we had in the past are being addressed. So it should be more accessible for people adopting it now to make progress. 

In the past, when we promoted being well-architected and serverless first, people looked at us a little funny! But it’s starting to permeate throughout AWS and its large customer base. It’s an accepted term, and people understand what it means. There’s a lot less inertia going well-architected and serverless first, compared with what we experienced around 2016 when we drove that strategy ourselves. 

Serverless first is not scary anymore. 

You can follow more on the podcast Serverless Craic from The Serverless Edge.

- About The Authors
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David Anderson

David Anderson has been at the leading edge of the technology industry for twenty-five years. He formed The Serverless Edge, and continues to work with clients and partners to prove out the thinking in his book, The Value Flywheel Effect. He is also a member of the Wardley Mapping community.

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