AI assistants and better cloud migration: reconnecting at AWS re:Invent

At Daemon, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of digital transformation. We want our clients to benefit from the latest solutions, and this means keeping our finger on the pulse at all times. 


This is especially true when it comes to cloud migration. In recent years, this has become one of our staple offerings, thanks in no small part to our status as an official AWS Advanced Partner. As well as giving us the freedom to run our own AWS projects, this allows us to attend partner events around the world.


Our cloud team headed to Las Vegas for AWS re:Invent. As usual, this was a great opportunity to gauge the current state of cloud services, and to get a sneak peak of what’s to come. We know that what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas, but we’re going to bend the rules for this special occasion. Here’s what we learned at AWS re:Invent, and what it means for our own work in 2024. 


AWS Re:Invent 2023


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A chance to reconnect


Having missed the last three events as a result of the pandemic, we were eager to make the most of AWS re:Invent 2023. As our Head of Cloud, Paul Campbell explains, this meant reconnecting with as many people as possible:


“After three years of being unable to attend the event in person,, it was nice to go back and reconnect with our peers, meet like minded engineers and talk about what the future of AWS looks like. It was also a great opportunity to connect with potential customers and other people within our partner network, helping us to further our aspirations as a business.” 


Of course, re:Invent isn’t just about networking. It’s about sharing new ideas and fresh approaches to cloud architecting. We spent our time in Las Vegas soaking up as much information as possible, both from AWS partners and from AWS itself. We don't have space to list everything we learned, but here are our three biggest takeaways:


1. Cloud migration doesn’t have to be complicated


Cloud migration strategies have traditionally been based on the 7 Rs’- Retire, Retain, Rehost, Relocate, Replatform, Repurchase and Re-architect. This framework covers all bases, but could it be simplified? 


We attended a talk by Adidas, who have performed some huge migrations in recent years. They explained how they have taken four of the Seven Rs off the table- leaving only repurchase, refactor and retire. This is an interesting idea, which caught the imagination of Daemon Cloud Principal Consultant Nathan Webster:


“Adidas would never do a lift and shift. They either deal with issues as they move an application, or they ditch the application altogether. By limiting their options in this way, they end up with a much more focused migration”.  


There’s a lot to be learned from this stripped back approach. While we won’t be ditching the other 4 Rs anytime soon, we’ll certainly be looking for ways to streamline our own cloud migration strategies in the new year. 


Is your cloud service holding you back?. How our Well Architected Review can help you get more from AWS. 


2. Amazon is about to shake up the AI market 


Like most tech events this year, AWS re:Invent was dominated by conversations around AI. These were particularly focused on the business applications of generative AI, and how this technology could be implemented without putting companies at risk. 


To this end, Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Q- a generative AI powered assistant designed for business. The product is still in its early stages, but Amazon promises that it will integrate with a range of business applications without putting sensitive data at risk. This could help companies to make better sales forecasts, provide better product recommendations and answer customer queries more effectively. 


As Nathan Webster explains, the focus on security is a clear attempt to fill a gap in the market:


“The key message that Amazon were trying to get across is that they can offer the same services as other AI providers but in a more secure, business-focused way. A lot of people still don’t trust ChatGPT, and these are the customers that Amazon are targeting with Amazon Q.”


This technology is sure to have an impact on our own work. We already use a lot of Amazon tools, so we’ll be eager to see how Amazon Q can be incorporated. However, it’s worth remembering that we are also Microsoft partners. We won’t automatically default to the Amazon option, but we’ll certainly consider it alongside the other tools available to us. 


3. Platform engineering will be a big part of future migrations 


AI was definitely the dominant theme, but a secondary theme also emerged. As more companies move to the cloud, teams are seeking greater control over their own cloud environments. Many are achieving this through internal developer platforms (IDPs), and this trend looks set to grow in the coming years. 


With technologies such as Kubernetes making it easier than ever to run applications across single, multiple and hybrid clouds, companies will soon expect a well designed IDP as part of their cloud migration package. We’re all about empowering our customers, so this is music to our ears! In the coming months, we’ll be looking closely at the available tools in this area to make sure we’re providing the best service possible. 


Get ahead of the game in 2024 


We left AWS re:Invent full of energy, and ready to provide more of the smooth cloud migrations we've become known for. It won’t just be business as usual in 2024, though. We learned a lot in Las Vegas, and we’re eager to try out some fresh approaches. As Paul Campbell explains, it all comes down to efficiency:


“There’s a misconception that moving to the cloud instantly makes things cheaper. The truth is that you have to invest in efficiency, otherwise costs won’t fall. Rather than moving to the cloud and then modernising, you need to modernise while you move. We want to focus less on the underlying infrastructure and more on giving businesses the tools they need to make their journey more efficient.”  


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