A Fox's Predictions for re:Invent 2017

Well, re:Invent is one week away.  The excitement is mounting and if you're smart, you've been doing research and planning.  Perhaps you've been reading some of the numerous guides people have written about the event.  This is AWS' biggest show of the year and they make lots of big announcements of new services and features at each one.  It's no wonder that the keynotes by Andy Jassy and Werner Vogels are full of so much energy.  In both of the times I've attended, the keynotes have been simply amazing.  The light show and music as you walk into the hall really set the tone for what the audience will hear.  I remember participating with the large cheers from the audience when announcements have been made for things like Snowball, Glue, even just announcing a new instance type.

So, with the conference right around the corner, I find myself amongst the list of people who are wondering what will be announced next week, and making my own predictions.  Granted, most of my predictions are more accurately described as my hopes for what will be announced.  So, next week, I'm predicting (hoping) for:

Alexa

With the Alexa development I do in my garage at night, I'm VERY excited about what news will be announced for this area.  Just last week, Amazon announced that Alexa was going to Canada.  This is big enough that I'm sure it will be talked about a lot at re:Invent especially since it wasn't the only new language announcement made recently.  It's not really fair to call it a prediction given these announcement, but I do expect some talk about language support.  My prediction is that in addition to talking about Canada and Japan, Amazon will allude to some other future language support to happen in 2018.  I'm really hoping for French and Spanish language support.

I predict that given the large growth of Alexa adoption, this year we will see more announcements of how to monetize Alexa skills.  This year, Amazon announced that Alexa developers could qualify for AWS credits with the publishing of an Alexa skill.  That $100 a month has been very helpful for me as a hobbyist Alexa developer as it defrays the cost of Lambda, DynamoDB, and the once EC2 instance I run for my Alexa skills.  However, a channel for monetizing Alexa skills could help the hobbyist developer like myself and my coding buddy Ryan Vanderwerf do a lot more with the technology by creating more complex architectures to back the features we are writing.  (Shameless plug:  Our signature Alexa skills are Hero Quiz and the Groovy Podcast Player.  Feel free to enable them on your Echo or Fire devices.)

Kubernetes

There is sooooo much hype on Kubernetes right now.  I'm going to echo the thoughts of many other re:Invent predictions I've read and predict that we will see some sort of play with Kubernetes at re:Invent.  I can totally see a managed Kubernetes service coming into play.  I'll have to check that out if it does.  I've had mixed results using managed services within the AWS landscape initially, but I find that it usually clears up pretty fast.  A good example of this Elasticsearch as a Service.  When it first hit, it was pretty far behind the version of Elasticsearch that I needed, but it's quickly caught up.  I would expect the same thing out of Kubernetes as a Service.  I think that right off the bat, there will be a good deal of pain, but it should clear up by time the re:Invent 2018 rolls around.

Lambda

Serverless technology has been getting more and more attention.  I've personally found Lambda to be a magical tool that has made so much happen for me.  Whether it be copying a file out of S3 automatically, or modifying routing tables, or just powering my Alexa skills, Lambda has been awesome.  Given how much it's growing, I would fully expect to see some other major improvement to Lambda.  To help spread adoption of Lambda usage, I'm going to predict that this year, we will see another programming language added to the runtimes supported.  We've already got C#, Java, Node.js, and Python.  So, what else would make sense to add in there?  I would love to see Ruby or Go.

I'm also hoping that there will be an announcement for triggering a Lambda function off of SQS.  Oh, that would be so nice.  It would be a great hook for tying Lambda into legacy applications and making it easier to start porting a legacy system to serverless.

Easiest Predictions

The easiest prediction of all is that I fully expect the conference to be an intensive learning experience, and I predict that I will leave with my brain full of new information that will take me weeks to fully digest.  I also predict that AWS and all of the conference sponsors will show an unprecedented level of hospitality.

I look forward to heading out there and meeting some of you reading this, and creating new connections.

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