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Keynoting at AWS Amsterdam

Last week I had the privilege of keynoting at AWS Summit in Amsterdam, one of the largest audiences I’ve ever presented to. AWS typically has impressive crowds, and Amsterdam was no exception – more than 3,500 attendees gathered to learn about the cloud. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous going into the event. My rehearsal took place in a large, still empty keynote hall, where blinding lights and a reverberating echo made me very aware of what awaited me the next day. Thankfully the AWS team was amazing to work with and offered a lot of preparation support, which comes as no surprise since AWS has always been a great partner to Collibra.

Listening to the keynote speakers before me only served to validate my belief that data management is rapidly commoditizing in the cloud. Years ago Steve Balmer went on stage and shouted “Developers, developers, developers.” The platform war has since moved to the cloud, and developers are choosing sides as they bet on who will win the coveted position as “Operating System for the Web.” A few other things that struck me:

  • Kaimini Aisola, General Manager for AWS Benelux, kicked off the event. Kaimini confirmed the speed at which the cloud is growing: AWS has a $30B revenue run rate, and 45% year-over-year growth. For a business that has only been around for 12 years, those are very impressive numbers.
  • Kaimini next interviewed Marcel Krom, CIO of PostNL. It is one of the most data-intensive companies in the Netherlands. PostNL made the decision to move fully to the cloud in 2012, closing their own data center in 2019. Marcel stressed that AWS is at the heart of the innovations PostNL is doing. Surprisingly, these are also done more cost effective because of their cloud choice.
  • Next up was Ian Massingham, Amazon’s Director of Developer Technology and Evangelism. He introduced all the keynote speakers and an almost endless list of services that AWS is now offering. Kudos to him for managing the overview of such a broad scope and size of services.
  • Next, Ian introduced Hylke Sprangers, CTO at Talpa Network. They’ve been 100% in on AWS since 2013 and using more than 50 AWS services in their backend. He gave the example of VoetbalTV which is only possible because of machine learning. The platform live-broadcasts 80,000 amateur soccer matches every year, which means everything needs to be automated: scheduling, registration, live streaming, and even highlight detection.
  • Ian followed up by talking a bit about AWS’ data services. AWS already runs over 10,000 data lakes worldwide, and sees cloud data lakes as the future – and I agree. He also introduced an upcoming AWS Lake Formation service to facilitate setting up a full, enterprise-ready data lake from scratch in only a few days.

My keynote followed in the data and analytics section. I shared some history and growth numbers of Collibra – one interesting fact is that both Amazon and Collibra were started in a garage! I talked a bit about the digital disruption we see happening across businesses in all industries, and how crucial data and analytics are for those digital products, services, and deep customer engagement. For the past few years, we’ve seen our customers adopting the cloud as a key infrastructural component, which is why we’ve set a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy. Hybrid, because on-premise data will stay as long as legacy does, and multi-cloud because we believe that large organizations will want to avoid vendor lock-in and will work with multiple cloud providers. When you can pay by the byte of storage and by the second of compute for an infrastructure that is more reliable than you could ever maintain yourself, and available immediately, the economics of the cloud are very clear. Cloud becomes a no brainer to support a digital strategy.

Overall, the event was a great learning experience and served as further validation of AWS as one of Collibra’s top strategic technology partners. You can read more about our work together here.