AWS re: Invent 2021 was more incremental than innovative

AWS held his annual customer conference, re: invent, this week in Las Vegas. It was usually energetic customer extravaganza – a circus for technicians – but there were a few unusual things about this year’s model that made the event feel a little more subdued than in the past.

For starters, it was the first time in Vegas after the pandemic forced the event into virtual mode last year. There were fewer people on site than in a normal year (whatever is normal now), and it was also the first re: Invent with new CEO Adam Selipsky hold the main keynote on Tuesday.

Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, pointed out that much of the innovation was happening behind the scenes while the company worked to make things easier for its customers.

Some thought he was going to make his mark on things and maybe a course for the future of the lucrative division, but what the audience got was more incremental than innovative, more boring than exciting. It was a nice, well-organized affair without much ado.

Selipsky’s presentation went smoothly and professionally, but it lacked an important announcement that really caught the eye, as Andy Jassy had done in the past. There were newsworthy announcements – we certainly did covered a couple of them – Nothing came from re: Invent 2021 that felt really cool. It felt more like Amazon was checking boxes and filling in gaps on the product roadmap.

Maybe we all needed that this year. Perhaps the best Amazon can do in a turbulent year if Jassy switched to CEO the entire company and the world were battling through a pandemic. But whatever the reason, nothing major just seemed to have happened.

Adam Selipsky on stage at AWS re: Invent 2021

AWS CEO Adam Selipsky on stage at AWS re: Invent 2021. Credit: Amazon

Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research, who has attended the conference for nine years in a row, called it “one of the tamest re: invents” he could remember.

“Overall, re: Invent did not have the usual big announcements. For example, this is the first re: Invent in a long time that AWS did not announce a new database. Instead, a number of services have been moved and added to Serverless [minor] Skills across the board, ”he said.

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