Calling all Cloud customers and enthusiasts! What to expect at AWS:reInvent 2017

Tableau is excited to partner with AWS at their annual Customer and Partner Conference, AWS re:Invent, which will happen in Las Vegas November 27 - December 1, 2017.

Tableau is excited to partner with AWS at their annual Customer and Partner Conference, AWS re:Invent, which will happen in Las Vegas November 27 - December 1, 2017. Tableau has a long history of integrating with AWS services to empower enterprises to maximize the return on their organization’s data. We are excited to be at re:Invent and meet so many of our customers. Visit us in the Sands Expo Hall at the Venetian. We are in Booth 217.

It will be a week packed with learning opportunities and announcements that will provide deep insights into the future of the market. The conference seems to get better and grow at an incredible pace every year. We are lucky to see two customers, Expedia and Sysco, share how they transformed their business with Tableau on AWS.
Regardless of whether you are new to re:Invent or have been attending for years, it helps to plan what to learn before you go so you get the most out of your week. Here’s our take on the top 5 things you need to know prior to attending AWS re:Invent:

Seek to understand why and how organizations are moving to the cloud

The cloud undoubtedly helps organizations reduce costs and save time in provisioning and maintaining infrastructure. Increased awareness of these trends and their associated benefits have resulted in a proliferation of cloud businesses and technologies. But with maturity comes the realization that moving to the cloud doesn’t happen overnight. CIOs are prioritizing hosted computing and cloud data storage but they’re approaching the shift as a gradual, multi-year journey.

One example is Netflix. Their journey to the cloud began in August of 2008 when they experienced a major database corruption. For three days, Netflix couldn’t ship DVDs to members. This led to their decision to move away from vertically scaled single points of failure – like relational databases in their own datacenters – towards highly reliable, horizontally scalable, and distributed systems in the cloud.

Over time they started relying on the cloud for all of their scalable computing and storage needs —business logic, distributed databases and big data processing/analytics, recommendations, transcoding, and hundreds of other functions that make up the Netflix application. They did this by choosing a cloud-native approach and not by lifting and shifting all of the systems, unchanged (along with their problems and limitations), out of the data center and dropping them in AWS. They rebuilt virtually all of their technology and fundamentally change the way the business operated.

re:Invent is ground zero for several public announcements and customer conversations that will help inform how organizations are preparing for the cloud transition. You’ll hear use cases around how organizations are altering entire business and information workflows to ensure their systems can adapt.

Moving data’s center of gravity into the cloud necessitated that services, applications and data tools – from processing to analytics – run in the cloud as well. With Tableau Netflix was able to serve large groups of people with governed analytics on enormous datasets hosted on AWS. This story was shared at last year’s re:Invent.

“Agile” will be the word of the week.

Whether you’re in training programs, hackathons, or business conversations – expect the word “Agile” to come up again and again.

For example, IT is re-orienting its approach to training in response to requirements that demand agility and responsiveness to evolving business needs. Increasingly, IT is prioritizing cloud-focused training that covers topics such as security, hosted databases, and infrastructure as a service. Furthermore, IT managers are stepping up their search for candidates with experience in DevOps practices and cloud platforms like AWS.

Gone are the top-down waterfall methodologies for multi-year on-prem deployments that have long been the standard. With the cloud, concerns like scalability and maintenance are all but taken care of. In their place, IT is adopting agile methods that provide continuous development and delivery of projects. Hosted servers supporting a POC, for example, are now seen as a disposable resource. They can be spun up and shut down in just a matter of hours, giving IT new bandwidth to drive more strategic projects.

A simple search on the word “Agile” and “Agility” in the re:Invent sessions catalog yielded in excess of 50 sessions. Attend as many sessions as you can that demonstrate how “Agile” is shaping how organizations are deploying, managing, and deriving value from cloud analytics solutions. These would also be the key themes of the talks by our customers from Sysco and Expedia, where each will discuss how Tableau and AWS enabled them to deliver self-service analytics to the business with accuracy, agility and scale.

re:Invent is also a "Big Data" conference

Given the rigorous demands that big data places on networks, storage and servers, it's not surprising that many customers are outsourcing the hassle and expense to the cloud. With AWS, you can provision exactly the right type and size of resources you need to power big data analytics applications. You can access as many resources as you need – almost instantly – and only pay for what you use.

However, supporting big data analysis in the cloud comes with a lot of architectural challenges, and the key to success is a deep understanding of the different components, services and architecture patterns that drive performance and consumption at scale.

At re:Invent, AWS will showcase and exhibit innovations to its broad portfolio of services that help customers rapidly build and deploy big data analytics applications quickly and easily. And in keeping with our principle to integrate beautifully with the technology choices our customers make, Tableau supports all of AWS’s innovations. Over the last couple of years, Tableau has launched direct connectors to all the major Amazon data sources including Amazon Redshift (and Redshift Spectrum), Amazon Athena, Amazon Aurora, Amazon EMR and Amazon RDS – all within a few months of their respective AWS launches.

Many of our largest customers including Expedia, Grab, Airbnb, and Pearson use the Tableau on AWS platform to innovate around how they collect, transform, store, process and analyze petabytes of data at scale. Several of them will be in attendance and share how they’re integrating different AWS components into their architecture in creative ways to drive different use cases.

In response to customer needs for architectural guidance Tableau has partnered with AWS to deliver automated Quickstarts (The Tableau AWS Modern Data Warehouse Quickstart & Tableau Server on AWS Quickstart). These Quickstarts simplify the process of launching, configuring, and running projects with the required AWS resources for compute, network, storage and other services while following best practices for security, availability and optimum query performance.

The Analytics & Big Data track at the Aria will provide best practices, architectural design patterns and in-depth discussions on Amazon Athena, Amazon Elastic MapReduce, Amazon Redshift, Amazon Kinesis, and a variety of other analytics services.

Watch this Big Data Strategy session for more on Tableau's own take on how to approach data architecture decisions for the enterprise including several “Tableau on AWS” examples.

Machine learning and robots are here

This year AWS re:Invent has a lot of great technical content in the Machine Learning track, including the Robocar Rally – a hackathon for hands on experience with deep learning, autonomous cars, and Amazon AI and IoT services. The inaugural Deep Learning Summit – where thought leaders, researchers, and venture capitalists share their perspectives on the direction in which deep learning is headed – is also a must see.

Recently, with the addition of speech technologies such as Siri and Alexa, we are beginning to see voice query capabilities combined with analytical search. A great example of this was the winner of the annual Hackathon at Tableau Conference 2016 from Automated Insight, which brought Alexa voice control to Tableau.

That and other features such as integrations to Python and R, and smart join capabilities in Version 10.3, demonstrate how Tableau has advanced its own products and embraced Machine Learning.

With the acquisition of ClearGraph, ML and AI will be integrated into Tableau in a much deeper way. This will enable smarter data discovery and analysis directly in Tableau, making it easier to interact with data through natural language.

Meet the partners who enhance the Tableau ecosystem

Tableau Partners are an extension of our team and enhance the Tableau ecosystem by enabling people all over the world to achieve better insights from their data. And at re:Invent they will live in the Expo at the Venetian and in the Quad at the Aria.

These expo halls are places to make new connections and discover powerful solutions. Explore Tableau through the eyes of our partners and learn where the industry is headed from the leaders in the space.

This year we’re expected to see Snowflake, Matillion, Panoply, Cloudera, Informatica, SAP, IBM, Databricks, Teradata, MapR, and Talend – all of which have engineered their solutions to work beautifully with Tableau and for our mutual customers.

We are fortunate to build on our deep partnership with AWS. Our continually growing integration with the breadth of AWS capabilities directly contributes to the wider range of possibilities for our customers. We're bringing our most seasoned cloud analytics experts to meet with you and help design an analytics platform that is flexible to the needs of your work environment. Find Tableau at Booth #217 of the Sands Expo Hall at the Venetian. We look forward to seeing you there!

Learn more about AWS as well as Tableau’s presence at re:Invent on our informational page.