TriNimbus, AWS’ only Premier partner in Canada, highlighted several of the many AWS announcements at the AWS re:Invent show as being highly relevant to their customer base – as well as one that will have less direct short term relevance, but longer term will likely have massive significance.
The recent Amazon Web Services re:Invent event in Las Vegas saw a plethora of announcements – more than two dozen in total. TriNimbus, AWS’ top Canadian partner, sees a significant amount of quality as well as quality in the news, with multiple major announcements that will stimulate their business.
Vancouver-headquartered TriNimbus works exclusively with AWS, and has done so for almost four years, right from the time AWS arrived in Canada. The company has also expanded beyond their Vancouver base into Toronto, and are now a 40 person firm.
“We are focused on helping customers take advantage of AWS, and our strategy was to be the biggest and best in Canada,” said Jarrod Levitan, Chief Cloud Officer at TriNimbus. “We are a soup to nuts provider, doing roadmap work, architecting, and providing cloud support. Traditional vendors manage up to the operating OS. In our area, AWS does that. What we do is manage the operating system and above, to the application layer. We can go deep into companies’ code and can make recommendations. It’s a big value-add.”
TriNimbus has played a key role in the AWS channel in Canada.
“We are the only AWS Premier partner in Canada,” Levitan said. “We have a lot of AWS competencies, and are particularly good at DevOps. We also started AWS user groups across Canada. I’m an AWS Community Hero, of which there are only 20 plus worldwide, because we were evangelizing AWS in Canada before they had boots on the ground here.
“Our customers are all over the map, but they include major logos like BC Hydro and the Vancouver airport [YVR],” Levitan continued. “The majority of our business is in Canada, and our focus is there.”
This Canadian focus meant that AWS’ announcement that they have finally established a Canadian region was very big news for TriNimbus.
“The fact AWS has not had a data centre in Canada until now has been an obstacle – big time,” Levitan stated. “Most of the problem has been public sentiment rather than legal requirement, although Newfoundland and B.C. do require data sovereignty, but only for personal information data. Still, there are governing bodies that can trip you up with that. It’s a lot easier with the Canadian region, as there will no longer be fighting an uphill battle with legal and everything else. The timing is also good, because many companies who have been investigating the cloud are starting to wake up now.”
With respect to the broad range product announcements made at the show, Levitan said the broad range of TriNimbus’ customer base creates an excellent fit with the multiple AWS use cases of their customers.
“For us specifically, we have such a variety of different customers, that many of the various new services that are coming out are a fit somewhere,” he indicated.
Levitan pointed to the new Snowball Edge solution as one that will have broad applicability. The original Snowballs, data transfer devices which add an on-prem capability to the cloud, were announced a year ago at this same event. The new ones double the originals 50 TB capacity. Their ability to run the newly announced AWS Greengrass software also greatly expands their capability, bringing the serverless compute model beyond AWS and on to other devices, with strong applicability to the Internet of Things.
“Snowball Edge is really significant,” Levitan said. “It’s the start of something major when it comes to having hardware on premise, with AWS taking the stance of controlling the hardware. That’s very powerful, because they can bring the cloud to on-prem. It’s also different from traditional hybrid deployments because its very Internet of Things-specific.”
Levitan also emphasized the importance of the new GreenGrass “OS-like” system.
“GreenGrass can be on the devices and the Snowball Edge, and that’s important because there’s too much latency sending the data up to the cloud,” he said. “In an industrial setting, you need the hardware close by to ingest the large amounts of data these devices produce and then send it up to the cloud for broader analysis.”
Levitan was also excited about Amazon Athena, a new service for running queries on data in AWS S3 that uses standard Structured Query Language (SQL).
“It lets you query S3 directly, which is really big for us,” he said.
Levitan also expressed pleasure with the announcement of four new AWS instance families.
“Some of these new instances will be more powerful for our clients who need that,” he said. “There are simply more options.”
AWS announced a new Rekognition image recognition service, which Levitan said will have strong applicability to some use cases.
“Rekognition is driven by an API so anyone who uses images can use it,” he said. “We have a customer now, who would use this, who use facial recognition for security, and who lives on AWS.”
AWS also announced Amazon Lex, deep learning technology which upgrades Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant as well as the new Amazon Polly text-to-speech service. Levitan acknowledged that the commercial utility of this for TriNimbus today is limited, but that from a broader technology point of view, it is incredibly important.
“Alexa is now superpowerful,” he said. “You can speak to it. It can play music, and check the weather. It’s something that any app developer can use now, together with the text-to-speech service. For us as a business, it’s not that important. But for technology it will be huge. I got one of these, when it was Echo, last year at the partner summit, and I didn’t know what it was. I certainly didn’t think Echo would be big. But kids think its cool. And now they’ve opened it up to developers, with its powerful combination of AI, deep learning and ability to communicate with the machine.”