Investing in ongoing training for our team of IT consultants is a key priority at Marathon Consulting. Making sure our engineers are up to date on the latest technologies gives them the tools to continue to provide the quality service our clients expect.

Andy Johns, one of our lead engineers, recently spent a week at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. Marathon is an AWS partner and we have built a number of our proprietary solutions on AWS technology.

Here are some of Andy’s key takeaways from all of the hustle and bustle at the Venetian.

The Cloud is only going to get bigger. Now is the time to understand how your business can best take advantage of the industry-wide shift to virtualized IT resources. AWS gives small- and medium-sized businesses access to the same sophisticated computing power that was only available to Fortune 500 companies five years ago. Even if the IT needs of your small business are modest applications like Adobe Creative Suite or QuickBooks, you can expect more of these tools to run from the Cloud.

The Cloud offers amazing agility. You have the tools to do a lot of things at a click of a mouse with AWS. For example, retail businesses that experience a large influx of traffic during the holidays can now add new servers at will and then take the extra servers offline as soon as they are no longer needed.

Launch. Test. Revise. Launch again. The agility offered by AWS gives businesses the capability to launch things without a giant investment of capital, so you can focus on prototyping and testing products and all the fun that goes with seeing what works. If something doesn’t work, log in to your AWS account and turn things off.

Repeatability. When something works, make sure to document and look for ways to make it easy to repeat it again. For example, rolling out 2,000 instances all running the same programs would be a huge, multi-year process just a few years ago. Now, with a smart programmer to write the scripts, you could have this done in a week. Netflix and the Weather Channel gave interesting talks about scalability and processes during the conference.

The rate of change is going to get faster. Businesses have to be ready and willing to pivot and adapt and AWS provides the IT toolset to do this. There are a lot of third-party businesses that have started to help organizations make a smooth transition to cloud computing and virtualization.

Focus on being really great at what you do. 10 years ago, having an email server in your office made sense because it was too expensive to hire experts to run and monitor things for you. That is no longer the case. You should do the things internally that your team excels at and look to partner with vendors like Marathon who are experts at the other things you need for your organization.

Learn more about AWS re:Invent at the official conference recap or over on Andy’s Twitter account.

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