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AWS DataZone headlines AWS re:Invent 2022

AWS DataZone will enable the sharing, search and discovery of data at scale with less risk. It is one of many data advancements announced at AWS re:Invent 2022.

AWS re:Invent took Vegas by storm in the final week of November 2022. As per usual, the entire strip was taken over by AWS, its partners, customers, prospects and more from Nov. 28-Dec. 2. Being a data, analytics and AI analyst, this event had me excited. AWS CEO Adam Selipsky's Day One keynote led with data announcements. The Day Two keynote from Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of AWS database, analytics and machine learning, doubled down on the importance of data with even more data-centric announcements. Together these keynotes highlighted the importance of having a foundational data strategy with scalable infrastructure, managed services and a connective data tissue.

Infrastructure announcements were highlighted by things like new instance types. Several AWS services saw enhancements and new capabilities that improved performance, scale, reliability and management efficiency. A few of the announcements that I feel were most important include Amazon Aurora fully managed zero-ETL integration with Amazon Redshift; Amazon Redshift integration with Apache Spark; a preview of OpenSearch serverless, which is AWS' observability service for operational analytics; ML-powered forecasting with Q; support for geospatial in Amazon SageMaker; and AWS SimSpace Weaver for large-scale simulations without needing to manage underlying infrastructure.

While there were announcements galore, one announcement stood out to me over the rest: AWS DataZone. The goal of AWS DataZone is to enable everyone in an organization to share, search and discover data at scale with less risk. In other words, it's really focused on ensuring trust in data, services, tools, insight and outcomes. It serves as a unified data analytics portal offering a personalized view of all relevant data to end users while enforcing governance and compliance policies. It connects data producers with data consumers.

Data producers can setup business data catalogs and populate with metadata, labels and descriptions. Data consumers can search and browse the catalog, request access and define data projects that enable stakeholders to collaborate -- all while managing and monitoring those data assets throughout the data lifecycle.

So, why is this the biggest announcement? First, we're entering the year of data governance, and this isn't data governance as it relates to the traditional definition relating to compliance and security. While those aspects of data governance of course still matter immensely, modern data governance encompasses much more: data quality, data observability, data availability, infrastructure and pipeline reliability. These are just some of the new areas connected to data governance, not to mention its connections to end-user enablement, empowerment and data democratization.

Of all priorities that support new or ongoing data initiatives, governance matters the most and nearly one in four organizations will make the most significant data governance investment over the next year, according to recent research from TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) "2023 Technology Spending Intentions Survey."

Second, without AWS saying it in any of their announcements, this is their way of aligning to the data cloud and DataOps storylines we're seeing more of in the industry. Data clouds deliver a unified approach to data management, analytics and AI across an organization with a goal of improving connectivity, availability and accessibility of data by eliminating data and operational silos and increasing agility and scale.

DataOps sits on top of all the data-centric tools and services. It serves as an agile, automated and process-oriented way for data stakeholders to improve the quality, delivery and management of data and analytics at scale. AWS DataZone sits right in the middle of both data cloud and DataOps definitions and messaging. That's important because 91% of organizations plan to make moderate-to-extensive investments in DataOps initiatives over the next year, according to ESG's research report, "The State of DataOps."

91% of organizations plan to make moderate to extensive investments in DataOps initiatives over the next year.

Finally, there's what I would call the direct impact to the competitive landscape. I know it's early, but if AWS DataZone is built and executed properly, I believe this announcement could single-handedly close a simplicity gap that has long been targeted by the competition. Of course, there are the mainstay cloud provider competitors in Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud that have executed strategies pushing ease of use and simplicity. There's Oracle, which is notorious for targeting the complexity of AWS's ecosystem.

There's also strategic competition partners like Snowflake, which sees customers regularly migrate off AWS RedShift to Snowflake. A big reason for that change has been due to simplicity. For several years, Snowflake customers regularly cite its ease of use as a reason for embracing its technology. Now for AWS, jumping ship isn't all that bad since about 80% of Snowflake's customer base runs on AWS, but keeping customers on AWS services is and always will be a priority.

Stay tuned as we watch AWS DataZone take shape over the next year as adoption rises and case studies begin to emerge.

Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget.

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