Gearing up for AWS re:Invent

Last year’s inaugural AWS re:Invent was a showcase for Amazon(s amzn) Web Services’ enterprise capabilities. The biggest news was AWS RedShift, a data warehouse service, which targeted enterprise shops accustomed to dropping big dough on data warehouses from Teradata(s tdc), Oracle(s orcl), IBM(s ibm), Hewlett-Packard(s hpq) — you get the picture.

This year look for AWS to continue that “we get the enterprise” push. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who spoke with CTO Werner Vogels on stage last year won’t be on stage again — hey, he has a newspaper to run — but Vogels and Senior Vice President Andy Jassy will keynote. And there will be sessions from Amazon’s data center brainiac James Hamilton; NASA’s CTO Tom Soderstrom: Ruslan Meshenberg, director of platform engineering for Netflix(s nflx), one of Amazon’s biggest customers and most savvy practitioners.

I’ll be listening for competitive messaging versus the up-and-coming cloud alternatives. God knows AWS is facing a barrage of ads by IBM eager to tout that it gets cloud big time. Last week, IBM announced a big campaign — with talking points including the $1 billion in cloud revenue it says reaped in the third quarter alone (IBM’s definition of cloud revenue is being questioned by the SEC). All of this is meant to show that despite losing the $600 million CIA cloud account to AWS, IBM is in this game to stay. An IBM spokesman listed several federal government clients that IBM has for its cloud. IBM bought SoftLayer earlier this year in large part to address the AWS threat and is now moving SmartCloud Enterprise customers over to SoftLayer.

Because it was so early to market, AWS has been able to define it thus far. But now as other public and private clouds, many incorporating OpenStack technology, come online it’ll be interesting to see if (and how) AWS messaging changes.

I would also look for any shift in AWS “public cloud only” stance especially given news of the CIA cloud. Many regulated companies will not put critical data or workloads on shared infrastructure. The CIA cloud is important as a test case to show that AWS can and will do secure, stand-alone clouds for customers — provided the price is right (and provided that the infrastructure mirrors exactly what AWS public cloud does).

And, if Amazon announces more incremental (sub-hour) pricing, it’ll be big news. Company execs thus far have said there is no customer demand for by-the-minute pricing that is offered by rivals including CloudSigma; ProfitBricks, Google; and Microsoft Windows Azure.

Face it, all of the IT incumbents — Microsoft(s msft), Hewlett-Packard(s hpq), Oracle(s orcl) — will be watching what’s what at AWS: Reinvent this week. If they aren’t, they should be.