AWS re:Invent 2019 was held two weeks ago, attracting over 65,000 attendees to Las Vegas for 2,500+ technical sessions. The 5-day event featured 77 announcements of new products and new features. Our Lead Cloud Architect Fabio Douek highlights his key takeaways from the event.
re:Invent actually “starts” two weeks before the event official date
AWS releases thousands of new features and releases every year. Two weeks prior to re:Invent 2019, AWS started to announce new features at a much higher pace. There were about 250 new features or releases announced between 15th November and 1st December, just one day before re:Invent officially started. It is exciting and overwhelming at the same time.
At Singlepoint, we carry Well-Architected Reviews, where we review workloads following best practices. New features have a special meaning to us, as best practices and recommendations would change as a result of those new features. We map these new features which supersedes the previous best practices. We will cover this as part of our next blog post.
What I’ve enjoyed the most at the event
This is the second time I’ve attended re:Invent, the last time being last year. So I knew more or less what to expect, and I was aware that I wouldn’t be able to attend most technical sessions. During the day I’ve split my time in basically three areas:
1) Technical Sessions
With so many technical sessions, I was able to attend about 10 sessions during the entire event. Most of the main sessions can be watched online after the event, so I tried to balance attending the technical sessions with other activities. The most interesting part of the sessions was the opportunity to connect with the speaker and get insights after the presentation.
2) Hands-on Workshops
This is without a doubt one of the most exciting activities of the event. Some of those workshops are 2-3 hours long, so it’s a great opportunity to exchange experience with other attendees, as well as with AWS experts who are working very closely with the service teams. These were my favourite workshops:
I have ordered my DeepRacer as soon as it was announced during re:Invent 2018. There were a few delays in the production line, but I finally got it delivered in the US and forwarded to Ireland just two days before travelling to Las Vegas for re:Invent 2019. Knowing myself, I decided not to start playing with it before my travel, otherwise I would probably have forgotten to pack my bag! So I was really looking forward to this workshop. It was great to get into my hands dirty into the core services: DeepRacer, SageMaker and RoboMaker.
This was a very fun workshop. There were about 600 people, split in teams of 4 people each. As a team, we had about 13 challenges to solve within 3 hours. It was mostly about investigating security audit and controls, as well as trying to gain access to resources.
AWS Control Tower
Last year, I attended the Landing Zone Solution workshop at re:Invent 2018. The AWS Landing Zone Solution is the core foundation used as an inspiration and a pillar for Control Tower. It was great to exchange experience with other attendees, as well as exchanging insights with AWS staff.
This was one of the best workshops I’ve attended. AWS acquired CloudEndure in January of 2019, and since provides the migration service free of charge for workloads migrated into AWS. The workshop focused on lift and shift of a fleet of servers. It was great to see all the effort the CloudEndure team put together to make the process as seamless as possible.
3) The Expo Hall
The Expo Hall was hosted at the Venetian, and there were hundreds of vendors and AWS partners. It was a great opportunity to learn a bit more about the ecosystem, on how products are adding value to businesses hosted at AWS. But my favourite section was the AWS booth, which was split across multiple sections (Serverless, Database, Outposts, Gaming, IoT, Networking, Security, etc). I spent close to 5 hours talking to the AWS experts. It was a great opportunity to learn from them, provide feedback based on our experience, share the service constraints and how they impact our implementations, and also gain insight on the challenges and rationale behind the decisions AWS have to make when designing services.
4) The announcements
With so many announcements, it can be hard to take them all in. I am highlighting the ones which are either most relevant to our workloads or that we can adopt to realise benefits in a short period of time:
- AWS Fargate Spot, providing up to 70% discount – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/aws-launches-fargate-spot-save-up-to-70-for-fault-tolerant-applications/
- Run Serverless Kubernetes Pods Using Amazon EKS and AWS Fargate – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/run-serverless-kubernetes-pods-using-amazon-eks-and-aws-fargate/
- General Availability of Outposts – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/announcing-general-availability-of-aws-outposts/
- Lambda Provisioned Concurrency – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/aws-lambda-announces-provisioned-concurrency/
- Amazon RDS Proxy – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/amazon-rds-proxy-available-in-preview/
- Amazon API Gateway Simpler APIs – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/amazon-api-gateway-offers-faster-cheaper-simpler-apis-using-http-apis-preview
- Amazon CodeGuru – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/aws-announces-amazon-codeguru-for-automated-code-reviews-and-application-performance-recommendations/
- Amazon Fraud Detector – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/introducing-amazon-fraud-detector-now-in-preview/
- Amazon Sagemaker Autopilot – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/introducing-amazon-sagemaker-autopilot/
- Amazon Kendra – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/announcing-amazon-kendra-reinventing-enterprise-search-with-machine-learning/
- Amazon Detective – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/introducing-amazon-detective/
- IAM Access Analyzer – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/introducing-aws-identity-and-access-management-access-analyzer/
- Access Analyzer for S3 – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/introducing-access-analyzer-for-amazon-s3-to-review-access-policies/
- Contact Lens for Amazon Connect – https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2019/12/introducing-contact-lens-for-amazon-connect-preview/
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