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CTO hot take from AWS re:Invent 2018

As the DMW Group team jet back from AWS re:invent, Amazon Web Services major cloud technology event in the states, we offer their technical take on the keynote by AWS CTO Werner Vogel’s key announcements and themes. This follows on from the major announcement summary Marius brought us live from the event, and digs deeper into the tech-focused changes AWS are bringing to cloud computing.

Assisting the developer

Our developer community were excited about Werner’s announcements of a series of exciting developer-friendly changes to how developers can interact and leverage AWS services including:

  • Ruby support for Lamba. Developers can now write lambda functions using Ruby
  • Enhancements for the AWS toolkit for PyCharm, IntelliJ and Visual Studio Code, this set of open source toolkits will enable you to seamlessly develop serverless applications in the IDE and language of your choice, be it Python, Java, Node.js, or .NET
  • Lambda layers which allows developers to share common code components across multiple lambda functions.

Adopt cloud native services

An ongoing theme of the week was convincing consumers to make the most out of the services AWS has built rather than organisations building their own highly available common infrastructure services such as databases. Werner went into significant detail on Amazon.com’s journey from Oracle to Aurora and the extraordinary effort AWS have made to rearchitect traditional database architecture to be cloud native.

AWS demonstrated their dominance in the cloud database market with over 8 different databases covering types from traditional RDBMS (relationship database management system) to the newly launched time series and general ledger databases.

To further the managed service approach Werner announced the introduction of a fully managed Apache Kafka service which will allow AWS users to take full advantage of the data streaming service without any of the hassle in setting up complex highly available services.

Serverless is here to stay

AWS have put a lot of emphasis on their serverless technologies this year with further builds on AWS Lambda as well as introducing the new technology AWS Fire Cracker which is a new Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM). Firecracker allows you to launch lightweight micro-virtual machines in non-virtualised environments in a fraction of a second, taking advantage of the security and workload isolation provided by traditional VMs (virtual machines) and the resource efficiency that comes along with containers. AWS also announced further integration with Step functions and wider AWS service including:

  • AWS Batch – submit and await completion of a batch job
  • Amazon ECS – run an Amazon ECS or AWS Fargate task thorugh task definition
  • Amazon SageMaker – create an Amazon SageMaker training job and create a SageMaker transform job
  • Amazon SNS – publish a message to an SNS topic
  • Amazon SQS – send a message to an SQS queue
  • AWS Glue – start a AWS Glue job run
  • DynamoDB – get and put table functions.

A good architecture is key, and AWS wants to help

The last part of this technical keynote closed by emphasising the importance of good cloud architecture as well as the effort AWS invests in providing expert advice to ensure its partners maintain high levels of architecture knowledge when building on the AWS platform. To aid customers further, AWS announced the Well Architected Tool where you can define your workload and answer questions designed to review the workload against the best practices specified by the five pillars of the well architected framework: Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability Performance Efficiency and Cost Optimization. AWS are really trying to make well architected applications open to everyone and we’re excited to see AWS externalising their best practices even more through a testable tool.

If you’re interested in how any of these new features could make a big impact at your organisation (whilst also demystifing the technical terms from this hot take) or would like one of DMW’s architects to help with your application build in the cloud; please get in touch with us for a discussion or a workshop. You can also follow our Cloud Brick Wall blog series on DMW’s Konrad Petrusewicz’s view of the trials and tribulations of moving to Cloud.