After the deluge of announcements during Andy Jassy’s Wednesday keynote, I had a hard time imagining what else AWS could possibly have left to announce yesterday. Of course, in typical AWS fashion, they had a lot more to talk about.
Werner Vogel, Amazon’s CTO, laid out a strong case that developers, data analysts, and basically just about anyone involved with data spend 80 percent of their time preparing data to become usable — and not always successfully — while only spending 20% of their time on the actually analysis and use of that information. He laid out a vision for a new, modern data architecture – one that would flip that equation and therefore transform the way with which we can generate value and insight from all our data sources. The transformer theme, woven throughout Vogel’s talk (and even his shirt), was so pronounced that one wonders why the new AWS Snowmobile didn’t have an Optimus Prime paint job.
In pursuit of enabling this transformation, the Keynote showcased a large number of new and enhanced services, most centered around removing a lot of the scut work that reduces development speed, efficiency, and agility.
AWS OpsWorks for Chef: A fully managed Chef Automation environment that helps take a lot of the work out of continuous deployment.
Amazon EC2 Systems Manager: A suite of tools for task automation, package installation, resource configuration, and patching on Amazon EC2.
AWS Codebuild: A fully managed and extensible build service for compiling source code and running unit tests. Codebuild integrates with a wide array of AWS services, and helps make CI/CD pipelines more efficient.
Personal Health Dashboard: Allowing developers to gain visibility into service health issues that may be affecting their application.
Amazon X-Ray: Another debuting tool, X-Ray lets developers analyze, visualize and debug distributed applications and identify performance bottlenecks.
AWS Shield: A new AWS security tool designed to provide layer 3/4 DDoS protection to web applications.
AWS Batch: Batch offers fully-managed, highly scalable batch processing without having to install batch processing software, manage servers, or worry about the finer points of job scheduling.
AWS Glue : A fully-managed data catalog and ETL service that makes it easy to transfer data among data stores while also simplifying associated tasks such as data discovery, conversion, and mapping.
Amazon Pinpoint: A new analytics tool to improve the behavioral analysis and engagement with mobile customers.
AWS Step Functions: Lets developers organize the components of distributed applications using visual workflows. Users can step through functions at scale, improving debugging.
Blox: A collection of open source projects for container management and orchestration.
Lambda@Edge: While just a preview at this point, this service enables Lambda functions at AWS edge locations, as well as execution in response to CloudFront events.
Sessions and Events
As usual, the conference agenda was stuffed to the gills with interesting and useful events, session, and demos. The meat of AWS, of course, is the wide array of breakout sessions. I was able to attend a few, three of which were particularly strong.
Lee Atchison from New Relic gave a particularly interesting talk on cloud monitoring and how best to architect applications and infrastructure to ensure they are fully measurable. This is challenging under any circumstances, but particularly so as applications and their underlying resources become more dynamic, more ephemeral. Gannet News discussed how they were able to transform their systems in this regard, offering a lot of insight into how to create and manage dynamic IT.
More architectural advice, this time with a focus on security, came from an AWS-led session on architecting end-to-end security in the enterprise, while a related session, also AWS-led, explored how to best automate security event response in such an architecture. This last is critical to have scalability and predictability when remediating security issues. In combination, these two sessions helped lay out an approach for highly dynamic, manageable, and secure systems.
The expo hall was very heavily-trafficked, with booths offering monitoring solutions and security analysis and governance being especially busy. IoT was also a topic of great interest during the conference, with several intriguing vendor offerings.
Check back Monday for our full conference recap.
-John Lawler, Sr. Product Manager
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April 14, 2017