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Recapping AWS re:Invent 2021

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Find out what’s on the horizon for AWS with our lively review of the most important news from AWS re:Invent 2021.

AWS re:Invent arrived in Las Vegas at the end of November 2021 in a flurry of keynotes, leadership sessions and breakout sessions. Attendees had countless opportunities for learning and collaboration, with training and certification sessions, workshops and labs, as well as fun Jams and GameDays. But the big draw of AWS re:Invent is discovering what’s on the horizon for AWS.

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In this webinar, we take the hard work out of identifying the AWS news you need to know about. Hosts Ric Harvey, Joshua Fox, Evgeny Zislis and Jason Gregson reveal the re:Invent highlights, discussing the most interesting announcements, sessions and key takeaways from the event. You can look forward to insightful and entertaining commentary that will help you keep abreast of the big news in cloud computing — specifically AWS — and highlight some of the areas you may need to focus on as 2022 progresses.

On the agenda

In a slew of announcements characterized by lots of incremental changes rather than a few major innovations, it’s difficult to seize on any key themes. Our speakers whittle down the list to focus on a handful of the most important announcements.

We’ve divided this webinar into two sessions for your convenience. Each of the one-hour sessions features a deep dive by our featured cloud expert into the chosen topic:

Session 1: Data, Analytics and ML

In this session, DoiT senior cloud architects Joshua Fox and Jason Gregson and technical director Evgeny Zislis discuss enhancements around commodity machine learning that were announced at this year’s re:Invent, as well as other innovations of interest.

Announcements around commodity machine learning

AWS delivers two types of services related to machine learning (ML): The first offers a way to create ML models from scratch; the second uses ML internally, so users don’t need to do any advanced work to get the benefits of ML. Examples include bundled solutions such as the Amazon Kendra intelligent search service and Amazon Rekognition computer vision platform. ​​

At re:Invent 2021, AWS announced an addition to Textract that allows it to work on identity documents such as passports and drivers’ licenses, extracting information from images such as names, dates of birth and expiration dates without the need of a template.

From the perspective of developers, the DevOps Guru service now recognizes various problems that occur in database instances in the RDS service such as anomalous performance issues or spikes in connections.

Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer now includes Secrets Detector to identify password and key detection in source code. This ensures that no secrets have been inadvertently embedded in code and potentially discovered by malicious users.

An experience builder, a new search analytics dashboard and custom document enrichment have been added to Amazon Kendra.

Announcements around innovation

This year, AWS released two new types of CPUS: Trainium CPUs and the Graviton 3, which is the third generation of its Graviton processors. These are particularly relevant to people who are doing high-intensity training for ML models.

Serverless Inference has been launched, meaning you only pay when you are actually using inference on your endpoints. It provides inference as a service, but with the customer’s models rather than Amazon’s.

Sagemaker studio improvements:

  • The biggest innovation was Sagemaker Canvas, which offers a way to visualize analysis and generate predictions without the need for code.
  • The integration of Sagemaker with the EMR (Elastic MapReduce) makes it easier to use Sagemaker with EMR.
  • Sagemaker Studio Lab: This offers a gateway to ML by offering free access to Sagemaker Studio.

Session 2: Core Infrastructure

In this session, DoiT senior cloud architects Jason Gregson and Avi Keinan discussed announcements around storage, database and analytics, networking and Internet of Things (IoT) and monitoring and security.

Storage

A new recycle bin for EBS Snapshots allows you to restore accidentally deleted snapshots. Amazon also released a new storage deal called Archive that could generate substantial cost savings.

Amazon FSx for OpenZFS is the newest addition to the Amazon FSx family. This could be a genuinely exciting addition that reintroduces the community to ZFS and represents a quality addition to the storage fleet. It uses the Graviton processor, reducing costs and improving performance.

Amazon also announced the Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval storage class, which offers the lowest cost storage for long-lived data that is seldom used and needs millisecond retrieval. The potential cost savings could be significant.

Access management for data stored in Amazon S3 has been simplified. This could be useful, but our speakers worry that it might not be used properly.

You can now use Amazon S3 Event Notifications with Amazon EventBridge. This is an interesting feature that will allow you to do more with EventBridge. It should also save time because it involves less coding.

Database and analytics

Serverless was the key theme of re:Invent’s announcements around database and analytics:

  • Amazon Redshift Serverless automatically provisions the right compute resources for running analytics at scale. Users don’t need to manage nodes, so they can run queries much faster because the nodes are generated in the background.
  • Amazon EMR Serverless is a serverless option in Amazon EMR that makes it easy for data engineers to run open-source big data analytics frameworks easily
  • Amazon RDS Custom for Microsoft SQL Server is now generally available. Our speakers believe that this has limited usefulness and is probably most suitable for legacy enterprises involved in lift and shift.

Networking and IoT

Another development with limited usefulness is AWS Private 5G, a new managed service that helps enterprises quickly set up and scale private 5G mobile networks in their facilities.

AWS announced the preview release of AWS Cloud WAN, a managed wide area network service that makes it easy for you to set up and manage a global network to connect resources running across cloud and on-premises environments.

AWS IoT RoboRunner is designed for building robot fleet management applications. The new service streamlines the process of building and deploying applications that help fleets of robots work together seamlessly.

Monitoring and security

Automatic Application Layer DDoS Mitigation is now available for AWS Shield Advanced. This is a new set of capabilities included for all customers with Shield Advanced, a more sensitive, tailored version of the managed Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection service AWS Shield.

Real-User Monitoring (RUM) is being added to Amazon CloudWatch. This will help customers collect metrics to provide the necessary insights to understand and improve user experience. Our speakers believe this will be great for digital natives just starting the cloud journey but is unlikely to have mass appeal.

Migrations

AWS Migration Hub Refactor Spaces is a new capability of AWS Migration Hub that allows users to refactor existing applications into distributed applications. Our speakers agreed that this new capability could be fraught with danger for inexperienced users.

Community

Amazon has added a new Q&A service to the AWS Free Tier called AWS re:Post.

Well Architected

AWS Well-Architected Framework is getting a new Sustainability Pillar to to help organizations learn, measure, and improve their workloads using environmental best practices for cloud computing.

Wrapping up

Our speakers really valued the opportunity that AWS re:Invent 2021 provided for networking and connecting in person with customers, partners, colleagues and fellow cloud experts. To hear more of their thoughts on the 2021 event — and find out how they really feel about what was (and wasn’t) announced — be sure to check out the webinar, available now.


To stay connected, follow us on the DoiT Engineering Blog, DoiT Linkedin Channel and DoiT Twitter Channel. To explore career opportunities, visit https://careers.doit.com.

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