December 5th, 2017
Key Concepts from re:Invent 2017
By Pavel Yarema

AWS re:Invent 2017 was a fun-filled event that entailed great food, entertainment, and myriad of great announcements from AWS. Amazon already provides great IaaS and PaaS services, but with the new features announced last week, AWS is now even more compelling for on-premises companies to migrate to the cloud.

Instead of listing every update or new service (that would be a very long article), I decided to highlight the vision and key concepts Amazon shared throughout various keynotes and product announcements. For a complete list of all the updates and releases, visit What’s New from AWS.

Higher Availability

In today’s world, highly available applications are a requirement rather than a luxury. Customers demand websites, applications, and online services to be available 24/7 and accessible from anywhere in the world. Amazon understands that this is no easy task and already offers services such as EC2 AutoScaling, CloudFront, and Elastic Load Balancers to make development of highly available applications easier.

Last week, Amazon announced a preview for Aurora Multi-Master Databases. This allows for the creation of multiple Aurora database instances spread across multiple Availability Zones (AZ). In the event of an AZ outage, Aurora master instances in other AZ would be able to take over immediately and support read and write requests with no application downtime.

Similar updates occurred to the DynamoDB service as well. New DynamoDB Global Tables makes it easier to replicate tables across regions without the complexity of manually ensuring the tables are in sync. It is evident that AWS is listening to their customers’ needs and is striving to implement higher availability features in their managed service offerings.

Natural Interaction using Voice

Amazon CTO, Werner Vogels, explained in his keynote address that there is a major shift in how humans will interact with technology. He explains that humans want to interact with their environment and devices in a natural way. He stated that “Voice represents the next major disruption in computing.” Amazon Alexa voice service is already widely accepted service by millions of customers.

He went on to introduce an expansion to the Amazon Echo service. Alexa service will expand into the business realm. Alexa for Business will allow employees of a company to effortlessly join calls in the conference room along with other cool capabilities such as dimming the conference room lights and closing the blinds. Alexa for Business integrates with a variety of applications that allows for a more a more efficient and natural way of interacting in the office space.

Aside from the release of Alexa for business, Werner Vogels continually hinted that Amazon is in the business of making and providing services to drive the latest technology innovations of the 21st century—especially when it comes to using natural human interactions to interface with our environment.

Giving Developers Freedom

Providing developers freedom to use whatever service they want was heavily emphasized at this year’s re:Invent conference. Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services, really believes in providing developers with choices, stating that “having everything is everything”.

This is evident with the launch of Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (Amazon EKS). Amazon recognized that Kubernetes became a quite popular open-source container orchestration service and decided to give developers freedom and ability to create containers on managed container orchestration platform of their choice (ECS or EKS).

Easier Development for Everyone

There is no doubt that Amazon wants to make it easier for new AWS users to get comfortable using and developing on AWS quickly. This year at re:Invent, AWS released a new cloud-based IDE called Cloud9 that allows multiple developers to pair programs on an application. In addition, with Cloud9, you can test and debug Lambda functions locally before pushing it to the cloud.

Amazon Sumerian is another product that showcases this principle. Using Sumerian allows users to easily build 3D, VR, AR applications without any previous VR/AR expertise. I believe that AWS is creating a similar revolution to YouTube by allowing more content creators the accessibility to create next generation content without heavy up-front costs or commitments.

 Summary

These were just a few of the highlights from AWS re:Invent 2017. I believe that Amazon will continue to adhere to the changing customer requirements of having more diverse services to choose from, higher availability, and faster and easier development cycles.

If you have additional questions about any newly released AWS services (or anything AWS-related), let us know! Schedule a consultation. We’d love to chat with you about how 1Strategy can help your business with your journey into or through the AWS cloud.