AWS re:Invent 2019 Review: Another Big Week in the Desert

Chris Bunch, GM for Cloudreach's AWS Practice reflects on some of the top announcements from AWS re:Invent 2019.

Regular readers (hi Mum!) will know I couldn’t make it out to Nevada this year, so as part of my keeping-on-top-of-the-announcements following a holiday, I thought I’d share what I learned...

What happened?

Close to 65,000 people rocked up to Las Vegas - this is an insane number of people, given the many other events AWS run now (re:Mars, re:Inforce, various Summits, etc). Kudos to AWS for organising. I’ve only heard positive things from customers, Cloudreachers, and analysts who attended. Other than the odd gripe about the freshness, or lack of, when it comes to casino air...

What really happened?

A lot. Too much for me to summarise here in fact, so here’s a quick summary of the ones that caught my eye instead. All the keynotes are available online if you want to watch them after the fact, of course.

First up: AWS Local Zones - a really interesting new expansion of AWS’ geographies intended to allow service provision with super-low latency, close to users. This will, of course, take time to roll out at any scale, but right now if you’re deployed in US-West Region, you can use this today in Los Angeles if network performance is critical for users.

Sticking with performance, AWS Wavelength embeds AWS technology into the stack of major mobile providers like Vodafone - again, targeting super-low latency by being close to users, mobile users in this case.

As expected, AWS Outposts went ‘GA’ and launch partners (like Cloudreach!) were announced. This is AWS’ hybrid offering now available to use, having been refined in Preview mode over the past year with select clients. Linked to the above, this could be very interesting for customers who can’t yet move some workloads to the cloud - perhaps for performance reasons and need to run “local”. 

Also as expected, there’s a ton of new announcements in the Machine Learning arena. The one’s I would pick out include SageMaker Studio (making it easier to develop and deploy ML in a simple IDE), Kendra (a simple to use managed enterprise search service), and Fraud Detector (does what it says on the tin...uses ML to detect fraudulent activity like credit card fraud).

Quantum! It’s still early days, but AWS Braket provides a managed service to make experimenting with Quantum easier - great news for fascinating companies like Rigetti

My pick of the Serverless announcements is Lamba Provisioned Concurrency - removing any concerns about started up latency when performance is critical.

Also noteworthy was the release of EKS on Fargate (a further simplification of K8s deployments, removing the complexity around node management).

On the hardware side, some blisteringly quick new chipsets were announced. Expect to see huge competition amongst the major manufacturers, and downward cost pressure on certain workload deployments as a result. In this instance, the biggest news was around new Arm-based instances.

Finally, AWS Detective - essentially allows you to capture, search and efficiently review huge reams of data to find suspicious activities or security challenges. Definitely a hot topic and solves a solution that people would have paid money for or rolled their own solution when they needed to dig deep into the underlying data at scale.

Much Oracle bashing?

Some, yep! My favourite being a dig at an Oracle audit notice in a graphic shown... Microsoft also found themselves a target a little more this year - there’s a war on Windows workloads at the moment. AWS announced a simplified BYOL model and manager, as part of the assault here.

Anything for Cloudreach?

Lots! We got a shout out from Andy Jassy, an award for being the top public sector partner in EMEA, presented on stage with BP and Global Payments, became a launch partner for Outposts and had countless positive meetings with AWS and customers alike. Thanks to all involved.

Sounds great, see you next year?

You bet, couldn’t miss it two years in a row, could I?


For more information about the Cloudreach AWS Practice click here.

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