Cloud Architecture

AWS re:Invent Week Three Roundup

5 min read • Dec 19, 2020

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By Susnigdha Tripathy

Susnigdha Tripathy is a Singapore-based passionate freelance writer and editor who specializes in writing about technology, remote work, and productivity.

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Amazon CTO, Werner Vogels wrapped up the final week at AWS re:Invent with exciting announcements and a powerful message to developers.

The keynote by Vogels was a critical session where he talked about building resilient architectures. He tackled subjects like automated reasoning tools, the future of software development, and quantum computing. The concept of automated reasoning identifies mathematical proofs of correctness in a system. Vogels explained that these tools are the only way to protect highly complex systems against unintentional exposure of valuable data. He stated, “One of the most important benefits is that users can leverage these tools to help identify gaps in the design phase before any data is exposed.” 

VPC Reachability Analyzer is a network diagnostics tool that uses automated reasoning to test connectivity between two endpoints in or across VPCs. Another tool that Vogels talked about was AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Access Analyzer. They use the same concept to validate a large number of IAM policies on their effectiveness. 

Vogels remarked that the best way to understand how an application will behave when a failure occurs is chaos engineering. In addition, he announced the preview of AWS Fault Injection Stimulator. The chaos engineering service allows teams to run failure experiments to test an application’s weaknesses at scale. Vogels remarked, “We believe that chaos engineering is for everyone, not just shops running at Amazon or Netflix scale.”

AWS re:Invent screenshot

As systems become more complex, it becomes difficult to know what goes on inside them. Vogels posed this same question when he asked, “How can we without reaching into the system infer its internal state from the data that we have?” It is simple. The three key pillars of observability—metrics, logging, and tracing, allow one to infer the state of a system from its outputs. 

CloudWatch collects data as logs and metrics consequently making it impossible to analyze data by standard metrics. Contributor Insights and canaries however, help developers and operators quickly isolate and diagnose problems in high-cardinality data. “One of the great things with building canaries with Cloudwatch synthetics,” said Vogels, “is that it integrates with Cloudwatch serverless and AWS Xray to provide a graphical end-to-end feel of the services in your application.” 

At Amazon, the motto has always been to fix problems before they affect customers. So, the emphasis on automated reasoning tools, chaos engineering, and monitoring. 

Vogels spoke about AWS Distro for Open Telemetry, now a part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s OpenTelemetry community. Distro will enable developers to use libraries and open-source APIs. This enables them to instrument their application just once instead of using tools from multiple vendors. It thus simplifies the process of data collection. 

As a software developer, now is the time to start thinking about quantum computing.

Dr. Werner Vogels, Amazon CTO

Vogels expressed keen confidence in the future of quantum computing. He mentioned Amazon Braket, a quantum computing service launched last year which makes quantum resources available to developers and researchers. 

“This is where the power of cloud really shines,” Vogels remarked, As a software developer, now is the time to start thinking about quantum computing.” Reiterating Amazon’s customer-obsessed approach, he urged developers to find ways to meet their customers where they are. “There has never been a better time to use your knowledge, skills, and talents to make a difference in the world. Now Go Build!”

Key Launches from Week Three

Amazon Managed Service for Prometheus (AMP) – AMP is a fully-managed service. It's 100% compatible with Prometheus, a leading open-source monitoring solution. It eliminates the need to deploy Prometheus manually and offers seamless integration with Amazon Managed Service for Grafana (AMG). 

Amazon Managed Service for Grafana (AMG) - Amazon Managed Service for Grafana (AMG) is currently available for preview. AMG provides customers with a secure and fully managed visualization service across diverse data sources. 

Fleet Manager - Fleet Manager is a new capability in AWS Systems Manager. It provides customers with visual tools to manage their server fleets from a single location without connecting to individual servers. 

Application Manager – Systems Manager bundles application information into a single console, making it easier for customers to manage their applications. 

Change Manager is a new management feature of AWS System manager. It monitors and manages changes in the company from a single administrator account. 

AWS CloudShell - AWS CloudShell is a pre-authenticated browser-based shell for developers. It enables them to use their favorite command-line tools inside the AWS console. 

FreeRTOS Long Term Support – The new LTS feature will now support FreeRTOS version for two years. It ensures a more stable operating system with systematic security patches and critical bug fixes. 

AWS IoT Core for LoRaWAN – IoT Core for LoRaWAN is a fully-managed service feature. It allows IoT customers to connect their low-power devices to a long-range wide area network (LoRaWAN) to the AWS cloud.

AWS IoT Device Defender ML Detect  IoT Device Defender can detect security anomalies in IoT devices. It detects a security breach, then immediately sends an alert to the customer. 

AWS IoT SiteWise Edge  IoT SiteWise Edge provides on-premise developers with AWS IoT Sitewise features. With this, they can develop applications at their end. This optimizes cloud bandwidth therefore allowing developers to choose what data to send for further processing. 

With five keynotes, 18 leadership sessions, and over 500 breakout sessions, it had been a marathon three-week run at AWS re:Invent 2020. This week, re:Invent 2020 came to a triumphant close, and we surely need time to process the announcements and the flurry of releases. One thing is certain—Amazon has no intention of ceding its dominant position in the cloud computing space anytime soon. 

Watch more hot takes from this week’s keynotes in our breakout series, Hallway Conversations, available to watch on YouTube or on our Virtasant at re:Invent page

Susnigdha Tripathy

By Susnigdha Tripathy