Re:Invent 2019 – We *really* should have gone back to the room – Episode 51

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Re:Invent 2019 - We *really* should have gone back to the room - Episode 51
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Your co-hosts celebrate the one-year anniversary of the podcast by returning to the place where it all started – AWS Re:Invent. Joining us once again is Ryan Lucas (@ryron01) as we recap the largest week in Cloud.

A big thanks to this week’s sponsors:

  • Foghorn Consulting, which provides full stack cloud solutions with a focus on strategy, planning, and execution for enterprises seeking to take advantage of the transformative capabilities of AWS, Google Cloud and Azure.
  • Blue Medora, which offers pioneering IT monitoring integration as a service to address today’s IT challenges by easily connecting system health and performance data–no matter its source–with the world’s leading monitoring and analytics platforms. 

This week’s highlights

  • Machine Learning took center stage as the engine behind many of the new machines introduced over the week, and we expect to see it implemented more and more.

AWS Draft — and the Winner is… 

On episode 49, we drafted each of our top three picks for what we thought would be announced at Re:Invent. It’s a three-way tie for first! Each one of us correctly guessed one of our three picks, and nobody guessed that Anderson .Paak would make a musical appearance, leaving the tie unbroken. (Peter predicted that Formula 1 racing would be included, but it was a runner-up choice and goes uncounted.)

Moving on to Re:Invent, we cover the announcements day-by-day:


Toys and Security

AWS launched DeepComposer, the world’s first machine learning enabled keyboard. The 32-key, 2-octave keyboard is designed to help developers to get hands-on with AI. You can train the program to generate compositions based on musical genres, but don’t expect any compelling vocals from it yet, though. Check out the announcement for sample selections. For only $99 you will be able to buy a MIDI keyboard (worth about $50) with the AWS logo on 

DeepRacer, a machine-learning based toy from yesteryear has received its own upgrades (a stereo camera and LIDAR sensor) which allow the cars to be trained to race each other physically in addition to virtually.

Identity and Access Management (IAM) Access Analyzer launches for free as a way to get an overview on your access control policies — it mathematically analyzes access control policies attached to resources and determines which resources can be accessed publicly or from other accounts. 

A preview version of EC2 Image Builder has also launched to help you maintain secure OS images for Windows Server and Amazon Linux 2. This is especially good for anyone just starting their cloud journey. We’re glad to see this available now, but where was it four or five years ago when it should have first been built?! 😉 


The Quantum Realm

There wasn’t a ton of news, but Amazon Braket was announced. It will allow you to access real and virtual quantum computers to test out your code. The fully managed service lets you design your own quantum algorithms from scratch or choose from a set of pre-built algorithms.


The Main Event

Several new services were announced:

Amazon Kendra will use machine learning to give your users a search engine they can query using natural language. Apparently “Amazon AskJeeves” didn’t make it past legal. 

Amazon Fraud Detector is available in preview to identify fraudulent actions automatically for you. It uses machine learning and 20 years of fraud detection expertise from AWS and 

AWS Wavelength promises to be a boon for the mobile gaming industry by allowing the 5G network to reach single-digit millisecond latencies. 

AWS Code Guru, while potentially expensive, will analyze your code to help optimize it. We’ll keep an eye on this while details emerge. 

UltraWarm will help you to hold onto old data logs with a cheaper storage option for less-frequently accessed logs.

There were plenty of updates to infrastructure as well. Get ready…

Graviton2 will power new ARM-based instances. 

Amazon S3 Access Points will help you manage your data lakes with access policies without a bucket or key policy. 

AWS now offers a new Los Angeles Local Zone called us-west-2-lax-1a, which is a terrible name. You’ll have to opt-in if you want to try to lower your latency with this service. 

AWS Outposts will be available for your datacenter if you have enterprise support, and air conditioning, and half a million dollars. If you’re a business on a budget you can pay in monthly increments of only $14,924 per month. 

Network Manager will let you visualize your global network and perform inter-region peering. Machine learning makes another appearance, this time helping you choose your instances with AWS Compute Optimizer. We’re hoping to see something like this happen dynamically in real-time to help drive down the price of some of that VM power. 

Security teams will be pleased to see VPC Ingress Routing, but for us it’s just a step in the right direction.

In database news, Managed Apache Cassandra Service will offer a way to never have to support a Global Cassandra Ring ever again. Instead, you can use Managed Apache Cassandra at a price of $1.45 per million write requests and $0.29 per million read requests, with storage at $0.30 per gigabyte per month. 

Amazon RDS Proxy has entered preview, and will sit between your app and its database to manage the frequently opened and closed connections.

Amazon Detective will give you an overview of your security details for anyone who doesn’t have a security team. If you do have a security team, they’ll find that Security Hub and IAM Access Analyzer have integrated. And if that security team doesn’t trust the system administrator, they’ll be able to use Nitro Enclaves to put an extra layer of protection into your system.

The big announcement in containers is that EKS on Fargate is now generally available. The most surprising thing — none of us predicted it in our draft! Also available are ECS Capacity Providers and ECS Cluster Auto Scaling. If you want to scale your ECS workload up and down dynamically this is really going to help you.

Amazon has succumbed to the community’s demands and released Provisioned Concurrency for Lambda Functions to help you avoid cold-start penalties. Expect machine learning to factor in soon. 

Two other new serverless services were introduced: EventBridge Schema Registry to help you connect your applications and Step Functions Express Workflows to allow developers to assemble AWS services into fast serverless workflow, at the price of some durability. 

Finally, there was some Big Data news, as SageMaker announced seven new capabilities, which may be a deathblow to DataBricks on the Amazon platform. Check out the updates in the link roundup below. 


Partner Summit

Amazon released the Chime Meetings app for Slack. We’re excited! API Gateway (without the gateway) will offer efficient HTTP APIs starting at $1 per million requests. We hope to see the rest of API Gateway get re-architected as well. And if you’re using Windows containers, you’ll be able to use group Managed Service Account to authenticate and authorize within your network using an Active Directory.


Dawn of the Final Day

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels gave his keynote talk to wrap up the conference and moved from Nitro to Firegate to a masterclass talk in distributed system design, but concluded with a discussion on industry 4.0. 

You can peek behind Amazon’s curtain by reading The Amazon Builder’s Library. Even if you’re not a mathematician, we recommend checking at least one of these out if you’re planning on building a system. Reader beware though — you probably don’t operate at the same scale as Amazon.

Other headlines mentioned:

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