AWS re:Invent: 5 Announcements Tech Teams Should Know About

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AWS re:Invent 2017 finished up last Friday. The Las Vegas event was attended by an impressive crowd of more than 40,000 people. Over the five day conference, customers, partners, and Amazon employees came together for a compelling range of keynotes, bootcamps, and networking events.


Announcements at the conference came thick and fast. By the end of the event, AWS had unveiled a total of 70 new products and services.


With so much to take in it can feel a little overwhelming. So in this post, we explore five key  announcements likely to be particularly relevant for enterprise tech teams in 2018.


(For a more comprehensive rundown of announcements, check out this video from Cloud Guru.)


AWS EKS (AKA Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes)


The is perhaps the most newsworthy announcement of the conference. Over the last three years, Kubernetes has become the gold standard for container orchestration – an important component in the running of microservice architectures.


EKS makes it much easier for tech teams to deploy their Kubernetes workloads to the AWS cloud.


Kubernetes is an open source project built by Google engineers of the back of their experiences operating huge search engine production workloads.


AWS is not breaking new ground here. Google has had a hosted Kubernetes solution for some time as part of their public cloud offering, and Microsoft added support for Azure earlier this year. Therefore, many AWS customers were keenly awaiting the arrival of EKS.


The service is fully managed, with Amazon taking care of the Kubernetes master cluster as a service, keeping it available, patched and appropriately scaled.


EKS runs on an upstream version of the open source Kubernetes software, allowing for the use of existing plugins and tools developed by the Kubernetes community.


Applications running on EKS are fully compatible with any standard Kubernetes environment, whether in on-premise data centres or public cloud. This means existing Kubernetes applications can be migrated to EKS with no code changes required.


AWS Fargate


Another new container service was announced alongside EKS: AWS Fargate.


Fargate allows you to run containers without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.


The could be a potential game changer. Fargate users won’t have to provide their own worker fleet as this is managed entirely by AWS. By removing the challenges associated with operating the container ecosystem, enterprise tech teams can focus their attention on generating business value. Initially supporting just ECS, Fargate will offer support for Kubernetes via EKS during 2018.


Amazon GuardDuty


This is a new threat detection service for AWS’ public cloud offering. It enables customers to monitor traffic flow and API logs across their accounts.


Users can specify their own baseline of ‘normal’ behaviour within their infrastructure, and GuardDuty will watch for anomalies. These are reported with a severity rating, and remediation for certain types of events can be automated using existing AWS tools.


The service also keeps track of things like malicious IP addresses and suspect domain names by consuming multiple threat intelligence data streams.


As AWS have stated that security is a top priority, the announcement of GuardDuty shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Importantly, the service is set to give AWS a competitive advantage over competitors in the cloud space. Security solutions offered by other vendors are clumsy as they are primarily based on previous generations of on-premise hardware appliances.


AWS GuardDuty lives in the fabric of the cloud itself, and other vendors will find it hard to compete with this level of access.


It’s likely that over time, existing security vendors will move their business model further towards becoming AWS partners, adding value to Amazon services rather than providing their own.


AWS Cloud 9


This one is for all the developers working with AWS. Cloud 9 is an integrated development environment (IDE) for writing, running, and debugging code all from your web browser.


It has in-built support for most popular programming languages (JavaScript, Python, PHP etc.) so developers won’t have to spend time installing various compiler and tool chains.


Cloud 9 also provides a seamless experience when working with serverless applications by allowing developers to easily switch between local and remote testing or debugging.


AWS DeepLens


DeepLens is a new video camera that runs deep learning models directly on the device itself.


While this announcement is has less direct relevance for enterprise, it certainly drew a lot of attention at the conference and is worth keeping an eye on.


For those seeking to expand their skill set in preparation for the future, this piece of kit offers a great way of getting hands on experience with AI, IoT and serverless computing.


It can be used to build some very impressive apps. For example the camera can be setup to open garage doors whenever recognised license plates approach.