Ease of Use, Hybrid Cloud are Banner Themes at AWS re:Invent 2016

aws reinvent announcements

At re:Invent 2016 Werner Vogels, AWS CTO, donned a Transformer shirt to tell us we can be Transformers. And, Andy Jassy, AWS CEO, emphasized in his presentation that we can all be superheroes, with superpowers. This emphasis on the ability to easily control, manage and even transform your AWS environment -- from x-ray vision to immortality -- was a great way to frame the two themes of the show which boiled down to increased ease of use and a greater acceptance for the hybrid cloud model.

Now that the first wave of innovators and early adopters have moved their workloads to the cloud, we are seeing majority, more pragmatist organizations, migrating to the cloud. However, unlike early movers who were willing to navigate the complexity of AWS tools and technology, this second wave of organizations puts a higher premium on ease-of-use. Given that, let’s look at how AWS has done just this through our lens of operations, DevOps and Security.DevOps

For DevOps teams, the big AWS news was CodeBuild, a fully managed build service. AWS CodeBuild allows developers to compile source code and run unit tests. Historically, as an AWS consulting partner, Flux7 has used CodeCommit in conjunction with a third party tool, like Jenkins,in the middle of the pipeline in order to complete it. Now, with CodeBuild, it will complete the pipeline and run it for you. 

Operations

On the operations side of the house, there were several AWS re:invent announcements that have made management much easier and more straight-forward. EC2 Systems Manager is the primary example. An integrated toolset, if you will, EC2 Systems Manager makes credential management, patching, configuration management and task automation much easier. Previously, operations would be doing all these things themselves, and getting assistance from other vendors and tools. Where once a third-party credential management systems was needed, now, it’s all easily managed within AWS.

In addition, AWS new services included Organizations, the ability to have and easily manage multiple accounts. We have long recommended multiple accounts to our clients as a best practice, and are particularly excited at this announcement. As a result, we will dive into the topic of AWS account management in a separate blog tutorial. In the meantime, you can check out the AWS security blog for their summary.

Security

For security teams, AWS announced Shield, a managed service that protects web applications from DDOS attacks. Applied automatically to Elastic Load Balancers, Amazon CloudFront distributions, and Route 53 resources, Shield is promoted as protecting you from 96% of all common DDOS attack types, all without extra cost or lifting a finger. While there is a second level of DDOS protection available, called Shield Advanced, it is just as easy to use and provides additional handholding in the form of 24×7 access to the AWS DDOS Response Team.

Hybrid Cloud

In addition to increasing ease-of-use, AWS has recognized with the announcements at re:Invent that hybrid cloud must be addressed. In its partnership with VMware, AWS has made cloud migration easier, but has also made a significant overture to acknowledge that some companies do -- and will for some time -- make use of both AWS and on-premise systems, most of which make use of VMware.

Additionally, AWS has embraced the idea that not every application will transform to fit to the AWS platform. Yet, with its cloud migration tools, organizations considering legacy application migration, and/or applications created outside of the DevOps cycle can still take advantage of the power of AWS. By applying best practice infrastructure support to these out of the box applications, AWS is giving them a solid foundation while recognizing that not everything conforms to an AWS DevOps world view. A great example of this is the presentation given at re:Invent by John Hutchinson, the Director of IT Infrastructure at Technip. We will dive into this topic in more depth in an upcoming blog as well. Stay tuned for that.

Bringing it all together, what do these announcements mean to AWS users or would-be users? First and foremost, they mean that moving to, working in and managing AWS will become even easier across the board -- from Development to Operations and Security. AWS’s focus on serverless, with the exception of EC2 systems management, also clearly outlines the future trajectory for ease of use. Last, re:Invent showed us that working with AWS in tandem with your on-premise data center will be easier and that the barriers to entry are rapidly being removed. Long-term, we’ll continue to see momentum grow behind features and whole tools that streamline the process of working in AWS, regardless of your role.

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