re:Invent 2014: What AWS Users Must Know to Plan for Agile Infrastructure

Last week was AWS re:Invent 2014, the annual Amazon Web Services conference. Every year, the event brings with it the newest announcements in Amazon cloud products, services and strategies.

This year’s event, as expected, marked the release of several technologies that continue to showcase Amazon’s dominance in the public cloud space.

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New Cloud Services for Enterprises

One of the themes among the announcements was a continued focus on the enterprise market using the cloud. The perceptions about the public cloud have been rapidly changing. Most large companies are moving workloads and applications to the cloud. Doing so allows them to take advantage of the agility and flexibility cloud infrastructure has to offer.

But, there have been some gaps in Amazon’s coverage. Especially in regard to providing the control and audit that large companies need.

To improve the ability to audit resources and actions, Amazon has introduced AWS Config. This feature provides a history of various resources and any changes made to these resources.

Amazon also announced Service Catalog, available during early 2015. AWS Service Catalog aims to solve the problems that top-level IT departments face when ensuring various parts of companies are conforming to organizational requirements. Access can be granted by user, group, department or cost center, and can be limited to specific resources.

Big Data Deployments Get High Availability Database Access

There were other interesting announcements, some of which impact the management of big data deployments.

The first among these was Amazon’s announcement of a new cloud based database engine fully compatible with MySQL. It’s called Aurora, a truly cloud native DB engine offered at a tenth of the cost of traditional DBs. It is built from the ground up for high availability (HA) and pay-for-what-you-need usage.

Another major announcement was about AWS Lambda, a Lambda architecture as a service. Amazon takes care of the HA requirements, while the users focus on writing functions to perform the required tasks. This should have a huge impact on the world of Big Data, where users are having to manage their own Spark and Storm clusters. Instead, they can now leave the heavy-lifting to Amazon.

AWS Eases DevOps with New Tools

Other major themes included helping clear the path to DevOps and a tighter integration of the DevOps ecosystem. Amazon has announced code hosting services.

In addition to AWS CodeDeploy, you can simplify code deployments and ease the setup processes for continuous deployments, testing and rollbacks. Even though the cloud has enabled agility, it still takes a lot of process improvements to get to a usable state. Easing this process will have a tremendous impact on the ability of most users to take advantage of the cloud.

Early during 2015, we should also see CodePipeline and CodeCommit, both of which will further enhance this process. That will be in conjunction with the new Key Manager service.

Better Orchestration for Containers

Lastly, the most impactful for Flux7 and its clients was the announcement of EC2 Container Service (ECS).

In our view, the biggest weakness of Docker has been in its lack of orchestration across containers. ECS will now allow for creating clusters of EC2 instances. It will provide tools for orchestrating and managing the deployed services running on these instances using Docker containers.

Creating Change In Your Business

We see these new capabilities further demonstrating AWS’ commitment to improving services and meeting new customer demands.

Andy Jassy’s challenge to all of us is to take the knowledge home. To put these new technologies and strategies to work in our businesses. So, that’s just what we’ll be doing. We’re already buzzing about helping our customers to realize the agility that AWS promises.

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