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Key Takeaways from AWS re:Invent 2018

Amazon's cloud conference offered hints of what's to come.

December 20, 2018

4 Min Read
Takeaway
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By Philip Seibel

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Philip Seibel

Let’s look at some of the most significant announcements coming out of the recent AWS re:Invent 2018, Amazon’s global cloud computing conference that covers AWS core topics and emerging technologies. Here are our top five takeaways from AWS re:Invent 2018, held annually in Las Vegas.

No. 5: AWS DeepRacer

To be honest, when I first saw DeepRacer I wasn’t paying full attention to the keynote. After previous years’ announcements of Amazon Snowball and Snowmobile, I thought this might be the next version of how AWS is going to be moving data around. Instead, we have an awesome little car that will give people exposure to programming and machine learning in a fun and interesting way. I know people at 2nd Watch are hoping to form a team so that we can compete at the AWS races. Anything that can get people to learn more about machine learning is a good thing, as more enterprises are incorporating these technologies and there’s a dearth of skills in this department.

No. 4: Amazon Managed Blockchain and Amazon Quantum Ledger Database

Amazon has finally plunged directly into the blockchain world that gets so much media attention these days. Built upon the Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB), Amazon Managed Blockchain will give you the ability to integrate with the Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric. QLDB also will allow you to store information in a way so that transactions can never be lost or modified. For instance, rather than storing security access in a log file or a database, you can store transactions in the QLDB. This will make it easier to guarantee the integrity of the security access for audit purposes.

No. 3: RDS on VMWare

Having worked with many companies that have questions about moving to the cloud, Amazon’s Relational Database Service on VMWare could be a great first step in their journey. Rather than taking the full plunge right away, companies would be able to utilize RDS instances in their existing VMWare environments. Since databases are such a critical piece of infrastructure, much of the initial testing can be done on premises. You can set up RDS on VMWare in your dev environment alongside your current dev databases, and begin testing without ever needing to touch things in AWS. Then, once you’re ready to move the rest of your infrastructure to the cloud, there will be one less critical change you’ll have to make.

No. 2: AWS Outposts

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances in your data center – and not just EC2 instances, but pretty much anything that uses EC2 under the hood (RDS, EMR, Sagemaker, etc.) – will be able to run out of your data center. The details are a little scant, but it sounds as though AWS is going to send you rack mount servers with some amount of storage built into them. You’ll rack them, power them, plug them into your network and be good to go. From a network perspective, it sounds like these instances would be …

… able to show up as a VPC but also connect directly into your private network. For users that aren’t ready to migrate to the cloud for whatever reason, Outposts could be the perfect way to start extending into AWS.

No. 1: AWS Transit Gateway

AWS Transit Gateway is a game changer for companies with many VPCs, VPNs and, eventually, Direct Connect connections. At 2nd Watch we help companies design their cloud infrastructure as simply and elegantly as possible. When it comes to interconnecting VPCs, the old ways were always very painful and manually intensive. With Transit Gateways, you’ll have one place to go to manage all your VPC interconnectivity. The Transit Gateway will act as a hub and ensure that your data can be routed safely and securely. This will make managing your AWS interconnectivity much easier.

Philip Seibel is a managing cloud consultant at 2nd Watch, a global cloud consulting company and managed service provider. The company is an Amazon Web Services’ Premier Partner and a Microsoft Azure Gold Cloud Platform Partner. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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