Mostly Cloudy: Reflections on AWS re:Invent

One CTO weighs in on what were the standout AWS announcements in 2016.

January 5, 2017

3 Min Read
Mostly Cloudy: Reflections on AWS re:Invent

By WeathersfieldTM

The recent AWS re:Invent conference was perhaps the biggest and best yet, with record-breaking attendance (the number we were hearing on the event floor was north of 32,000 attendees). The expo floor itself was larger than in years past, with a number of new vendors offering a myriad of products and a wider range of exhibits.

The annual conference is always a prime opportunity to engage with fellow tech professionals about new technologies and techniques to bolster productivity, security and performance and the 2016 event did not disappoint. 

One striking change that I noticed is that not only was the event more crowded, but there seemed to be a shift in the makeup of that crowd. The attendee mix seems to be evolving from its geeky roots of primarily developers and tech insiders to include a broader range of professionals specializing in more enterprise-focused service offerings.

With Amazon Web Services set to release around 1,000 new features next year (by way of comparison, that’s more than twice as many as they released in 2015), AWS re:Invent has become an essential part of the yearly calendar for industry professionals–and anyone who relies on the cloud to run their business.

Some of the personal highlights were sessions covering new technologies, techniques and services like:

  • The continued buildout of services leveraging Lambda, the AWS’s serverless architecture

  • Information about a VPC endpoint for S3, something that is reliable, easy to configure, and provides a secure connection to S3 that does not require a gateway or NAT instances

  • VPC Subnet allocation best practices. For example, utilizing at least two availability zones for each CIDR block–one set of public subnets, two sets of private subnets, one set of private subnet to talk to internal resources, have the CIDR block be as large as possible

  • The value of always using tags to group resources

  • Information about AWS X-Ray, a tool that provides an end-to-end view of requests as they travel through an application, and shows a “map of your application’s underlying components” to help identify, analyze and troubleshoot the root cause of performance issues and errors

  • Using a user pool in Amazon Cognitio to control API Gateway access and authentication

  • Creating a Lambda function for service discovery/registration, and using a Lambda function to pre-populate/flush caches

  • Utilizing AWS CodePipeline for build control

  • The fact that Docker containers look like a cost-effective way to host multiple micro-services on a single instance

  • A review of Amazon EC2 instance types

  • Leveraging the power of Amazon EMR to deal with large datasets for reporting, and using Amazon Athena–an interactive query service–to make it even easier

The bottom line is that AWS re:Invent 2016 was a reminder that companies large and small face the same kinds of technical and logistical challenges and opportunities. It was also a reminder that the tools, technologies, insights and information are out there–for inspired professionals looking to implement innovative new service solutions.

About the Author

Wade Chia earned a master’s degree in computer science from Concordia University in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec. He launched his career in telecommunications with Ericsson Research Canada and worked with various startups in the telco, enterprise messaging, workforce management and financial services industries.

With this vast experience under his belt, he set out to implement all the things he learned from scratch to co-found TradeRev. Wade is the type of CTO who is truly involved in every aspect of TradeRev’s technological development because working on TradeRev is his passion and hobby.

Those who know Wade know that when he’s not working on TradeRev, he’s also an excellent chef and gourmand, often bringing his talent to the table at TradeRev’s monthly potlucks.

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