The early bird needs to step up it’s game

Jesse Aranki

November 30, 2023

Today marks the first day of re:invent and the energy in the air is electric, and it would appear that I came into the day a lot less prepared than I thought.

Walking through the Venetian you can almost drown in the sea of people trying to make their way to the morning’s first talks and workshops; and let me tell you – if you’re wanting to go to workshops you need to get here a lot earlier than you would think (lesson learned for tomorrow, for sure); before 9am and I have already felt the bitter string of rejection twice.

Arrive a least 45 mins ahead of the workshop if you don’t have your seats already reserved That said however, there is so much going on at re:Invent that it’s hard to be too disappointed when there’s so much on offer

## Low latency computing

Low latency computing is an interesting topic, as the demand for speed accelerates we are having to come up with new and interesting ways to approach and resolve the problems by demand. One of the early sessions i attended was a talk on delivering low latency apps by extending regions and AZ’s through the use of local zones and outposts.

For those unfamiliar a local zone can be thought of as a limited capability AZ that is generally deployed in large metro areas that aws does not already have an AZ presence in; such as Perth, Australia. Whilst they don’t offer the full suite of services that aws offers they are incredibly useful for delivering content where caching isn’t really an option (such as game servers) to your end users. For more information you can check out:

Further to local zones, outposts is another way to tackle this problem; as you can quite literally house aws region grade server racks in your own data centre; which serves a few benefits

  • Standardising your workflow and architecture across the board
  • You are able to essentially build your own private aws az should you choose.

Looking at riot games for example, when optimising the game Valorant they were able to achieve extremely low latency to users across USA via the implementation of outposts, by using all AZs, local zones and then filling the gaps with outposts servers in areas where the distance between local zones and az’s were too large to satisfy their low latency goals you can check out the slides from a similar talk they had given back in 2021 if you’re interested to see the footnotes:

## monitoring serverless workloads

If you haven’t entered into the wonderful world of serverless just yet, then this topic is one that’s really important to get a grasp of in the early phase of your journey. Not being very proficient with serverless I had some pretty good learnings coming out of this session around operational visibility in serverless workloads. Why is this so important? Because compute is ephemeral in the serverless world. No server no worries – unless of course you want to gain any insights into performance, or want to see the journey of data throughout your distributed system. Key Takeaways from the Session

  • Understanding Ephemeral Compute: Since serverless functions are ephemeral, traditional monitoring methods don’t cut it. You need tools that can track and report in real-time.
  • Tracing Over Logging: While logging is useful, tracing provides a more comprehensive view of your system. It allows you to see the entire journey of a request across the system, not just what’s logged.
  • Tools and Techniques: The session introduced various tools and techniques for monitoring serverless applications. AWS X-Ray, for instance, is a powerful tool for tracing and analyzing serverless applications.
  • Real-World Scenarios: We saw examples of how companies have successfully implemented monitoring in their serverless environments. It’s one thing to talk about best practices, but seeing them in action is a whole different ballgame.

As the day winds down, I can’t help but feel excited about what’s to come. There are still several days left of re:Invent, and if today was any indication, they’re going to be packed with learning, networking, and inspiration. If you’re here, let’s connect and share our experiences. And if you’re following along from afar, stay tuned for more updates. The early bird might need to step up its game, but trust me, it’s worth it!


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