AWS re:Invent 2021 – more great news for customers & partners

December 06, 2021

Josh Lopez

Josh Lopez

Partner Cloud Adoption, Versent

This year’s AWS re:Invent conference has been jam-packed with exciting announcements from the Amazon Web Services leadership. I’ve been glued to the live feed from Las Vegas, so I’m happy to share my round-up of some of the biggest news from the last few days.   

(BTW: check out my previous blog post for all the highlights of day 1 of the conference.)  

Werner Vogels keynote recap   

Every year, Amazon.com CTO Werner Vogels’ keynote speech is full of interesting announcements for the cloud builder community. I’ve summarised this year’s highlights for you below.  

Environmental sustainability uplift  
This year, Werner really got my attention with his announcement of the AWS Well-Architected Sustainability Pillar. This addition to the AWS Well-Architected pillars is so timely and important because it speaks to the concerns we all share about energy consumption and environmental protection. The AWS Well-Architected Sustainability Pillar will give AWS & Versent customers practical standards to guide sustainability in cloud architecture.   

An AWS Carbon Footprint Tool will now provide carbon volume data on your AWS services. You’ll also be able to get advice on how to optimise your workloads using environmental best practices for carbon reduction.   

It’s great that AWS is continuing to focus on such important issues, and it’ll be a big value add for Versent customers who are committed to being greener and more efficient.  

AWS Local Zones extended beyond the USA  
Local Zones are an AWS infrastructure deployment methodology that brings AWS services infrastructure close to large population and industrial centres. Over the last two years, AWS has scaled up Local Zones placement in the United States, and Werner Vogels announced at re:Invent that it will continue expanding Local Zones on other continents as well. AWS Local Zones will now be available across South America, Australia, Europe, Africa, and Asia.   

That’s great news for Versent’s Australasian customers because it will further accelerate AWS migrations in our geographic region.  

Compute – EC2 – New Powerful Mac Instances 
Werner shared with the re:Invent audience that EC2 M1 Mac instances – the latest generation of Mac instances available on AWS – will receive a 60% performance boost.  

Networking news  
Some exciting news for networking: AWS has launched Cloud WAN (Wide Area Network), an evolved network service that allows you to build, manage and scale global networks in AWS. It utilises the AWS backbone to enable the creation of customised global networks, providing the capability to segment networks and monitor them through a central dashboard.   

Big announcements for Developers   
Werner delivered lots of news that’s got the cloud developer community talking.  

AWS Amplify Studio is a new tool that provides a visual approach to building feature-rich apps. AWS Amplify Studio will shorten dev times for apps to hours rather than weeks. It’ll also mean that frontend developers can connect back-end services with the click of a button rather than having to write custom code.  

AWS SDKs for Swift, Kotlin and Rust will expand the set of available languages that can be used to interact with AWS services. It will also allow developers to build what they want in whatever language is best suited for their use case and knowledge.  

Werner announced that AWS Cloud Development Kit v2 has been given a lot of improvements, including dependency management optimisation, semantic versioning and CDK watch, which allows for hot-swapping of Lambda functions.   

AWS has launched Construct Hub, which will provide a single source for developers to find CDK libraries. That will be welcome news for developers who want to continue to accelerate building infrastructure in AWS.   

Last but now least, Werner announced AWS re:Posta forum to provide answers and architectural patterns in a single place, allowing developers to get the answers they need faster when they’re building customer workloads.  

Watch Werner Vogels keynote  
If you want to have the being there experience, you can watch the video of Werner Vogels’ keynote on the re:Invent website.   

Swami Sivasubramanian’s keynote highlights  

Amazon’s Vice President of Machine Learning, Swami Sivasubramanian, delivered a fascinating keynote address to the re:Invent 2021 audience. He focused on database innovation, machine learning and data analytics.   

Amazon SageMaker Studio Lab launched  
This new tool is very exciting as it provides an easy set-up environment for developers who want to experiment with machine learning models. Amazon SageMaker Studio Lab will accelerate innovation and experimentation because it promotes intuitive processes for devs who are frustrated by complex machine learning environments. It’s free to use, as well!  

AWS DevOps Guru for RDS  
This announcement by Swami is particularly interesting for Versent customers as it provides a diagnosis service optimising databases in real-time. AWS DevOps Guru for RDS uses millions of databases running on RDS to provide insightful recommendations for corrective actions and can even auto-fix issues where possible.  

AWS RDS Custom now supports SQL Server   
The new AWS RDS Custom supports applications that require custom features of the database engine such as Sharepoint, PowerBI, Active Directory and Dynamics. AWS RDS Custom allows developers to customise the database engine and apply custom application settings.  

Massive reduction in DynamoDB storage costs  
Amazon DynamoDB Standard-Infrequent Access table is a DynamoDB storage class that reduces user storage costs by up to 60% without compromising performance. Durability, scaling and availability remain at the highest standard, but users can switch between table classes at any time. This flexibility will allow you to store long term data in DynamoDB at the right price point.  

Database Migration Service gets an upgrade  
AWS Database Migration Service Fleet Advisor will automate the discovery and analysis of your fleet, Swami announced at re:Invent. The new tool provides migration recommendations that will assist with migrating databases to AWS quickly and securely. It will also offer recommendations on what datastore is best suited for the migration and provide a migration plan without the need for any further third party tooling.  

Machine learning expertise on tap  
Amazon SageMaker Ground Trust Plus is a new tool that gives users high-quality data labelling capability with an expert workforce, available at the click of a button. It’ll reduce the cost of using machine learning experts to label data for you while also enhancing labelling quality.   

Amazon SageMaker Studio Notebooks   
SageMaker Studio Notebooks incorporate data engineering, analytics and ML workflows in one notebook. This system easily integrates with other AWS services such as EMR and S3. So, it’s now much easier to analyse data in one place.  

A faster way to train ML models  
AWS’s new tool Amazon SageMaker Training Compileraccelerates the training of machine learning models by up to 50%. It also enables incremental compute and memory optimisations well beyond those offered by native PyTorch and TensorFlow frameworks.  

Amazon SageMaker Inference Recommender   
This new tool reduces the time to deployment on inference models from weeks to hours, Swami announced. Amazon SageMaker Inference Recommender automatically selects the compute type, instance count and container parameters to deploy your machine learning models. This is a groundbreaking development because it will significantly improve efficiency and time to market when deploying ML models.   

Swami also announced Amazon SageMaker Serverless Inference which eliminates the undifferentiated heavy lifting of provisioning underlying infrastructure inference model training, replacing it with a pay-per-use pricing model.  

Customer experience enhancements  
Amazon Kendra Experience Builder will substantially accelerate intelligent search application deployment, Swami announced, reducing implementation to just a few clicks.  

Amazon Lex Automated Chatbot Designer will dramatically simplify the chatbot design process by automatically analysing conversation transcripts and creating intents that can be used as the basis of your chatbot.   

Generous new scholarship program  
To put the icing on the cake of an exciting keynote, Swami Sivasubramanian announced the AWS AI & ML Scholarship Program, a new learning initiative that will provide $10 million of scholarships annually for thousands of unrepresented and underprivileged students.  Accompanied by AWS’ free machine learning training modules, this is a great initiative to give students a step up into the IT industry.  

Watch Swami Sivasubramanian’s keynote  
If you’d like to watch the video of Swami Sivasubramanian’s keynote, you can find it on the re:Invent website.  

2022 will be an exciting year for cloud adoption  

With all the Compute, Database, Developer Tooling, AI and machine learning announcements coming out of this year’s re:Invent, 2022 is shaping up to be the best year ever for fast, powerful cloud adoption programs. 

The innovations announced by Werner Vogels and Swami Sivasubramanian are certainly going to accelerate the cloud adoption journeys of Versent customers as we start to implement these fantastic new tools and utilities.  

Want to discover how these AWS innovations could help transform your business?   
Get in touch with a Versent advisor, and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions.  

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