Top 15 Announcements at AWS re:Invent 2018

Every year re:Invent gets bigger and bigger, from the shear number of attendees and workshops, to the amazing announcements put out by AWS during 4 keynote presentations over the 5 day event.

And oh boy was this year no different; this post highlights our top 15 announcements across multiple categories.

Analytics

Amazon Managed Streaming for Kafka

Apache Kafka is one of the most popular open-source stream-processing software platform. Amazon Managed Streaming for Kafka is a fully managed, highly available, and secure service that makes it easy for developers and DevOps managers to run applications on Apache Kafka in the AWS Cloud without needing Apache Kafka infrastructure management expertise.

Blockchain

Amazon Managed Blockchain

Blockchain is still a rapidly evolving technology with many flavours of it being introduced everyday. Amazon Managed Blockchain is a fully managed service that allows you to set up and manage a scalable blockchain network using the popular open source frameworks Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum.

It manages your certificates, lets you easily invite new members to join the network, and tracks operational metrics such as usage of compute, memory, and storage resources.

Compute

EC2 Instances

As with every re:Invent, this one was no different with the introduction of more EC2 instances. The new EC2 A1 instances deliver significant cost savings and are ideally suited for scale-out and Arm-based workloads and are powered by AWS Graviton Processors.

The C5 family of instances see the addition of the C5n instances ideal for network intensive applications including high performance computing workloads, data lakes, and network appliances such as firewalls and routers and provide up to 100 Gbps of networking throughput.

AWS Outpost

This is Amazons play to not only take over not just the cloud bunt private data centers. AWS Outposts bring native AWS services, infrastructure, and operating models to virtually any data center, co-location space, or on-premises facility.

AWS License Manager

Managing licenses across multiple products and infrastructure has always been a pain point in IT. Amazon’s solution to this is License Manager which aims to make it easy to manage licenses from software vendors like Oracle, Microsoft, and SAP both on AWS and on premises.

On-Demand Hibernated

This has been a heavily requested feature by millions of AWS users. On-Demand Hibernated allows users to hibernate your Amazon EC2 instances backed by Amazon EBS and resume them at a later time.

Upon hibernation, your instance’s EBS root volume and any other attached EBS data volumes are persisted between sessions. Additionally, data from memory (RAM) is also saved to your EBS root volume. Upon resume, your EBS root device is restored from its prior state, including the RAM content. Previously attached data volumes are reattached and the instance retains its instance ID.

Databases

Amazon Quantum Ledger Database

Amazon is investing more and more into databases, from their own take on NoSQL, DynamoDB to Aurora. Amazon QLDB is a fully managed ledger database that provides a transparent, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable transaction log ‎owned by a central trusted authority.

Using QLDB, your applications complete change history is immutable – it cannot be altered or deleted – and using cryptography, you can easily verify that there have been no unintended modifications to your application’s data. In addition, QLDB provides developers with a familiar SQL-like API, a flexible document data model, and full support for transactions.

Amazon Timestream

Timestream is Amazon’s take on popular open-source time series databases such as Prometheus.

Amazon Timestream is a purpose-built time series database service for collecting, storing, and processing time-series data such as server and network logs, sensor data, and industrial telemetry data for IoT and operational applications and is serverless, so there are no servers to manage.

Machine Learning

Amazon Forecast

If there’s one thing Amazon is good at is forecasting inventory levels and product demands for it’s e-commerce business.

Now this wizardry is available to the general public in the form of a fully managed service, Amazon Forecast uses machine learning to combine time series data with additional variables to build highly-accurate forecasts.

Amazon Personalize

Just like forecasting, personalization is also something Amazon has nailed down. Amazon Personalize is based on the same personalization technology used by Amazon.com

Amazon Personalize is a machine learning service that makes it easy for developers to create personalization – at scale – for each individual at the right time, and with the right message.

Amazon Textract

Amazon Textract is a service that automatically detects and extracts text and data from scanned documents.

Amazon says Textract builds upon optical character recognition (OCR) and can identify the contents of fields in forms and information stored in tables.

Networking and Content Delivery

AWS Transit Gateway

Prior to this announcement, the only way to connect multiple Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) that might be geographically disparate and/or running in separate AWS accounts was with the use of a Transit VPC. This was solution put together by AWS in the interim that made use of Cisco Cloud Services Router (CSR) to achieve this and was quite costly to run.

AWS Transit Gateway is a new service that enables customers to connect thousands of Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) and their on-premises networks using a single gateway. AWS Transit Gateway acts as a hub where traffic is routed among all the connected networks, the spokes.

Storage

Amazon FSx for Windows File Server

In a bid to win the hearts of Microsoft Windows users, Amazon announced FSx for Windows File Server. It provides a fully managed native Microsoft Windows file system that can be accessed from up to thousands of compute instances.

Built on Windows Server, Amazon FSx provides shared file storage with the compatibility and features that your Windows-based applications rely on, including full support for the SMB protocol and Windows NTFS, Active Directory (AD) integration, and Distributed File System (DFS).

S3 Batch Operations

Making changes to a huge amount of objects stored in S3 is a tedious and time consuming task. S3 Batch Operations makes it simple for customers to manage billions of objects stored in Amazon S3, with just a few clicks in the Amazon S3 Management Console or a single API request.

With this new S3 feature, you can make changes to object properties and metadata, and perform other storage management tasks — such as copying objects between buckets, replacing tag sets, modifying access controls, and restoring archived objects from Amazon S3 Glacier — for any number of S3 objects

Transfer and Migration

AWS Transfer for SFTP

AWS Transfer for SFTP provides a fully managed secure file transfer service that works with Amazon S3, eliminating the need for you to run SFTP infrastructure.

With AWS SFTP, you pay only for the use of the SFTP server endpoint, and data uploaded and downloaded.

Conclusion

Overall this years re:Invent had a huge focus on Machine Learning and rightfully so being the category to have the most number of announcements – 14 in total.

Other key areas AWS is now focusing on is becoming more competitive by creating services already provided by others or available as open-source such as Amazon CloudWatch Logs Insights which is their own take on Elastic’s ELK stack, App Mesh as a competitor to HashiCorp’s Consul or Istio amongst other.

At AltoStack, our mission is to help organisations accelerate their time to value from the cloud by designing, building, and optimising their infrastructures in the public cloud.

We are a team of DevOps fanatics and a core part of our work is helping organisations leverage the cloud to increase the speed and success of cultural transformation.