As an AWS Professional, it can be dizzying to keep up with all the announcements, features, and service launches – with over 200 fully featured services available, and many new releases in re:Invent, it can be a job in itself to keep up! With re:Invent 2022 coming in a few short months, what better time than a little over halfway through the year to re:Cap! Ready? Let’s re:fresh our knowledge get ready for re:Invent 2022!
AWS Re:Invent 2021 was held in Las Vegas with approximately 25,000 attendees in person for the five day event. It was an invigorating relief to have an in-person re:Invent! 2020 was an all-virtual \ on-demand event with 250,000 attending virtually. The year before that – 2019 – had a peak attendance of 60,000 with AWS presence in most of the hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. Having been there, I can state with confidence that AWS is back stronger than ever after the pandemic challenges. Even with scaled back numbers, the passion, the innovation, and the drive is all there. 2021 celebrated the 10th Year of AWS re:Invent (2012-2021) and the 15th Year of AWS. It took place during November 28 – December 3rd. In total there were about 122 Announcements, 5 Keynote speeches, 22 Leadership Sessions and 3,441 Sessions.
Keynote Themes and Takeaways
This was the last year for Doug Yeum as head of the Partner Services at Amazon Web Services. He has since moved to the retail division, and is succeeded by Dr. Ruba Borno. This is also the first year with AWS’ new CEO Adam Selipsky, replacing Andy Jassy who went on to become CEO of Amazon. As Adam Selipsky said – “We’ve come a long way…It’s still early days”. Cloud spend is only making up 5% of all IT spend! Adding to that, the McKinsey Quarterly stated that: “Cloud’s Trillion Dollar Prize is Up for Grabs”. To show that AWS is the place to focus and expand your Cloud spend, many impactful announcements were unveiled, such as a new Graviton3 server chip, new EC2 instances for compute-intensive workloads and others purpose built for machine learning workloads, mainframe modernization services and private 5g services, and more. The key takeaway is that AWS is surging ahead in machine learning, analytics, Internet of Things, and continuing to make migration and modernization of legacy systems easier.
Customers are asking for:
- Industry-ready solutions – Buy not build
- Business Process Modernization – Deep Industry and Functional Expertise
- Change Management – Training and Development, Change Management Consulting
As part of the keynote we also had Shelly Swanback, President of Product and Platform at Western Union. For me the most memorable part of her speech focused on managing the existing while creating the future. She distilled the message into three lessons for creating and leading organizations through change and digital transformation. Remember, transformation isn’t optional!\
For Transformation, or Reinvention, you have to:
- Embrace the Mess
- Close Learning Loops
- Make your Technology Strategy your Business Strategy
To embrace the mess means to have a healthy mix of disruptors and balancers. Disruptors are those individuals who are passionate and want to get things done as fast as possible, where balancers – as the name implies – bring a healthy amount of planning, it’s the job of leaders to bring those groups together and have excellent listening skills, as well as patience, for these kind of breakthroughs take time. In my experience some of the best ideas and breakthroughs come in group situations, when all the initial ideas have been exhausted – you need those folks that drive ideas hard and those who meticulously weigh them, and it does take time and patience to get to the ‘good stuff’. Closing the learning loops paves the way for continuous improvement – for each project record what have you learned, and how do you need to adjust? Take action and incorporate this. It’s also critical to have a tech-savvy leadership team to support innovation and ensure your technology strategy and business strategy are one.
Vice President of Amazon Machine Learning, Dr. Swami Sivasubramanian’s Keynote is built on three pillars for end-to-end data in the Machine Learning Journey. A massive amount of data today is still primary unstructured, and thus the journey is mapped out as follows: 1. Storing and Accessing Data, 2. Analysis and Visualization of Data, and finally, 3. Prediction of data – in essence, machine learning and artificial intelligence. It’s easy to fall into the trap of buzzwords and go straight to machine learning without understanding the underpinnings of how your data storage is designed – be in a relational databases, noSQL databases, or data lakes. It’s just as important to have your analysis and visualization tools understood, in order to maximize your efforts in the machine learning and AI space.
Some of the key points centered around how Conversational AI is Iterative. One of the services, Amazon Lex Automated Chatbot Designer helps you design chatbots using existing conversation transcripts in hours rather than weeks. Effective conversational design separates good chatbots from the bad ones.
Dr. Werner Vogels’ Keynote taught us to think of AWS Services as Simple Machines, recognizing Gall’s Law: “All complex systems that work, evolved from simpler systems that worked”. There were 60 million EC2 instances launched per day in 2021, twice the daily average in 2019. For simple machine, think of primitives, not frameworks. For this analogy, a screw would be SQS, a lever would be S3, and a wheel and Axle would be EC2 – complex working systems built from working simpler systems.
6 Rules for API Design
- APIs are Forever
- Never Break Backward Compatibility
- Work Backwards from Customer Use Cases
- Create APIs That are Self Describing and Have a Clear, Specific Purpose
- Create APIs with Explicit and Well-Documented Failure Modes
- Avoid Leaking Implementation Details at All Costs
Top 28 Announcements
- Sagemaker Canvas/Studio Lab
- Contact Lens Call Summarization
- Amazon Lex Automated Chatbot Designer
- ECR Pull Through Cache
- Karpenter – Open-Source High-Performance Kubernetes Cluster Autoscaler
- CodeGuru Reviewer Secrets Detector – Python/Java
- DevOps Guru for RDS
- Cloudwatch Evidently
- CloudWatch Metrics Insights
- CloudWatch Real User Monitoring (RUM)
- Sustainability Pillar for Well Architected Framework
- Amplify Studio
- Data Exchange for Redshift/APIs
- CDKv2/Construct Hub
- Microservice Extractor
- AWS Migration Hub Refactor Spaces
- IP Address Manager
- Cloud WAN (Network Manager)
- AWS Direct Connect SiteLink
- AWS Private 5G
- EBS Snapshots Recycle Bin
- EBS Snapshots Archive
- EFS Replication
- Tape Gateway
- S3 Event Bridge
- Bucket Owner Enforced
- S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval Storage Class
- AWS Backup Support for VMware and VMware Cloud on AWS
With this summary you are now armed with an up to date look at all the re:Invent 2021 announcements and are ready for re:Invent 2022!