I’ve always found Dr. Werner Vogels’ presentations are both informative and entertaining. His re:Invent 2021 keynote was no exception.
If you’ve followed his “Now Go Build” video series or his more recent “Climate Next” series, it seems as if the video crew loved to produce his keynote introduction with a segment paying homage to 10 years of re:Invent and 15 years of cloud.
Dr. Vogels presented a history of AWS’ technology, its evolution, and the problems they were solving. The keynote has service reviews, demos, new service introductions, customer testimonials, and his recommended best practices for APIs and architecture. There’s even a bit of fun to keep things even. This article is going to focus on what was announced for the sake of brevity.
AWS Well-Architected Sustainability Pillar
Following up on his video series “Climate Next” and the ongoing effort for the greening of information technology, Dr. Vogels introduced a new pillar for the Well-Architected Framework called the Sustainability pillar.
The Well-Architected Framework represents AWS’ accumulated wisdom regarding critical questions that help discover, and improve the implementation of workloads. It also includes best practices across the areas of Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency, Cost Optimization, and Operational Excellence.
The sustainability pillar is intended to help clarify what are the best practices regarding your implementation’s carbon footprint. The pillar includes details about the shared responsibility model for Cloud Sustainability. The model defines that AWS is responsible for the sustainability of the cloud while customers are responsible for the sustainability in the cloud.
This new pillar and the sustainability of the cloud, “allows AWS customers to reduce associated energy usage by nearly 80% with respect to a typical on-premises deployment,” according to the announcement. For details about the Well-Architected Framework you can visit:
Amazon EC2 M1 Mac Instances for macOS
After a review of the growing set of instance types since 2006, Dr.Vogels introduced the Amazon EC2 M1 Mac Instances for macOS which are built on Apple’s own M1 processor using Mac mini units. The EC2 M1 Mac instances perform up to 60% better over the prior generation of Mac instances based on x86.
The instances can provision native ARM64 environments allowing for the development and deployment of Apple applications for the first time in AWS. Not surprisingly, and directly related is the introduction of new SDKs for Swift, Kotlin, and Rust.
New AWS SDKs for Swift, Kotlin, and Rust
This is a welcome addition to the existing catalog of SDKs. These are three of the fastest-growing modern programming languages in terms of general use. Swift is the programming language developed by Apple. Kotlin is seriously competing with Java because of its clean, compact syntax and its fully interoperable with Java and the JVM. Rust is very fast and memory efficient. Dr. Vogels himself expressed some interest in the momentum the language is gaining among developers.
AWS Amplify Studio
Still addressing the developer community we learned about AWS Amplify studio. This is a visual development environment for UI development. It is compatible with Figma for UI elements and generates readable React UI code.
Amplify Studio has full integration with Amplify’s backend management features enabling developers to build full-stack applications faster. Amplify studio can be used to generate the UI, set up the backend, and connect them together.
AWS Amplify Studio exports all frontend and backend code which enables application customization and possibly extends the backend using Cloud Development Kit (CDK) code.
This last one also received an upgrade with the AWS CDK v2 becoming generally available.
AWS Cloud Development Kit
The AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK) is a development framework to provision cloud application resources programmatically. It is an alternative to CloudFormation and Terraform to provision Infrastructure as Code (IaC).
AWS CDKv2 merges the packages for each AWS service into a single one named aws-cdk-lib. This eliminates the task of downloading packages for each AWS service used, making development simpler and more efficient. AWS CDKv2 also includes an improved API reference with code samples.
Directly related to the Cloud Development Kit (CDK) is the general availability of Construct Hub.
A construct is a reusable building block for Cloud Development Kits (CDKs). Construct Hub is a registry of construct libraries where you can share CDK constructs. Among the packages it supports are AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK), CDK for Kubernetes (CDK8s), and CDK for Terraform (CDKtf).
In a major improvement to AWS support channels, Dr. Vogels introduced AWS re:Post.
AWS re:Post aggregates the knowledge and experience of community experts, customers, partners, and employees into a single point of access for questions and answers. AWS Re:Post replaces AWS Forums. It is integrated with AWS Support. This allows you to ask questions and receive answers from the collective expertise. This is to improve the quality of answers. AWS Re:Post is available for anyone who has an AWS account at http://repost.aws
Last but not least, in the space of networking, Dr. Vogels introduced two items.
Final items: 30 new Local Zones and AWS Cloud WAN
The first is 30 new local zones. A local zone is an AWS Zone with compute, storage, database, and select services in places with high population or industry presence where a region does not exist.
Also, a new networking service was announced called AWS Cloud WAN.
Cloud WAN can create a global network that crosses regions and uses the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). A central dashboard allows you to define policies that specify which Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) and business locations are to be connected using AWS VPN or software-defined WAN products (SD-WAN). Cloud WAN provides a complete view of your network to provide visibility on its health, security, and performance.
These were the new features and services introduced during Dr. Werner Vogels keynote. The full keynote was informative, visionary, and entertaining. Certainly worth watching.
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