AWS Re:invent

From November 28th to December 2th, our team went to RE:invent, a major yearly event organized by AWS. The public Cloud giant took the opportunity to give several announcements about its offers. Here is our situation analysis.

A major step towards security

AWS Shield

Crédits : aws.amazon.com

We begin with one of the latest announcements, but not the least: the introduction of AWS Shield. All AWS clients will, by default, benefit from this anti-DDoS protection in order to protect their web applications. A more complete version will also be proposed, for better protection.

It is excellent news for the global security of the Web, and for all AWS clients! However, do not be content with only this: the security of an application must be built and integrated into all of the information system.

Data gathering, treatment and storage

Amazon Athena is a requests service easing the analysis of data stored in Amazon S3. The S3 storage system is a file system, that could until now only be used as such. From now on, it will be possible, with Athena, to analyze this data thanks to SQL requests, and to get the result in just a few seconds.

AWS Glue, for its part, makes crosses between several data sources possible. From a single interface, you can compare, prepare and even move data from a base towards another. This service thus simplifies the analysis, but also the transformation of your data.

Finally, you may know Snowballs, AWS’s huge portable “data cases” of several petabytes. With AWS Snowball Edge, the provider goes even deeper: it enables the transfer of computing and storage capacities (CPU and RAM). But why stop there? AWS thus presented Snowmobile, a service enabling to transport up to exabytes of data, in a truck!

AWS Snowball Edge

Credits : Amazon Web Services

Instances and account management & monitoring

RE:invent was also the occasion for AWS to present new instances types, and the new sizes which these instances can reach. Besides this index increase, the provider also simplified servers management, with Amazon EC2 Systems Manager: it enables you to automate some management tasks.

Configuration icone

That is also what AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate can do. This service, requiring more technical knowledge, provides you with a Chef server, as well as other tools, in order to push automation on continued deployment or recurring tests for instance.

For less technical profiles, AWS also offers Amazon Lightsail. This service enables the automatic creation of an AWS infrastructure depending on you needs (database, Load Balancers, security, servers…). It is also an account management wizard.

Another important innovation is AWS Personal Health Dashboard. This service does not present your personal health data, but the state of the different AWS services you use. You can thus efficiently control your infrastructure and resources.

Integration of other solutions

Always with a view to diversification and accessibility, AWS services interface with new solutions. Amazon Aurora, AWS’s database service, is now compatible with PostgreSQL, when it used to only offer MySQL compatibility.

AWS also associated with VMware, by allowing the integration of the Vsphere client software into AWS’s interface. Thus, your Clouds are better handled from a single entry point, and you can even make easier migrations from one to the other.

AWS Lambda

Crédits : aws.amazon.com

Serverless: Lambda innovations

The Lambda service, enabling “on the fly” serverless code execution, has been available for some time now. However, it is really starting to find its place into the global AWS offer thanks to a few innovations, such as Lambda@Edge. This service enables you to use CloudFront’s endpoints (AWS’s CDN) in order to use the serverless technology with Lambda, and thus to improve your latency. All the details and range of such an offer are not yet known, but definitely worth studying…

The use itself of Lambda got easier, thanks to AWS Step Functions. As part of the serverless technology, this service enables to order and parallelize code execution, and provides you with a visual graph of your workflow. Moreover, the C# language just joined Python, Java and Javascript/node in the list of languages supported by AWS Lambda.

Developer tools

Developers have not been forgotten! News tools are available for them: the first one is AWS CodeBuild, a service enabling to test code right in the Cloud. Developers can thus do unit testing, and it especially makes continuous integration much smoother.

The second tool, called AWS X-Ray, eases troubleshooting. An agent is installed where the code is executed, to gather performance data and find exactly where the problem is. It also offers a view of AWS services, which overall provides a global vision of your infrastructure performances.
AWS logo

Loosely…

The use of containers, through ECS (Elastic Container Service), is eased by the introduction of Blox. This free project is a set of softwares giving you a better control over your containers and their content, notably thanks to planning.

Three innovations were also presented about artificial intelligence: Amazon Lex, Alexa’s learning engine now accessible to anyone; Amazon Polly, a text to audio converter; and Amazon Rekognition, an image recognition system.

Amazon Pinpoint is a mobile service offered to AWS clients that eases the sending of targeted push notification from their mobile applications, as well as the analysis of these campaigns.

Finally, connected objects and IoT could not be overlooked… AWS goes there with Greengrass, a software enabling the execution of actions (computing, caching…) for connected objects, straight on the AWS Cloud.

Let’s get to work!

RE:invent was thus rich in news… Our teams will study these announcements, some of which have a huge potential. Keep an eye open for our article on this topic!

Lucie Saunois
Lucie Saunois
IT aficionado, specifically when it comes to cybersecurity, since she joined OT Group in 2015, Lucie specializes in making technical, and often complex, topics understandable by anyone.