re:Invent 2021 Recap – Werner Vogels Keynote

AWS' CTO Werner Vogels has been a highly anticipated keynote fixture throughout re:Invent's history. He appeared on stage this year in a Hawaiin shirt following a surreal road trip down AWS memory lane, but the premise didn't last long, quickly revealing his t-shirt of the year as "The Stranglers". With 10 years of re:Invent, there were plenty of opportunities throughout his keynote to revisit memories of re:Invents past, while also highlighting a number of new announcements and customer stories.

Werner's talk was laced with best practices and lessons learned or confirmed. Security is and always will be "job zero" for AWS and should be for builders as well. A possibly surprising concept for advanced applications is simplicity. In the physical world, there are 6 simple machines that can be combined in infinite ways. The AWS collection of digital "simple machines" is considerably larger with over 200 services, but the idea of composition being the key to unlocking flexibility and innovation holds true. In addition to simplicity and composition, observability is another fundamental best practice that drives effective operations. Log (and instrument) everything.

While The Stranglers is a UK punk band, AWS coincidentally announced AWS Migration Hub Refactor Spaces this week, an interesting new service that facilitates the Strangler Fig pattern for refactoring monolithic applications.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)

The evolution of Amazon EC2 shows no signs of slowing down. There are now more than 55 distinct instance types available covering several processor architectures, including M1 Mac support as well as Amazon's own Graviton3 C7g instances that were announced during re:Invent. Amazon EC2 is everywhere in the world too, with instances running in 7 continents thanks to the AWS Snow product family and AWS Outpost workloads in Antarctica and 30 new local zones in the works worldwide, including Werner's home town of Amsterdam.

Sustainability

With all of AWS' compute capacity and ever-broadening suite of digital products, some attention has been placed on the topic of sustainability. While AWS has been prioritizing sustainability for years in areas of efficiency and renewable generation, making the concept a first-class citizen of the Well-Architected Framework brings it forward for builders to consider in the design of applications on the platform. As an added bonus, designing for sustainability and efficiency should also have benefits for the Cost Pillar of the framework and the bottom line. See the AWS announcement and the Sustainability Pillar documentation for more information.

Interconnectivity

With Amazon EC2 and AWS everywhere, network connectivity needs to keep up. For distributed organizations, the announcement of AWS Cloud WAN in preview promises to help build and centrally manage a global, low latency network of VPCs and and on-premise locations. Check out the Cloud WAN product page for more information.

AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK) Version 2 released & AWS SDK previews

The AWS CDK v2 was released to general availability along with the Construct Hub registry for Constructs, reusable building blocks of CDK apps, improving developer experience and community involvement. With general availability, teams should feel comfortable migrating from version 1 to 2 of AWS CDK and taking advantage of the packaging, productivity, and development velocity improvements. AWS CDK v2 also introduces CDK Watch to streamline developer workflow by monitoring code files and automatically deploying when files are changed.

AWS SDK previews for Swift, Kotlin, and Rust were announced as well, continuing the expansion of language-specific support of AWS service APIs.

AWS Amplify Studio

AWS Amplify Studio brings a visual development environment and code generator, along with support for the Figma interface design tool to facilitate collaboration between UI and application developers.

See the AWS Amplify release announcement, AWS Amplify product page, and AWS Amplify Studio launch blog to dive deeper.

Questions answered on re:Post

re:Post replaces AWS Forums and extends AWS' internal Q&A platform to all builders, allowing for collaboration, access to subject matter experts, and a shared knowledge base. In addition to the community interaction available to everyone, Premium Support customers can expect responses from AWS employees. Check out the re:Post announcement, or go directly to https://repost.aws with your inquiries.

AWS in Action

Matt Coulter shared Liberty Mutual's use of AWS CDK to reduce lines of code and simplify, as well as the organization's use of guardrails and practices that allow developer experimentation in the short term and convergence on the best identified patterns and practices over the long term. Matt's contributions to AWS CDK and community building earned him a special "Now Go Build" award from Werner.

Payam Banazadeh from Capella Space had a very compelling customer story about the convergence of digital and physical worlds with their satellite imaging platform. His example of monitoring ports and shipping lanes is highly topical with supply chains on everyone's mind, but the potential to trigger digital workflows based on real-world events in nearly real time opens up nearly infinite creative possibilities.

The Amazon Games team is taking the principles of distributed systems that AWS services teams have embodied over the years to create a seamless, scale out Mass Multiplayer Online experience in their "New World" offering. The game is using clever solutions for gamer entry points, world map design, performance, resilience, and more to eliminate loading screens, increase the granularity of game simulation, and scale rapidly as the game becomes more popular. AWS services are making possible design patterns, observability, performance, and elasticity that wouldn't have been feasible or realistic in legacy data centers.

Now go build, indeed.

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