AWS Re:Invent 2018, day 2

Re:Invent

Things are moving fast. Day 2 included a Partner keynote and didn’t contain so much technical announcements. The news in the keynote was mostly about the AWS Marketplace.

Marketplace

AWS introduced “Private marketplace”. Private marketplace allows customers to create a customized catalogue of pre-approved products from the AWS Marketplace. This allows administrators to select only products that are authorized or otherwise meet the criteria decided by your organization. The Private Marketplace can be customized with custom branding. Logo, texts and colour scheme can be changed to match your organization. All controls set up by administrators for the Private Marketplace are applied across AWS Organizations.

This kind of customization and pre-approved catalogues of SKUs can be useful for bigger organizations who wish to have control over what gets deployed. However, using this kind of feature will require vigilance on your offerings through the Private Marketplace. Introducing too much command & control may have a detrimental effect on agility and speed the cloud provides.

In addition to the Private Marketplace, AWS introduced container products in Marketplace. These container-products can be run on ECS, EKS and Fargate and they come in either as task definitions, Helm charts or Cloudformation templates. This announcement brings both VM’s and containers as first-class citizens on the Marketplace and it also offers sellers new options on how to distribute their software.

Ground Station

The marketplace wasn’t the only new fascinating release. Ground Station is service which will communicate with satellites in orbit. This basically means that launching a satellite and talking to it can be accomplished with a very small amount of money compared to the past when in addition to launch costs you would have to build your own ground station (radios, antennas, etc). Universities, schools and companies can now launch satellites if they want to. Space technology is being brought to the public and this will hopefully help to create new innovations and products/services.

I have to admit that “Satellite Communications as a Service” (should it be SCaaS) wasn’t even on the list when I’ve wondered what AWS might publish during the week. There are some caveats in the service though! You will need a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license and Norad ID of your satellite and you will need to contact AWS in order to activate the service so you cannot just arbitrary book antenna-time and start shooting radio messages to the sky.

CloudWatch Logs++

Amazon CloudWatch Logs Insights. These announcements bring Kibana-like features to Cloudwatch. It can read multiple formats and especially useful feature is that it autodetects field-names if your logs are JSON-formatted. This feature might reduce the need for ELK-stack. This brings a whole new level on Cloudwatch dashboards.

DynamoDB

Re:Invent

Finally, it is time to talk about DynamoDB. Today it was announced that DynamoDB now has transactions. Having transaction support makes it possible to use DynamoDB in huge amounts of new use-cases. Now DynamoDB is controversial subject especially among the developers (this is my experience, YMMV). Modelling your data into NoSQL-database is not always straightforward. Developers don’t usually have to care that much about data access patterns but modelling data so it fits nicely into DynamoDB access patterns are the first thing they have to think about. It has been my observation that developers tend not to like it.

If you want to know more I suggest that you watch this year’s DAT401 session on Youtube once it is available (DAT401 – Amazon DynamoDB Deep Dive: Advanced Design Patterns for DynamoDB).

Other news

Re:Invent

– Amazon Comprehend now understand medical text
– A new service AWS Elemental MediaConnect for video ingestion and distribution

Day 3 will be huge since Andy Jassy’s keynote is in the morning and it will be packed with updates.

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