4 Takeaways from AWS re:Invent 2016

AWS re:Invent 2016: 4 Takeaways

Looking back on AWS re:Invent 2016, we have a great wrap up of the many announcements made during the show. Check out Alex’s great posts for all the details. Even if you weren’t able to be at the event, there are some simple takeaways for cloud students no matter where you are.

Now is the Time to Transform Yourself

As predicted, AWS has become the new normal, and Cloud skills are in short supply. AWS VP & Distinguished Engineer James Hamilton put this simple science to us during his presentation in the partner summit keynote. As the “super engineer” behind many AWS innovations, it was inspiring to hear James’ thinking. He talked about the industry shift that the cloud brings, the repeating cycles he has seen in the past, and how we now have another skill shortage as a result.  I think James was quite clear in pointing out that cloud experts are riding the crest of the wave right now. This is your time! James really brought home that there has never been a better time to be an AWS certified professional. Now is the time to kick off your certification journey! 

AWS Certified professionals are hot property right now. Customers and partners recognize that working with certified experts is often the quickest, most effective way to benefit from the AWS platform. In addition to the career benefits of being certified, events like AWS re:Invent 2016 offer a great opportunity to learn (and you can collect loads of swag and recognition rewards). There couldn’t be a better time to get AWS certified, and the Cloud Academy team is committed to helping you get there!
4 Takeaways from AWS re:Invent 2016

AWS Experts are Made, not Born

For me, one of the highlights of AWS re:Invent 2016 was attending Mark Statham’s ARC320 – The Professional Services Architecting Best Practices Workshop. This was an event that I wasn’t going to miss. Limited to 48 certified architects for each 2 1/2 hour session, this was essentially an architecting master class led by some of the most experienced AWS professionals around.

The AWS Professional Services Team is an elite group of AWS ninjas tasked with helping partners and customers solve seemingly unsolvable issues. The AWS Professional Services team members have acquired a wealth of experience by helping customers solve real-world problems. While I was at AWS, it was a privilege to invite the AWS Professional Services Team to help partners and customers, and I always learned something new.



In the session, we were broken into small teams. Each team included a member of the AWS professional services team. We were given a complex business scenario to solve. It included an on-premise image processing app running on JBOSS and Oracle, volumes of stored image data, an on-premise key store, and an IDS/IPS, along with a number of other tricky design challenges. The key constraint was a 9-month end of life date for the on-premise environment. We had 90 minutes to come up with a baseline design, migration plan, and future state. No pressure…

Bringing five strangers together to problem solve was a great exercise. We broke out the network requirements from the application layer to look for quick wins/lift and shift migration that could be achieved with minimal impact to the business. Next, we had to solve some technical issues such as how to deal with curveballs such as multicast support, adding a new IDS/IPS service, authentication, and migrating the volumes of image data. Each team presented their solutions to the group, and we discussed design patterns and how each team created their solution.

As an AWS architect, the workshop was a great reminder to listen to the customer, stay open to ideas, and to stand up when you believe something to be right. I came away feeling inspired to create content that can help you build these skills and learn AWS best practices.

Embrace the Fear

The fear and trepidation of not knowing or being wrong is something we all experience from time to time. These emotions can hold us back when confronted with the new and unknown.

AWS Re:Invent 2016 was the fifth annual event. Underlying all of the amazing feature announcements this year is the hard fact that in just five short years, AWS has changed computing for good. The roles and tasks of IT management have changed. More importantly, this acceleration shows no sign of slowing down. AWS expects to release 1,000 new features in 2017; that’s double the number of new features they released in 2015.

If you think ahead two years at this velocity, it is quite possible that serverless will have become the new normal. In this “new normal”, it’s also likely that large numbers of organizations will have shifted from managing apps on Amazon EC2 to using a dynamic grid of Lambda services. Functions could be auto-deployed by AWS CodeBuild. Each matrix could be so closely monitored, and managed by AWS X-Ray that no human intervention would be required. AWS Trusted Advisor, X-ray, and Amazon Artificial Intelligence could monitor and optimize the cost of each function at a high level of granularity. This would guarantee optimal cost efficiency for the end customer. In short, it is likely that many traditional management operations will be automated and commoditized in the near future.

So, we need to park our fear of the unknown and seize the day! If you are starting from scratch with the Cloud, you’ll want to get started now. Otherwise, next year you will need to learn twice as much!
If you have already started your journey, I would recommend making certification a priority for the next three months. Certifications can help you develop and progress quickly.

It’s OK to Start Small

With AWS, learning will be an ongoing process. With 50+ services and counting, it’s tempting to feel overwhelmed before you even get started. But don’t give in. AWS is driven by customer needs, so it will only to continue to replace IT problems with easy solutions at a phenomenal pace. Just take small, frequent bites at learning more about the core AWS services and solutions. 
At Cloud Academy, we have developed our Learning Paths to help you focus your efforts and save time in the process.

If the whole Cloud idea is still something of a mystery to you, this is an excellent place to start. You can then follow the path, committing a small slice of time each week to learn something new. Consider it the high yield investment in your future portfolio.

If you feel you have a good grasp of Cloud Computing but are unsure of where to go next, Serverless computing is the area that you might want to explore. AWS Lambda now supports C#, which makes it available to a wider group of developers. The AWS serverless application model (SAM) is a robust framework that is helping drive maturity and adoption of serverless solutions. AWS Lambda can now be integrated with AWS CloudFormation. As a result, many of the integration challenges for deploying and linking functions together has been solved with AWS CodeBuild and AWS Step Functions.

AWS Step Functions allow you to coordinate components and tasks of distributed applications with a visual workflow. This simplifies managing serverless functions as the complexity of your application logic increases. The Step Functions service includes an editor that can map out relationships between your Lambda functions whether they are in parallel, branches, or sequences. If you like visual dev tools you will find AWS Step Functions a welcome addition.

In my opinion, the release of Dead Letter Queue Support for Lambda makes handling state, timeouts,  and exceptions easier. Previously, it wasn’t easy to send a notification with useful context when a function failed, and sending timed out tasks to a handler to be acted upon could be difficult.

Getting Started with Serverless

In his keynote at AWS re:Invent 2016, Werner Vogels highlighted the fact that the ecosystem of services around AWS compute makes it a good choice when getting into serverless applications. Getting Started with Serverless is a new Learning Path in our current pipeline that will help you grow your knowledge and build your confidence. (Stay tuned!)

In short, when it comes to cloud technologies, there is an amazing future ahead! Make sure you grab it with both hands.

 

Avatar

Written by

Andrew Larkin

Andrew is an AWS certified professional who is passionate about helping others learn how to use and gain benefit from AWS technologies. Andrew has worked for AWS and for AWS technology partners Ooyala and Adobe. His favorite Amazon leadership principle is "Customer Obsession" as everything AWS starts with the customer. Passions around work are cycling and surfing, and having a laugh about the lessons learnt trying to launch two daughters and a few start ups.

Related Posts

Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— August 13, 2019

Content Roadmap: AZ-500, ITIL 4, MS-100, Google Cloud Associate Engineer, and More

Last month, Cloud Academy joined forces with QA, the UK’s largest B2B skills provider, and it put us in an excellent position to solve a massive skills gap problem. As a result of this collaboration, you will see our training library grow with additions from QA’s massive catalog of 500+...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • content roadmap
  • Google Cloud Platform
Avatar
Adam Hawkins
— August 9, 2019

DevSecOps: How to Secure DevOps Environments

Security has been a friction point when discussing DevOps. This stems from the assumption that DevOps teams move too fast to handle security concerns. This makes sense if Information Security (InfoSec) is separate from the DevOps value stream, or if development velocity exceeds the band...

Read more
  • AWS
  • cloud security
  • DevOps
  • DevSecOps
  • Security
Avatar
Stefano Giacone
— August 8, 2019

Test Your Cloud Knowledge on AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud Platform

Cloud skills are in demand | In today's digital era, employers are constantly seeking skilled professionals with working knowledge of AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. According to the 2019 Trends in Cloud Transformation report by 451 Research: Business and IT transformations re...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Cloud skills
  • Google Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— August 7, 2019

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

If you want to deliver digital services of any kind, you’ll need to estimate all types of resources, not the least of which are CPU, memory, storage, and network connectivity. Which resources you choose for your delivery —  cloud-based or local — is up to you. But you’ll definitely want...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud Platform
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— August 6, 2019

Google Cloud vs AWS: A Comparison (or can they be compared?)

The "Google Cloud vs AWS" argument used to be a common discussion among our members, but is this still really a thing? You may already know that there are three major players in the public cloud platforms arena: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP)...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Kubernetes
Avatar
Stuart Scott
— July 29, 2019

Deployment Orchestration with AWS Elastic Beanstalk

If you're responsible for the development and deployment of web applications within your AWS environment for your organization, then it's likely you've heard of AWS Elastic Beanstalk. If you are new to this service, or simply need to know a bit more about the service and the benefits th...

Read more
  • AWS
  • elastic beanstalk
Avatar
Stuart Scott
— July 26, 2019

How to Use & Install the AWS CLI

What is the AWS CLI? | The AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) is for managing your AWS services from a terminal session on your own client, allowing you to control and configure multiple AWS services and implement a level of automation. If you’ve been using AWS for some time and feel...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS CLI
  • Command line interface
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— July 22, 2019

Cloud Academy’s Blog Digest: July 2019

July has been a very exciting month for us at Cloud Academy. On July 10, we officially joined forces with QA, the UK’s largest B2B skills provider (read the announcement). Over the coming weeks, you will see additions from QA’s massive catalog of 500+ certification courses and 1500+ ins...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Academy
  • Cybersecurity
  • DevOps
  • Kubernetes
Avatar
Stuart Scott
— July 18, 2019

AWS Fundamentals: Understanding Compute, Storage, Database, Networking & Security

If you are just starting out on your journey toward mastering AWS cloud computing, then your first stop should be to understand the AWS fundamentals. This will enable you to get a solid foundation to then expand your knowledge across the entire AWS service catalog.   It can be both d...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Compute
  • Database
  • fundamentals
  • networking
  • Security
  • Storage
Avatar
Adam Hawkins
— July 17, 2019

How to Become a DevOps Engineer

The DevOps Handbook introduces DevOps as a framework for improving the process for converting a business hypothesis into a technology-enabled service that delivers value to the customer. This process is called the value stream. Accelerate finds that applying DevOps principles of flow, f...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Certifications
  • DevOps
  • DevOps Foundation Certification
  • Engineer
  • Kubernetes
Avatar
Vineet Badola
— July 15, 2019

AWS AMI Virtualization Types: HVM vs PV (Paravirtual VS Hardware VM)

Amazon Machine Images (AWS AMI) offers two types of virtualization: Paravirtual (PV) and Hardware Virtual Machine (HVM). Each solution offers its own advantages. When we’re using AWS, it’s easy for someone — almost without thinking —  to choose which AMI flavor seems best when spinning...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Hardware Virtual Machine
  • Paravirtual
  • Virtualization
Avatar
Stuart Scott
— July 2, 2019

AWS Machine Learning Services

The speed at which machine learning (ML) is evolving within the cloud industry is exponentially growing, and public cloud providers such as AWS are releasing more and more services and feature updates to run in parallel with the trend and demand of this technology within organizations t...

Read more
  • Amazon Machine Learning
  • AWS
  • AWS re:Invent
  • Machine Learning