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AWS re:Invent 2015 Keynote – Day Two

There were plenty of notable announcements at AWS re:Invent’s second official keynote address. This one was led by Werner Vogels. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Amazon Kinesis Analytics: powerful SQL-based analytics for streaming data (available next year).
  • Amazon EC2 Container Registry: a fully-managed and secure repository for container images (available later this year).
  • New instance types: X1 (featuring 2TB of RAM) and t2.nano.
  • Lambda news: VPC and Python support, long-running functions, scheduled functions, and custom retry logic.
  • AWS Mobile Hub: choose and configure your mobile app functionalities, download source code, and compile it.
  • AWS IoT: securely connect and manage devices at any scale (with SDKs for C and JS and an Arduino library).
AWS re:Invent 2015 Keynote Banner

Cloud is the new normal

AWS released 500+ new features during 2015 and this October, released their AWS Well-Architected Framework paper to help everyone build apps the way we’ve always wanted.
Werner went through the seven laws every Cloud architect should know, here is a recap:

Lucas critique

It’s naive to try to predict the effects of a change entirely on the basis of relationships observed in (highly aggregated) historical data

In fact, you should build your analytics by analyzing the past (historic data), by monitoring the present (real-time dashboards) and by predicting the future (smart predictions). And you can already do this on AWS, although streaming data processing is still challenging. That’s exactly what Amazon Kinesis Analytics will solve for you starting from next year, by offering a powerful sql-based time series analytics solution for your streaming data.

Gall’s law

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.

The good news is that AWS now offers two new EC2 instance types, in order to cover two extreme needs:

  • X1 comes with 2TB of memory and will be available within the first half of 2016;
  • t2.nano will provide a baseline level of (burstable) processing power, available later this year.

Last year AWS released ECS to help you manage Docker containers on a cluster of Amazon EC2 instances. This year’s goal has been to simplify production container management even further by introducing Amazon EC2 Container Registry, a managed repository for container images that will be available later this year.
We can definitely say that containers have simplified development, but Lambda makes it even easier (“because no server is easier to manage than no server”). Here are AWS’s Lambda-related announcements:

  • VPC support, so that your Lambda functions can access your VPC resources.
  • Python support, including a 2.7-compatible runtime, pip support, and the latest AWS SDK  (boto3).
  • Long-running functions, from only 60 seconds up to 5 minutes.
  • Scheduled functions, to simplify the execution of cron jobs and periodic tasks.
  • Custom retry logic, to better handle failures in special scenarios.

Law of Demeter

Each unit should have only limited knowledge about other units.

Werner talked about the duality of devices and mobile applications – involving the needs of mobile devices and custom mobile backends – and how AWS has been solving the mobile gap with services such as Cognito, API Gateway, Lambda, Mobile Analytics, Device Farm and SNS.
In order to further simplify the development of the next generation of mobile apps, AWS announced the Mobile Hub. This new service, currently in beta, will let you choose and configure the skeleton for your mobile apps, download its source code and integrate testing and monitoring as well.

Occam’s razor

Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

Werner briefly described how Facts have always been the result of well-defined Models, identified by means of Theories, which can be developed only through real-world Observations. This was a great introduction to the importance of the IoT concept.

Reed’s law

The utility of large networks scales exponentially with the size of the network

AWS announced AWS IoT,  which will help you actually build IoT applications and securely connect and manage devices at any scale. It will give you the support to connect billions of Devices and strong Network capabilities thanks to a new lightweight communication protocol, Security via X509 certificates, Data Collection to collect your data with Kinesis, DynamoDB and  S3, and real Smarts to trigger your Lambda functions. AWS IoT already comes with a C and JS SDKs and an Arduino library.

Gestalt principle

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Beastie’s law

You’ve got to fight for your right to party

Of course, we didn’t miss the official AWS re:Play party. I hope you will join us next year as well. In case if you missed the first keynote, here’s a full recap: AWS re:Invent 2015 Keynote

Written by

Alex Casalboni

Alex is a Software Engineer with a great passion for music and web technologies. He's experienced in web development and software design, with a particular focus on frontend and UX.

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