Cloud
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6 min read
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December 4, 2020

AWS re:Invent Week One Roundup

by

Susnigdha Tripathy

A much-anticipated event for the cloud computing community, AWS re:Invent 2020 has finally started, albeit in a changed setting. Since the pandemic showing no sign of abating, the event has gone virtual, but that has not dampened the spirit of AWS and their team of innovators.

With an impressive line-up of new products and path-breaking ideas, week one of re:Invent 2020 has kicked off and promises to be as exciting as previous years. AWS CEO Andy Jassy live-streamed his keynote address from Seattle to a virtual audience spread across the globe. Taking to the stage, he shared cloud insights and talked about how AWS is reinventing cloud technologies.

Jassy began his keynote by talking about racism in America. He acknowledged, “the way we treated Black people in this country is disgraceful and something that has to change.” Jassy further added that Amazon is working to address the social inequalities, and that, “It’s going to take several years of us working together, but we need to do it.”

The CEO mentioned how AWS uses a culture of reinvention to grow faster than its competitors and how the company provides the customer with powerful, yet cheaper cloud services. He stressed the fact that companies need to continuously reinvent lest they might be left behind.

During the three-hour keynote, Jassy touched on a range of topics, however, the focus seemed to be on hybrid clouds, containers, Outposts, and edge computing. He also announced the launch of 24 new products and services and talked about how “the pandemic accelerated cloud adoption by several years.”  

Highlights from Jassy’s Keynote

AWS Proton, ECS Anywhere, and EKS Anywhere: With the launch of AWS Proton, ECS Anywhere, and EKS Anywhere, Amazon seems to be betting big on container technology. AWS Proton, a fully managed service for serverless applications and containers, will give platform teams the tools to manage microservices with their ever-changing infrastructure needs without impacting developer productivity.

With ECS Anywhere and EKS Anywhere, customers can run Amazon ECS on-premises using the same AWS style and highly-scalable container orchestration service they use in AWS. Jassy noted that some customers need to use on-premises locations for various reasons (financial constraints or security issues) and this service is for them.

AWS also launched ECR Public, which will allow users to share, store, and manage public container images for open use. Until now, users were only allowed to host private container images on AWS.

Recent Additions to EC2 Portfolio: Amazon has launched a comprehensive list of EC2 instances such as high-performance graphics workloads (G4ad), memory-intensive applications with (R5B), and network-intensive workloads (c6gn).

The company also introduced EC2 Mac instances--new Mac instances  for Amazon EC2. Built on Mac mini computers and enabled by AWS Nitro System, EC2 Mac instances can be used to build, test, and sign Xcode applications for several Apple platforms. This is huge because now a team at Apple can now simply access an EC2 Mac instance and start developing software without having to invest in any specific infrastructure.

In a Q&A session with reporters, David Brown, Vice President of EC2 at AWS said, “With EC2 Mac instances, developers can now provision and access on-demand macOS compute environments in AWS for the first time ever, so they can focus on creating groundbreaking apps for Apple’s industry-leading platforms, rather than procuring and managing the underlying infrastructure.”

QuickSight Q: Amazon has upgraded its business intelligence service QuickSight and has launched QuickSight Q, a data query tool with natural language capabilities. Q will make use of deep learning and natural language processing to answer any question within seconds, saving weeks of efforts from BI teams. Jassy said, “This is totally going to change the BI experience.”

Highlights from Other Sessions

Session with Doug Yeum

During a re:Invent session, Doug Yeum, AWS’s head of Global Partner Organization, unveiled SaaS Boost, ISV Accelerate Program, and ISV Partner Path, to name a few.

SaaS Boost - SaaS is a new open-source tool that cuts down the time required by ISVs to move to a SaaS delivery model. Yeum said, “Because this is open source, customers can take this code as is, or they can modify it to fit their own requirements.”  

ISV Accelerate Program - The Accelerate Program aims to connect the AWS sales team to ISVs, resulting in increased visibility for the latter. Further, cash incentives will be provided to sales members for closing deals with AWS Partners.

ISV Partner Path – ISV Partner Path program will make it easier for independent software vendors to build and sell their solutions on the AWS cloud. AWS is now moving away from partner-level badging to solution-level badging. Through co-selling support and curated programs, ISV Partner Path will provide a a greater level of engagement between ISVs and AWS.  

Partner Keynote with Sandy Carter

Sandy Carter, Vice President of Global Public Sector Partners and Programs made five key announcements:

Expanding AWS Public Safety and Disaster Response Competency for AWS Technology Partners – Announced last year for consulting partners, this year AWS Public Safety and Disaster Response Competency is being expanded to include 16 technology partners who have enabled governments and communities to leverage AWS technology to respond and recover from man-made or natural disasters globally.

AI and ML Rapid Adoption Assistance Initiative – Created in response to the White House’s American AI Initiative, this initiative helps governments harness AI, ML, and DL to provide improved services to citizens. From 2021, this program will be available globally.  

AWS Mainframe Migration Competency - Carter pre-announced the launch of the AWS Mainframe Migration Competency for Consulting and Technology Partners. To qualify for this competency, partners taking part should have the requisite experience and expertise in migrating mainframe applications to AWS.

ATO on AWS goes beyond FedRAMP - Authority to Operate (ATO) on AWS helps AWS partners in their pursuit of a compliance authorization. Besides FedRAMP, ATO will now include other frameworks like IRS 1075, HIPPA, PCI-DSS, CJIS, IRAP, and GDPR.

Think Big for Small Business pilot goes global – Launched earlier this year, Think Big for Small Business has now gone global. The program provides technical know-how and resources to SMEs and helps them to achieve competencies.

To get more updates and hot takes about this week’s highlights, see our own breakout series, Hallway Conversations available to watch on YouTube or straight from our Virtasant at re:Invent page.