Another AWS re:Invent is here and gone. While this year seemed more developer centric than years past, two strong themes emerged from re:Invent 2014. First is a clear focused commitment towards the targeted needs of large enterprises. Second is the drive to foster innovation and build solution stacks that generate revenue from open source technologies.
Let’s start with some of the updates to a few of the core AWS services. New C4 EC2 instance types will be hitting the street soon. These new instance types are focused on providing next generation processor performance for application, gaming and web servers, transcoding, and high performance computing workloads. Additionally, Elastic Block Storage is getting a turbo-boost with an increase in the allowed volume size and the amount of IOPs. You will be able to create volumes of up to 16 TB and 10,000 IOPS for General Purpose (SSD) volumes and up to 16 TB and 20,000 IOPS for Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes. Big jumps on both!
From an enterprise perspective, AWS has announced several new services focused on security, governance and compliance. First, the new Key Management Service(KMS) allows organizations to manage control of encryption keys through a centralized, managed service. Not only does this new service help alleviate scalability and availability issues arising from implementing at an enterprise scale on your own, it can also ease concerns about moving sensitive data to the public cloud. Additionally, the KMS releases with built-in integration to a few existing AWS services, namely Amazon EBS, Amazon S3, and Amazon Redshift.
Another new service geared for enterprises is the AWS Config service. This service allows organizations to obtain a full inventory, configuration history and change notifications for AWS resources. This service fills in the critical gaps of compliance auditing, security analysis and resource change tracking many enterprises need for consistent IT governance. Like leading horses to water, the low cost and easy service implementation really highlights the desire for AWS to make a stamp in the enterprise. To round out the enterprise goodies, the new AWS Service Catalog, being released in early 2015, aims to put control and standardization of the cloud back in the hands of the enterprise IT departments. AWS Service Catalog will allow organizations to create customized catalogs with products that meet IT guidelines, configurations and business policies. IT departments can manage what users are allowed to browse and launch into AWS from a centralized, self-service portal. This not only helps control the dreaded cloud sprawl, but also helps organizations inject agility into business without making IT a bottleneck in achieving critical goals.
Now we come to the slew of what I see as developer candy; AWS making good on open source technologies. Let’s start with the new application lifecycle tools AWS CodeDeploy, CodeCommit and CodePipeline. CodeDeploy allows organizations to automate code deployments for applications into EC2 instances. CodeDeploy gives you the flexibility to deploy code from S3 or GitHub, set the number of instances deployed at a given time, cycle healthy instances in and out of elastic load balancers and auto scaling groups all from a centralized location that tracks the status of your deployments. CodeCommit is exactly what it sounds like, hosted private Git repositories to store pretty much anything you want. Finally, CodePipeline is simply put a continuous delivery and release automation service. CodePipeline will watch source code repositories you identify for changes and then trigger a workflow that you define. An example of a workflow would be to build the code in a production build tree, run test cases, and deploy tested code to a staging server. Once verified and approved, the code could be promoted to production and widely deployed. CodeCommit and CodePipeline should be available in early 2015.
Next on the developer express is the new built for cloud relational database, Aurora. Aurora is a new My-SQL compatible database built by AWS and delivered in a fully managed package similar to the other flavors of the Relational Database Service. The days of taking your application offline to add storage will be a thing of the past. With Aurora organizations will be able to scale up in 10GB increments on an as needed basis and performance will scale linearly as more data is stored. Aurora will automatically recover from failures and the storage will be replicated across three Availability Zones (AZ) with two copies of data in each AZ. With lower price point, higher resiliency and better performance, it is clear AWS is trying to turn the database industry upside down.
That leads us to the EC2 Container Service (ECS). ECS is a fully managed, highly scalable, high performance Docker container service. If you are not familiar with container computing or Docker, it essentially focuses on lightweight, portable, and self-sufficient containers that comprise a distributed application platform. These containers are lighter in weight and have less memory and computational overhead than traditional virtual machines making them easier to scale, maintain and deploy. ECS allows organizations to easily run distributed applications on a managed cluster of Amazon EC2 instances with the added benefit of simplifying the actual management of the container clusters. There is no added charge for this service, you will pay only for the compute and storage required for your cluster.
Let’s round everything out with one thing that was a constant grumbling around the conference floor - “where are the price cuts”. While they’re not directly intuitive, there are price cuts hidden in some of the new services. For example, take a look at new service Lambda. Lambda is a compute service that executes Node.js code you define in response to events and automatically manages the compute resources for you. Essentially, you can run logic for your workloads without deploying an entire application stack on EC2. Instead of configuring, managing and paying for an HA, full stack environment, you can move appropriate workloads to Lambda and pay only for the total number of requests to your functions and the amount of memory (GB-second) allocated to your code while the workload is actually running. Price cuts are there, you just have to look for them.
As AWS continues to innovate at an alarming pace, it is clear that the near term future holds a focus on the enterprise and developer agility. To better understand what these new developments mean for your environment, reach out to a Clearpath specialist today. If you're new to AWS and want to discover what cost savings you can take advantage of by migrating to AWS, check out our Backup to Cloud with AWS estimation tool. This backup to cloud estimation tool will help you derive the ultimate cost of cloud backup and to understand the impact of accumulation and retention on your backup footprint.