In November 2018 Scalar Decisions headed down to Las Vegas for the latest edition of AWS re:Invent. No matter how many tech conferences you attend each year, I promise re:Invent never disappoints. The shear scale of the event spread across multiple resorts and the energy it infuses in to the city is exhilarating! Not only is re:Invent a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the latest technology trends, but also offers a great venue to connect with industry leaders, technology vendors, and clients.
All of these benefits aside the content of the conference is what drives the most excitement each year and 2018 was no slouch – The flow of product announcements during keynotes, cloud technical labs, and business focused case studies were delivered with true Vegas style flare and excitement. Below are some highlights of the product announcements that Scalar found the most exciting and relevant for our customers:
AWS Outposts bring native AWS services, infrastructure, and operating models to virtually any data centre, co-location space, or on-premises facility for a truly consistent and seamless hybrid cloud.
Previously, hybrid cloud solutions required you to operate different IT and development environments for on-premises and cloud, coordinate across vendors for hardware, software, and services, and maintain, update, and patch on-premises infrastructure. This creates a lot of complexity and risk with different automation, governance policies, and security controls across your environments.
AWS Outposts remove the complexity of hybrid cloud by offering a solution that uses the same software, services, infrastructure, management tools, development, and deployment models on Outposts as you use on AWS for a seamless hybrid cloud solution. Outposts infrastructure is fully managed, maintained, and supported by AWS, and its hardware and software components can be updated to deliver access to the latest AWS services. Outposts support workloads that remain on-premises due to low latency and local data processing needs, such as telecom virtual network functions, high-frequency trading, industrial automation, financial services, healthcare, and other applications.
AWS Outposts come in two variants: 1) VMware Cloud on AWS service that runs on AWS Outposts; 2) AWS Outposts that allow customers to run compute and storage on-premises using the same native AWS APIs used in the AWS cloud.
Amazon FSx for Windows File Server
Amazon FSx for Windows File Server provides a fully managed native Microsoft Windows file system so you can easily move your Windows-based applications that require file storage to AWS.
Built on Windows Server, Amazon FSx provides shared file storage with the compatibility and features that your Windows-based applications rely on, including full support for the SMB protocol and Windows NTFS, Active Directory (AD) integration, and Distributed File System (DFS). Amazon FSx uses SSD storage to provide the fast performance your Windows applications and users expect, with high levels of throughput and IOPS, and consistent sub-millisecond latencies. This compatibility and performance is particularly important when moving workloads that require Windows shared file storage, like CRM, ERP, and.NET applications, as well as home directories.
With Amazon FSx, you can launch highly durable and available Windows file systems that can be accessed from up to thousands of compute instances using the industry-standard SMB protocol. Amazon FSx eliminates the typical administrative overhead of managing Windows file servers. With FSx for Windows File Server, you pay only for the resources used, with no upfront costs, minimum commitments, or additional fees.
Amazon FSx for Lustre
Amazon FSx for Lustre is a fully managed file system that is optimized for compute-intensive workloads, such as high-performance computing and machine learning. You can leverage the scale and performance of FSx for Lustre to process your file-based data sets from Amazon S3 or other durable data stores.
With Amazon FSx for Lustre, you can launch and run a Lustre file system that can process massive data sets at up to hundreds of gigabytes per second of throughput, millions of IOPS, and sub-millisecond latencies. FSx for Lustre is seamlessly integrated with Amazon S3, making it easy to link your long-term data sets with your high-performance file systems to run compute-intensive workloads. You can automatically copy data from S3 to FSx for Lustre, run your workloads, and then write results back to S3. FSx for Lustre also enables you to burst your compute-intensive workloads from on-premises to AWS, by allowing you to access your FSx file system over Amazon Direct Connect or VPN.
FSx for Lustre helps you cost-optimize your storage for compute-intensive workloads: It provides cheap and performant non-replicated storage for processing data, with your long-term data stored durably in Amazon S3 or other low-cost data stores. The service is fully managed, eliminating the need for specialized expertise and administrative overhead, like provisioning storage servers.
AWS IOT SiteWise
AWS IoT SiteWise is a new managed service that makes it easy to collect and organize your data from industrial equipment at scale. You can easily monitor equipment across your industrial facilities to identify waste, such as breakdown of equipment and processes, production inefficiencies, and defects in products.
Now with IoT SiteWise, industrial data is securely stored, available, and searchable in the cloud. You can integrate IoT SiteWise with your industrial equipment through a gateway. The gateway securely connects your on-premises data servers, collects data, and sends the data to the AWS Cloud. You can use IoT SiteWise on an AWS Snowball Edge gateway or you can install the IoT SiteWise software on common third-party industrial gateways, gateways specifically designed for industrial environments that are likely already in your facilities connecting your industrial equipment. Your gateway will interface directly with onsite servers that store equipment sensor data from manufacturing lines and assembly robots.
IoT SiteWise provides customizable views that allow you to create and personalize dashboards to deliver your equipment and process data in a format that best helps you accomplish your operational goals. You can group equipment or processes together so you can have the information you need organized in the way you need it. You can also download data as a CSV for offline analysis.
You can use IoT SiteWise to monitor operations across facilities, quickly compute common industrial performance metrics, and build applications to analyze industrial equipment data, prevent costly equipment issues, and reduce production inefficiencies. With IoT SiteWise, you can focus on understanding and optimizing your operations, rather than building costly in-house data collection and management applications.
AWS Transit Gateway
AWS Transit Gateway is a new service that enables customers to connect thousands of Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) and their on-premises networks using a single gateway. As you grow the number of workloads in AWS across multiple accounts, you need to scale your networks, control your connectivity policies better and monitor your network effectively. Today, you can connect pairs of Amazon VPCs using peering. However, managing point-to-point connectivity across large number of VPCs, without centrally managing connectivity and routing policies, can be operationally costly and cumbersome. This solution can be hard to manage for hundreds of VPCs.
With AWS Transit Gateway, you only have to create and manage a single connection from a central gateway to each Amazon VPC, on premises data centre, or remote office across your network. AWS Transit Gateway acts as a hub where traffic is routed among all the connected networks, the spokes. This hub and spoke model significantly simplifies management and reduces operational costs because each network only has to connect to the AWS Transit Gateway. With effective routing policies on the Transit Gateway, you have centralized control over how your Amazon VPCs and on-premises networks connect to each other. This connectivity model makes it easy and simple for you to scale and monitor your networks over time.
As it is every year AWS re:Invent provided an almost incomprehensible list of new products, features, and exciting updates. But at the end of the day what does it all mean for customers? Well this year AWS clearly demonstrated their laser focus on making cloud adoption easier for those customers who may have some critical roadblocks preventing them from making the shift to cloud. The numerous new hybrid cloud, HPC, and networking solutions really open up some new possibilities for customers that may have been previously locked in a local private cloud or having to continually invest in maintaining their own data centres. In line with this AWS have really provided some simple and ready to use IOT and AI/ML services that industry can start taking advantage of out of the box. In this way AWS is making it easier for the business to get exponential time-to-value by leveraging cloud services.
Its an exciting time to be an AWS partner and Scalar is looking forward to the future as we work with customers through their cloud journey. Every year cloud solutions continue to drive high value return on investment and with this year’s exciting new announcements its easier than ever to get started in the cloud!