AWS Latest Announcements

As usual, in re:Invent 2017, Amazon AWS has announced a spate of new services and added new features to existing services. I will summarize some of these. I am going to concentrate on the more generic and not the very specialized services, though I will mention a few of them.

Compute:

  1. AWS Fargate : This new service from AWS allows you to run your docker container without worrying about the systems that will run the container. In other words, AWS will take care of setting up a cluster of instances and will run your containers. The cluster will be maintained by AWS leaving you free to worry about your application. Azure already has the ability to run container instances. In this case, I think AWS is catching up with Azure
  2. Bare Metal: IBM and a few others had the Bare Metal offering earlier. As the name indicates, you get complete control of a server and you can load the hypervisor or OS of your choice on the system. This helps you in many ways, especially in getting better performance, achieving compliance, tackling licensing issues and you can also build a cloud of your choice within AWS!! Bare Metal is still in preview stage but I am sure you will see it being generally available soon
  3. Hibernation of Spot Instances: Earlier whenever your spot instance was running and your bid price fell below the spot price, AWS terminated your spot instances. So spot instances were suitable only for such applications which could withstand sudden termination. Later, they stopped the spot instances instead of terminating them. Now the spot instances will go into the hibernation mode. Here, the state of your memory is also stored on disk and when capacity becomes available again your instance will start running from where you left off. The private IP and the Elastic IP are also preserved. This makes spot instances even more attractive to use
  4. Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS): Many of you would know that Kubernetes is a Docker orchestration service. AWS had only ECS (Elastic Container Service) earlier for Docker orchestration. They have now given us the option of using Kubernetes as well. Here, AWS will take care of all the infrastructure required for running Kubernetes, so that we need not worry about setting up servers and setting up Kubernetes. Given that Kubernetes is having a lot of traction, this is a good move from Amazon. This is now in the Preview stage

Databases

  1. Amazon Aurora multi master: Now you can create more than one read/write master database. The applications can use these multiple databases in the cluster to read and write. As you can guess, the high availability of the database will increase as you can have each of the masters in a different Availability Zone
  2. DynamoDB Global Tables: In this case your DynamoDB tables are automatically replicated across regions of your choice. Earlier if you wanted a replica of your DynamoDB table in another region you had to setup the replication on your own. With DynamoDB you no longer need to worry about it now. You can immediately see how this will be effective in a DR scenario.
  3. DynamoDB Backup and Restore: Now AWS allows you to backup and restore your DynamoDB tables. This is to help enterprises meet the regulatory requirements. AWS promises that the backup will happen very fast irrespective of the size of the table
  4. AWS Neptune: Amazon launches a graph database which it has name AWS Neptune. If you have seen my webinar on NoSQL Databases you would know that graph database is a type of NoSQL Database. I will write a separate post on graph database and what AWS Neptune’s features are in a future post

Networking

  1. Inter-region VPC Peering: Earlier you could peer two VPCs only if they were in the same region. Now Amazon allows you to peer two VPCs even if they belong to different regions. So an EC2 instance can access another EC2 instance in a peered VPC of another region using only the private IP

Messaging

  1. Amazon MQ: This is a managed broker service for Apache ActiveMQ. Amazon will setup the ActiveMQ and maintain it. I don’t have much of an idea about ActiveMQ. I haven’t worked on it. From what I can gather, Amazon now has two messaging solutions, its own SQS (Simple Queue Service) and Amazon MQ. Maybe Amazon MQ has more features than SQS? I will find out and let you know

There are tons more of announcement that were made. I have just touched on ones that affect the AWS Solution Architect and AWS SysOps exams. I will write more about other new services and features in another post.