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Archive for November, 2017

AWS re:Invent 2017: The Day 3 Buzz

November 30th, 2017 No comments

2017-11-29 07.09.04

Andy Jassy’s Keynote

2017-11-29 08.00.51An early wake up to get to the keynote in time with the hordes. Common sense would say to rather watch the stream from the comfort of somewhere else but I wanted to get a sense of the vibe and how the inevitable kool-aid gushing felt “live” as it was delivered.

I’m not going to live blog the keynote, way too much for that and it will be covered extensively elsewhere particularly by Scott Lowe: AWS re:Invent 2017 Keynote with Andy Jassy

Andy Jassy had a fun way to go through some of the themes by having a house band on stage playing 5 songs The words were on the BIG screen and he used song lyrics to explain how AWS “thinks”.

There were SO many announcements at some stages I actually felt a little overwhelmed, not from the number of announcements but more for the implications of what we’re seeing.

Wake Up Enterprise and smell the Cloud

We are seeing an incredible amount of service building by AWS itself to create some pretty impressive capabilities. I’d go far enough to say that if you’re thinking of installing or running any sort of platform yourself be it infrastructure, platform, database, analytics, containers…just don’t bother.

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Categories: AWS, re:Invent Tags: , ,

AWS re:Invent 2017: How AWS Runs Our Weekly Operations Meetings – ENT346

November 29th, 2017 No comments

2017-11-29 14.29.54David Lubell and Kevin Miller from AWS

I was really looking forward to this session, as this is the very first time AWS has opened the kimono on how it actually runs its own operations.

I was there two hours in advance to guarantee a place, they only had a room for 60!

David started off by mentioning that AWS has had a weekly operational meeting which has now been running for more than 10 years. It runs for 2 hours every week. This looks at the  performance of services with the idea of nipping issues in the bud as well as being forward looking by identifying new best practices.

David wanted to share some lessons learned from what he termed “the trenches” with one of the largest services in the world.

In every meeting, leaders for every AWS service together with more than 100 engineers deep dive into their operations. The reason for having so many people is to have immediate ownership of things and be able to more quickly respond across the whole organisation.

David went through ways they’ve developed to run an effective meeting which is so large. It’s not just about the tech they’re looking at but also how you can run a meeting to look at this effectively, how can you feed back the metrics you can see to stop issues recurring. AWS understandably has a very high bar for operational performance.

In the meeting, they go through and share successes, look at organisation projects, review operational events, do service metrics reviews and other updates and announcements. It’s not just about metrics but is an ops information sharing forum which sends the right message that operations really matters. It helps to gather a community and tech best practices with an accountable audit mechanism. They try to avoid spending too much time on things specific to each team.

Each team has a standard set of metrics (responsiveness etc.) and also metrics for what’s special about the service. Customer service always important so they measure how long it takes an EC2 instance to get fully up and running for example as well as how long the console displays the updates.

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Categories: AWS, Cloud, re:Invent Tags: , ,

AWS re:Invent 2017: The Day 2 Buzz

November 29th, 2017 No comments

awsreinvent

 

The 4K Run

An early fresh start this morning to help with the jetlag and convince myself that I’m battling the conference calorie overload.

 

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2017-11-28 06.55.25-1Re:Invent arranged a 6am 4Km run for charity raising money for Girls Who Code and the American Heart Association. I was amazed to read the Fun Run Series which has run since 2014 has raised $500,000 so far! Tragically the co-founder of the run, Sam Blackman, died unexpectedly very recently.

A South African won it in a ridiculously quick time of just over 12 minutes! It was a great run, everyone enjoyed it and is stretched the legs and cleared the cobwebs!

ARC304  —  From One to Many:  Evolving VPC Design

Androski Spicer & Rob Alexander from AWS

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AWS re:Invent 2017: Tuesday Night Live with Peter Desantis

November 29th, 2017 No comments

Tuesday Night Live Peter Desantis

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Peter is VP of AWS Global Infrastructure which he’s been doing for a year and a bit although he’s been at Amazon for 20 years. This slot has always traditionally been done by James Hamilton, AWS Distinguished Engineer & one of the super techies.

Talk on the street is that all the techie stuff they are likely to talk about in this session is actually the stuff AWS was using two years ago and now wants to talk about, they’re so far ahead that they keep some of their new cards close to their chest.

2017-11-28 19.11.17There was a cool warm up band.

Update on AWS Global Infrastructure

Write your app once and deploy to any region “going global has never been so easy”, said Peter.

He went through the history of the global expansion and how this is accelerating. They have announced plans to expand with 17 new Availability Zones in six new geographic Regions: Bahrain, China, France, Hong Kong, Sweden, and a second AWS GovCloud Region in the US.”

Just let that sink in, 11 regions in the first 10 years and 17 in two years, that;s massive scale.

He touted the AWS commitment for renewal energy. He continued drilling down into what regions look like with the make up of availability zones being separately powered and super redundently cabled together.

Machine Learning

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AWS re:Invent 2017: Serverless Architectural Patterns and Best Practices – ARC401

November 28th, 2017 No comments

Another session on managing serverless and the new architectural patterns required to make it a success. The idea of to create reusable serverless patterns with an continual eye on reducing costs.

2017-11-28 13.28.01The venue was spectacular, in the Venetian Theatre which is magnificent. Shows the importance AWS is placing on serverless where most of the other sessions are in smaller rooms at the Aria.

Drew and Maitreya went through a number of patterns, giving operational and security best practices.

This was a fly by the seat of your pants session, so many AWS services were talked about, you needed an AWS dictionary to know what some are. If you are an infrastructure person who manages an OS, this was a very busy but insightful look at what is possible.

Serverless Foundations

For running your apps you can do it yourself with EC2 and even Docker, have managed services like EMR, ES, RDS etc. and then there’s services with no OS which is how they’re defining serverless, so that’s things like API Gateway, Kinesis Streams & Analytics, DynamoDB, S3, Step Functions, Config, X-Ray and Athena.

They reiterated the “never paying for idle” line and its all built for HA and DR.

You need to be aware of cold start, instantiate AWS client and database client outside the scope of the handler to take advantage of container re-use. Schedule with CloudWatch Events for pre-warming. ENUs for VPC support are attached during cold start

Lambda Best Practices

  • Minimise package size to necessities
  • Separate Lambda handler from core logic,
  • Use environment variables to modify operational behaviours.
  • Self-contain dependencies in your function package.
  • Leverage “Max Memory Used” to right size your functions.
  • Delete large unused functions
  • Use X-Ray integration for great insights.

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AWS re:Invent 2017: Scaling Up to Your First 10 Million Users – ARC201

November 28th, 2017 No comments

Benjamin Thurgood from AWS

Cloud is awesome, you can scale your web app or site on demand! But where do you start when you’re planning for bi g numbers of users. Making some design choices up front can dramatically simplify your life later.

Benjamin showed how best to link together different AWS services and using the capabilities of the AWS platform.

Autoscaling is only the beginning, there’s a lot more to look at.

Use Native Sevices

First step is to use the AWS Global Infrastructure with Edge locations. Take advantage of the global AWS platfom so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Many native features available like Cloudfront, S3, DynamoDB, EFS etc.

EC2, EBS, RDS etc are scalable but you need to work a little harder.

Lightsail is an easy way to get started as a developer.

You can scale up but you’ll reach an end some time.

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Categories: AWS, Cloud, re:Invent Tags: , , , ,

AWS re:Invent 2017: The Day 1 Buzz

November 28th, 2017 2 comments

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AWS Re:Invent kicked off in ernest today, 43,000 cloud makers and learners spread across 5 hotels, basically taking over Las Vegas. Its difficult to appreciate the size of the conference as you could be involved in part of the conference and be very separate from another area.

See my preview posts yesterday, AWS re:Invent 2017: The Show Preview as well as re:Invent 2017: The Day 0 Buzz for what I’m concentrating on.

This morning, the 1st proper day of the conference, I started off with a hot topic for all of IT at the moment, security. As I’m currently consulting in the financial sector, this session piqued my interest.

FSV301 – Security Anti-Patterns: Mistakes to Avoid

Kurt Gray from AWS and Jonathan Baulch from Fidelity Investments

This was a really great session with lots of useful tips. I wrote it up separately here:

AWS re:Invent 2017: Security Anti-Patterns: Mistakes to Avoid – FSV301

It’s a shame I had to leave a little early as I needed to head across Vegas because size of conference.

SRV213 – Thirty Serverless Architectures in 30 Minutes

Chris Munns from AWS

Unfortunately I was in the walk up line for this one and despite my dash across Vegas, they only let in 20 people so missed out on the session, a shame, I hope its posted afterwards.

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AWS re:Invent 2017: Build a Multi-Region Serverless Application for Resilience and High Availability Workshop

November 28th, 2017 No comments

Steven Challis & Derek Felska from AWS were the workshop leaders and it was very hands on, basically up to you and anyone else you wanted to team up with.

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This is one of the reasons to actually attend a conference, you get to do things in person and interact with other people rather than watching a recorded session or just follow a step by step plan when you can’t confer.

Intro

Availability and fast performance is key to user experience. Building a global application from the start is traditionally extremely difficult. Think before serverless how you would have to manage a global fleet of EC2 instances, load balancers, databases and storage. You would need to be a DNS guru and keeping your compute generic yet regionalised was super tough. Enter serverless and the promise was there but Lambda needed a whole lot of hacking to get functions to fire based on geographical access.

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In the workshop we set up a fictional company called www.wildrydes.com (would you use a ride sharing company called this!). This wasn’t just a normal rider sharing company though, the drivers were unicorns! They needed a customer support application which customers can use to report any issues, be it lost property or a grumpy unicorn! As the service was global and needed to be built, serverless was touted as the ideal platform to use as much as possible (of course, it’s re:Invent!). We needed to lash together Lambda, API Gateway, DynamoDB, Route 53, CloudFront and S3 for better availability. Cognito Federated Identities was also used for user authentication.

The workshop was also to highlight the new “API Gateway regional endpoints” feature which was recently released.

There’s no reason to feel left out though, you can go through it all at: https://github.com/awslabs/aws-serverless-workshops/

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AWS re:Invent 2017: Security Anti-Patterns: Mistakes to Avoid – FSV301

November 27th, 2017 No comments

FSV301 – Security Anti-Patterns: Mistakes to Avoid

Kurt Gray from AWS and Jonathan Baulch from Fidelity Investments

AWS has obviously spent a huge amount of effort building security into the very fabric of its cloud offerings. Enterprises still hesitant to use public cloud as they’re concerned about the security implications of AWS in my opinion are thinking old school. They are often taking the processes and procedures that they currently use on-prem and applying it to AWS rather than looking at all the new possibilities which are often more secure than they can do themselves.

AWS famously has touted the security split of “security OF the cloud” which is AWSs job and “security IN the cloud” which is the customer’s responsibility, however AWS has a huge number of tools to help with the IN part.

Kurt and Jonathan went through some of their learning about best practices and pitfalls. There are a number of governance patterns to avoid even though they may seem logical at first but may limit scale and throttle getting stuff done. This is all bundled under the banner of DevSecOps on a massive scale.

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AWS re:Invent 2017: The Day 0 Buzz

November 27th, 2017 No comments

2017-11-26 20.09.49

I flew yesterday from London to Las Vegas and with it being Thanksgiving Weekend, the airport was rather quieter than expected which made for a pleasantly quick immigration experience. The streams of travellers inbound to one of the most important IT conferences of the year has given Vegas some more buzz today.

I wrote a comprehensive Preview Blog Post: AWS re:Invent 2017: The Show Preview with my reasons for why I’m here, what I hope to get out of it and some crystal ball gazing about what I expect we’ll see.

I buffeted up big time for breakfast this morning as I didn’t have much conference stuff on. Marvellous glutonny. Smile

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Registration

I then registered which was painless and had a DJ playing which was nice and lively.

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Robocar Rally

2017-11-26 18.21.01This was an interesting “session”. The idea was getting behind a keyboard for a hackathon for getting your hands dirty with deep learning, IoT, AI and autonomous cars, sounds like a fun mix.

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