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AWS re:Invent 2017: The Day 2 Buzz

November 29th, 2017



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

Missed this one as the run started later than expected and I don’t think it was the done thing to arrive in running gear!

I was interested because AWS VPC design is so fundamental to creating your cloud. As the architecture evolves, many companies start with a single simple VPC per region.

This then evolves into a multi-VPC, multi-region design which then also needs to connect to on-premises systems.

Many creative solutions are available for scaling and securing outbound VPC traffic and managing multi-tenant VPCs is very important as was highlighted in my session yesterday: AWS re:Invent 2017: Security Anti-Patterns: Mistakes to Avoid – FSV301

As AWS is often an extension of existing enterprise networks, designing Direct Connect and building a full VPC mesh network across global regions needs some thinking up front to best achieve what you want.

This is a tough architecture as its always evolving. Doing the VPC creation and plumbing up front for something that is likely to hang around forever means it needs to be done right.

On the to catch up list.

ARC201  —  Scaling Up to Your First 10 Million Users

Benjamin Thurgood from AWS

This was somewhat of a “go through everything AWS has” session as an overview of all the myriad services. It was well delivered to show you how powerful they can all work together to scale up to some pretty big numbers.

I write about it separately: Scaling Up to Your First 10 Million Users – ARC201

SRV327  —  Step-by-Step: Seven AWS Step Functions Patterns that Help You Optimize Everyday Tasks and Build Powerful New Applications

Constantin Gonzalez & Brittany Doncaster from AWS

A dash across Vegas again and I was 1 hour 5 minutes early and the walk-up line was already closed to new people. Wow, great that your conference is so interesting for lots of people but its a shame people are not getting to see what they want to. So, another missed opportunity which I need to catch up on later.

This session interested me because serverless is great and Lambda is so useful but it creates a whole new application design paradigm. Much of IT is built on a set of transactions that need to be completed and rolled back if something goes wrong. Individual Lambda functions are limited and they need to work together as a whole system. Step Functions is AWSs Lambda herder.

According to t he summary, Constantin and Brittany were going to go through what Step Functions are for, from everyday DevOps scripting tasks to large-scale data processing to core business workflows.

They were going to show how to design, test, build, and deploy your own state machine. There was another interesting angle on building human actions into your workflow as an often overlooked part of any workflow.

Lambda and Step Functions don’t work in a vacuum, they need to interact with a whole smorgasbord of other AWS serverless services. Lots of combining step functions with SQS, API Gateway and CloudWatch Events to get serverless workflows fully fired up.

Certainly worth watching later if its available.

The Expo

I spent some time in the Expo which annoyingly was only open for 3 hours before shutting down for a bit this afternoon so thwarted my best laid plans. Luckily I was able to see Keith Townsend and Justin Warren and talk about all things re:Invent.

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Interestingly Capital One had a stand. Now they are not a vendor but an enterprise which is heavily using AWS and had made some tools available as open source. Quite something that they would decide to have a booth to show them off.

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ARC401  —  Serverless Architectural Patterns and Best Practices

Drew Dennis & Maitreya Ranganath from AWS

A ridiculously detailed drink from the firehose session in a spectacular venue with so much information on how to use various serverless offerings and tie them together for much awesomeness.

I blogged about it separately: Serverless Architectural Patterns and Best Practices – ARC401

Welcome Reception

The Welcome Reception was at The Expo vendor marketplace for a chance to eat, drink, chat and collect swag if that’s your thing.

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There was an outdoor area at the LINQ Lot with a specially constructed bridge just for re:Invent to cross the road.

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I went through an interesting connected home exhibition in a mobile which showed Alexa integration with a whole bunch of devices from smart locks, moving blonds, a kettle, music, TV, you have it, the ultimate control your home with your voice setup.

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Tuesday Night Live Peter Desantis

Lots was covered and a few announcements, I wrote about it in Tuesday Night Live with Peter Desantis

Cloud Native + Kubernetes After Hours Event

I thought I’d be social and so popped into a cloudy native drinks, lovely venue and managed to bump into two South Africans I hadn’t met before and we talked all things cloud and their transition to Kubernetes and also serverless. A lot of discussion about turning to Kubernetes to be cloud agnostic but then deciding its much easier to take advantage of the cloud native AWS services from S3, CloudFront & DynamoDB which ties them somewhat into AWS and so perhaps they don’t need to be as cloud agnostic any more.

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