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AWS re:Invent 2021: Tuesday’s top 6 takeaways

ACG Technical Editors Team
ACG Technical Editors Team

Keeping up with the flood of announcements around new services and tech out of AWS re:Invent can feel like drinking from the firehose. To help satisfy our thirst for AWS news at a more sippable pace, we turned to A Cloud Guru Developer Evangelist Mattias Andersson and CTO Consultant and Pluralsight author David Tucker.

Together, this dynamic duo of cloud offer a TL;DW (too long, didn’t watch) guide to the news out of AWS re:Invent 2021 days 1 and 2. Read on for their rundown of their top 6 takeaways thus far! (Prefer the full nitty gritty? Head over here for a rundown of all the announcements.)


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This conversation has been edited for clarity, brevity, and general awesomeness. Any mistakes are probably on the part of the editor. (What’s that guy’s problem? He had one job!)

David: The first announcement I want to talk about is how amazing it was hearing about the advancements that they have in chips. And there really were two different things that came with this.

The first was we have the new Graviton3 chip, so there’s going to be a huge performance improvement that we’re going to see from it. It’s going to enable people to run more workloads in a more cost-efficient manner. And they even talked about the impact of the carbon footprint, which is something we’ve heard Google and Microsoft talking a lot about lately too.

The other big thing was the Tranium chip that AWS had previously announced is now available to use. Because we know that in the machine learning battle, there are two sides: the software and the hardware. So we’re seeing big steps on that front. What was your favorite announcement, Mattias?

Mattias: It probably wasn’t my favorite announcement, but I’ve got to say that the Mainframe Modernization announcement was . . . wait, David is giving me side-eye here! There’s some interesting value there. Giving people an opportunity to reduce their project time by two-thirds? Every project is going to be two-thirds faster! You don’t believe me, David?

David: I’m just curious. What does it work on exactly?

Mattias: I don’t know.

David: If it’s got a mainframe sticker on it, it’s good to go?

Mattias: Yeah, I think from the mainframe manufacturer people . . . I’m sure it’s a partnership with them.

David: Do they have mainframe stickers you can go put on your applications?

Mattias: It’s like a little “Mainframe Inside” sticker on the front.

David: Well, if it reduces your project time by two-thirds, it’s totally worth it.

Mattias: OK. What was another thing that stood out to you?

David: This is almost a continuation of the first thing I mentioned here but, machine learning. There’s certainly a push around ML because you saw them take time in the keynote and restate all the different ways they help people with machine learning. And then they introduced a new solution called SageMaker Canvas, which is designed for people that have virtually no understanding of data science so they can get in and actually get valuable insights out of data. This is really an extension on top of what we see with SageMaker Autopilot.

Mattias: You’re not even coding stuff. You’re using drag-and-drop to put together machine learning pipelines. It’s bringing this tech closer to the people. That’s what needs to happen. And AWS has a history of doing that for all different layers of the stack. This is just another one of them.

David: Absolutely. If you go check out the AWS blog post on this, it shows you how it will actually look at the data and tell you what algorithm you should be using again, without you having to know what algorithms solve, what data problem.

Mattias: Even people who are experts in that they spend a lot of time trying to figure all that out. But if you can have a service that will actually figure out for you, then that’s taking advantage of AWS. That’s why we’re here.

David: Exactly. So, what else did you hear that you got excited from the keynote?

Mattias: I’m always excited about serverless announcements. So it was pretty cool to see that there are now serverless and on-demand offerings for a bunch of analytics things. In particular, we have Redshift Serverless, Amazon EMR Serverless, Amazon MSK Serverless — so the managed streaming for Kafka. And we also have Kinesis Data Streams on-demand. That’s very cool.

For example, with Redshift Serverless, you don’t pay at all while your Redshift cluster — which they’re still managing for you behind the scenes — is idle. You’re loading data in, and then the second you stop, you stop paying. Then you start making queries later, and you’ll start paying again, based on just the time when you’re loading and querying. That’s really awesome.

David: And it absolutely makes analytics easier, especially for those getting started.

Another thing I wanted to highlight — because for me — it was the most unexpected announcement of the whole keynote, was that AWS now has a private 5G offering, AWS Private 5G.

With this, they’ll package up everything organizations need to deploy 5G at the edge for places like warehouses locations, factories, and the like. And I’m going to be really interested to see how customers are actually going to be using that in the future with AWS.

For organizations that are looking to do a lot of IoT work — where sometimes there are so many sensors that traditional communication methods aren’t ideal — this can be pretty much a game-changing service for them and it’s going to ease the way that it takes them to get into 5G. We’ll have to wait and see, but I think there are some exciting things that this could lead to on the horizon.

Speaking of, be sure to stay tuned because there are so many more announcements coming this week, and you’ll be able to find everything you need here.

Mattias: You can follow ACG on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to A Cloud Guru on YouTube for re:Invent 2021 updates. You can also drop by our Discord Community to connect with AWS Training Architects and Authors and meet all sorts of other awesome cloudy people. But most importantly, keep being awesome, cloud gurus!

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