Highlights from AWS FEST re:Invent recap

We’ve got your AWS FEST recap and our top takeaways from our quarterly virtual conference —this time focused on re:Invent announcements.
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After a virtual and then a smaller in-person AWS re:Invent back in 2020 and 2021, our team was finally able to hop on a plane to Vegas and meet up with the best cloud community there is for AWS re:Invent 2022. Things were finally back to normal, over 50K attendees took over the City of Sin and we all got our steps in going to and from the 2000+ sessions. N2WS and AWS FEST teams set up our booth and gave away bags and bags of swag. We also tried to keep track of the 1000+ announcements of product launches and updates which was…a bit challenging.

For this reason, we created a very special installment of AWS FEST where we picked the brains of 6 experts, their fields ranging from DevOps, Serverless and Sustainability to Data Analytics, Security and Cost Optimization. They summed up the juiciest AWS re:Invent announcements and spilled what they loved about the newest AWS cloud capabilities. This was all in less than 3 hours, so no one had to sort through hundreds upon hundreds of YouTube links.

What was great about their insights was not just what they loved about re:Invent, but also what they were also perhaps a bit disappointed by, and what they predict we’ll be seeing on the horizon. As usual, they dropped tons of sound advice and actionable takeaways on how to optimize your workloads.

Here are our top sound bites from the event:

Highlights from AWS FEST re:Invent recap December 2022

What’s new in Data Analytics with Tia Dubuisson

Tia, CoFounder and President of Belle Fleur Technologies drives cloud adoption and helps companies build and maintain modern infrastructures. She specializes in customer success via automation of manual tasks and empowering employees through data transformation.

What was Tia’s top Data Analytics announcement? She loved the capabilities of Amazon QuickSight Q, the most popular cloud-native serverless BI service.

Why should we get excited about the new Amazon Quicksite Q, according to Tia?

  • API capabilities were expanded allowing more programming and underlying data access to QuickSight dashboards
  • You can even migrate Amazon Alexa Audio for faster performance for your business intelligence

Here’s Tia’s full session where she also talks about the biggest challenges in Data + Analytics and thoughts on AWS moving toward a zero-ETL future.

The biggest news in AWS Serverless with James Beswick

As Senior Manager of Developer Advocacy at AWS, James was pretty much the only person to turn to recap important AWS serverless announcements. James was excited about so many Serverless announcements, it was tough to boil it down. He started with his favorite Serverless feature release, SnapStart for AWS Lambda. Be sure to catch the detailed background he provided on SnapStart for AWS Lambda including why cold starts (usually Java) happen in the ephemeral compute service and how AWS has been working for years to reduce them with Lambda SnapStart.

What’s great about the new capabilities of SnapStart for AWS Lambda, according to James?

  • AWS was able to implement a huge optimization benefit in the reduction of cold starts in Java from 10 seconds down to 1 second. Cold start reductions are completely free to implement and in most cases need no code change, just a switch-on feature.
  • The future of compute is ephemeral and this huge improvement makes AWS Lambda quicker, cheaper, more scalable and even more seamless. This is an ongoing labor of love and there are sure to be future improvements with other run times.

Here’s James’ full session where he also talks about many exciting updates in Amazon EventBridge Pipes, Distributed Map for AWS Step Functions, AWS Application Composer as a starting point for Serverless and more about cloud cost management. He also talks about how customers are currently using Serverless, how the space has evolved and gives us his forecast trends in the Serverless landscape for 2023.

Cloud Sustainability is the new FinOps with Aerin Booth

Aerin is a Cloud Sustainability advocate and previously looked after spend on the cloud at the UK Home Office. He saved over 10 million pounds for the government entity and now focuses on reducing carbon emissions in tech through his consulting agency. He had a really refreshing and passionate session in revealing his disappointments with the keynote, running a few very interesting polls and guiding us on how we can be more ethical in the cloud.

What are some key tips to be more ethical in the cloud?

  • First, know that there are upcoming reporting requirements. Companies, particularly in the EU of a certain size, must report on their Scope 3 carbon emissions starting in 2024 so this is a great time to get started implementing sustainability procedures.
  • AWS Sustainability pillar is a work in progress but a great start in helping organizations configure architecture, asses coding languages to use, determine how long to hold data for, how to hold that data, etc.
  • Sustainability should not be thought of separately aside from the rest of your organizational decision making. The Shared Responsibility Model ideally should incorporate sustainability into the other pillars in order to make ethical and wiser financial decisions rather than leave sustainability as a last resort.

Be sure to watch Aerin’s full session where he brings us loads of key facts about carbon emissions and electricity demands in tech, more tips for a sustainable business and what we can expect in 2023.

Re-Inventing Devops with Chris Williams

AWS Community Hero Chris helps Fortune 100’s at World Wide Technology reinvigorate their cloud workloads and consults on everything from cost optimization to cloud operating models and governance. Chris was super excited about a few re:Invent launches.

  • AWS Application Composer not only lets you visualize your serverless patterns, but on the DevOps side also lets you visualize your Infrastructure as Code patterns.
  • Chris’ favorite takeaway from re:Invent is the effort he sees AWS putting in, in helping customers ‘glue’ services together for ease of use. He also predicts we will be seeing more third party integrations for your infrastructure management (Terraform, GitHub)

Watch Chris’ full session to find out his thoughts on the just-released AWS CodeCatalyst, which aims to manage the entire software development cycle with minimal code, GitOps, Amazon EventBridge Pipes and why it’s probably best to lie down on your couch during this session, since he’s dubbed our (second!) Cloud Therapist of the evening.

AWS Cost Optimization from a DevOps perspective with Cristian Măgherușan-Stanciu

Cristian, previously an Amazonian supporting large customers as specialist SA for Spot and Graviton now works as a solopreneur in the cost optimization space after developing and building Autospotting, a cost optimization tool that makes it easy to adopt Spot instances in AutoScaling groups. Cristian had loads of great info and thoughts on AWS re:Invent cost savings focused releases.

  • New price-capacity-optimized allocation strategy for EC2 Spot Instances is a huge improvement according to Cristian as it allows you to go to your Autoscaling groups and configure instances in price order.
  • The maturation of Karpenter for Kubernetes which automatically launches just the right compute resources to handle cluster applications.
  • AWS new Graviton3E, new R7iz Instances for Intel, new HPC instance types and other better performance and capacity instances that allow for further diversification

Cristian had many other shout outs and thoughts on why he loved cost optimization enhancements like Amazon RDS Optimized Writes, Lambda Snapstart which accelerates your Lambda functions, thoughts on Graviton3 vs Graviton 3E, right-sizing and cost optimization and lots more. Definitely a must-watch session.

Our host Jon Myer undergoing ‘Cloudian psychology’ from Cloud Therapists Richard Simon and Chris Williams

There you have it. Our top highlights from AWS FEST re:Invent recap — once again, a huge success with over 1300 registrants, thousands of emojis sent during the event, and XBox, Oculus, Keurig and swag giveaways!

We absolutely love getting the AWS community together to share valuable, timely knowledge and are already planning our next AWS FEST on March 1st which will focus on Storage!

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