What we learned at the AWS Summit 2018 | Reflect Digital Contact

What we learned at the AWS Summit 2018

The AWS Summit is a massive annual event which is hosted at ExCeL in London and spans two days. So, for the second year in a row, the Reflect Development team were in attendance to find out what new and exciting products and services AWS are promoting.

 

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  • 14/05/2018
  • by Mike

Keynote

As usual the day started with the Keynote from Gavin Jackson (Managing Director AWS UK & Ireland) & Dr Werner Vogels (CTO Amazon.com), along with a number of AWS customers, sharing their experiences of using different AWS services.  

It was impressive to see AWS release new technologies, and so many large well-known companies jump on board straight away. Specifically, you can see this happening with their hosting services such as ECS and serverless technologies, such as Lambda.

In line with recent growth and interest, there was a strong emphasis on the use of container technology for hosting applications. Some of the sessions focused on container scheduling using ECS, techniques to build optimised Docker images to limit file size for fast deployment into production, and how AWS have services that can automate the build and deployment of containers.
 

Highlights

Babylon health is using machine learning to provide automated healthcare; increasing accessibility and affordability of healthcare around the world. The service is available on their website using text input, but can also be accessed via via phone using speech recognition (Lex) and speech synthesis (Polly). It is currently available in 25 languages.

AWS' new database service "Aurora" can be used as a replacement for MySQL or PostgreSQL with no code modifications required; it offers high availability like no other database system has managed before. It is up to 5x faster than MySQL and 3x faster than PostgresSQL.

AWS Fargate offers a convenient way to run containers without the need to configure the server instances it will run on.  This approach means developers should spend more time improving their software and less time configuring and managing servers, clusters and infrastructure.

Sessions

Cost optimisation

Using AWS'cost usage report, it is possible to analyse where the most amount of money is being spent.  Coupling this with CloudWatch (and CloudWatch agents to monitor RAM), it is possible to determine where there is a surplus of system resources and therefore identify the potential for cost reduction.

Switching off during periods when resources are not required is an effective way to cut costs. This could be development instances out of usual working hours, or extra instances in a cluster during times when traffic is usually low. Using a lambda function is an option to achieve this and also allows start/stop on demand.

If server instances are known to be required on a long-term basis, cost benefits can be found in reserved instances; this is an agreement to pay for 1 or 3 years service.

A Guide To AWS Training and Certification Solutions

There are many different options available in terms of AWS training. From online (which happens to be entirely free!) to Virtual and classroom-based, there is a solution for most organisations. There is also the AWS certification scheme which has a number of different levels (Foundation, Associate & Professional), and different roles depending on the individual  (Solutions Architect, Devops & Developer).

Builders Lab: Docker to Amazon ECS

This was a practical demonstration on how to move a Docker container from desktop to fully set up hosted live environment. It was a essentially a quick run-through of CloudFormation config, and using ECS. There was a lot to process, but it shows that configuration can be almost completely dealt with in code, allowing deployments to be completely automated and triggered by events in code repository.

Unfortunately for the presenter, the demo gods weren't looking on him favourably as this demo didn’t end up working.

GDPR: Raising the Standards for Data protection, security and compliance

A nice mix of general information on the GDPR, with some useful information on the tools AWS have; tools that either ensure GDPR compliance by default (encrypting data at rest), or add functionality to enable compliance, whether it be user management with IAM, or threat detection with GuardDuty.

Conclusion

As per last year, the AWS Summit is a great way to keep up-to-date with the latest tools and services AWS are creating and improving.  

The sessions, whether they be technical demos, client case studies, or simply an explanation of the technology, are engaging, well put together and thoroughly worthwhile.  

Additionally, the ability to speak to AWS experts and the plethora of AWS partners, we have (once again) come away with our heads full of exciting ideas - ideas we want to turn… into amazing products for our clients.


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