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Key Takeaways and Insights from AWS re:Invent 2018


The AWS re:Invent 2018 by all measures was an event that would be remembered for years to come. If there was one event that could be hailed as being capable of altering the industry landscape, then it’s the AWS Re: Invent. However, expectations were exceeded and announcements left the competition scrambling, such was the fervour of the event.

Let us take a look at some of the key highlights from the event that will have a remarkable effect on the cloud and services industry for years to come.

A plunge into the Blockchain – Amazon Managed Blockchain and QLDB

You might or might not be giving much thought to the Blockchain services but when Amazon talks about it, heads turn. And, Amazon did a lot more than just talk about blockchains at the event. The company launched two services related to it. The first being, Amazon Managed Blockchain. The service will make it relatively easy to manage blockchain networks that are scalable using existing frameworks like Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum.

It will also help manage a scalable blockchain network with the minimum number of clicks.

The second service related to blockchain announced at the event was the Amazon QLDB. The QLDB is a fully managed ledger database boasting of a transaction log that is owned by a central trusted authority. The log is transparent, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable.

Amazon’s debut in the Opensource space – AWS Firecracker

Technology giants have always had a tumultuous relationship with the open-source community. The community has time and again voiced its displeasure quite openly about the lack of contribution to the community from tech behemoths. Many mega technology corporations rely on open-source frameworks and programs for their services and Amazon is one of them. But, that will soon be a thing of the past for Amazon.

At re:Invent 2018 Amazon took everyone by surprise when it announced its open-source debut with Firecracker.

Firecracker is a new kind of virtualisation technology that is using a Linux based KVM.

This Virtual Machine Monitor(VMM) is more than capable of handling massive workloads, including the short-lived ones. With Firecracker lightweight microVMs running in non-virtualized environments can be launched literally in milliseconds. As far as security is concerned, the service uses multiple levels of isolation and protection. The technology is already in use at high-volume AWS services which includes the likes of AWS Lambda and AWS Fargate.

With Firecracker, Amazon is finally ready to collaborate with the world.

A full-fledged hybrid solution – AWS Outposts

It is no news that Amazon has always positioned itself as a cloud-first company. However, in re:Invent 2018 we saw Amazon embracing the hybrid cloud solution with AWS Outposts.

AWS Outposts gets rid of all the problems that traditional hybrid solutions are known to present. It accomplishes this by employing a strategy the enables the uses of the same services that are used in AWS, thus providing a seamless hybrid experience. The service will be available in two variants:

  1. VM Ware Cloud running on AWS services on AWS Outposts
  2. On-premise solutions running native AWS APIs to help with low latency requirements and other local data processing needs.

Amazon entering the silicon race – AWS Graviton and AWS Inferentia

It seems like Amazon doesn’t want to leave any piece of the puzzle for other partners to solve. In re:Invent 2018 we saw two such instances. The first being Graviton processors.

These are ARM-based processors are custom designed by Amazon to deliver power, cost, and performance optimisations.

The other announcement was AWS Inferentia. Inferentia is a machine learning inference chip that is designed with the sole purpose of delivering low-latency, high-throughput and steady performance in machine learning operations. The machine learning chip will have support for TensorFlow, Apache MXNet, and PyTorch deep learning frameworks. It will also be supporting the models using the ONNX format.

The AWS Inferentia is capable of hundreds of TOPS (tera operations per second) of inference throughput that makes it possible for complex models to make predictions at a faster rate. If the customer wants to extract more performance, then he will have to implement multiple AWS Inferentia chips.

Time series database for IoT needs – AWS Timestream

The AWS Re: Invent also saw the launch of Amazon Timestream, a fully managed database that removes the complexity from storing and analysing up to a trillion events every day. The already existing solutions are not easy to maintain and also have issues with scaling. And, this is precisely what AWS aims to solve with Timestream.

Timestream also makes the process of storing and analysing sensor data for IoT applications relatively easy. It also brings data management cost drastically down while being extremely scalable. It’s scalability is the  result of automatic up or down scaling which depends upon the capacity and performance.

Control satellites with Amazon – AWS Ground Station

If there is a problem, you can bet your money that Amazon will try being the first to the market with a solution. And, if the problem is an unconventional one, then all the more reason for Amazon to dive headfirst into the issue. With AWS Ground Station Amazon wants to provide organisations with the ability to process the satellite data effectively and also wants to enable them to scale their satellite related operations without having to worry about setting up expensive ground stations. The AWS Ground Station will make it possible for its clients to process and ingest satellite data at much faster speeds. Amazon claims that the clients will be able to save up to 80% of their ground station costs by using AWS Ground Station service.

AWS re:Invent 2018 was spectacular and filled with cutting edge technology. The event as mentioned earlier will be remembered for years to come as it brought to us announcements that weren’t expected by the cloud and services community. re:Invent 2018 gives the industry a lot to ponder and tinkerers and builders a lot to toy with.

If you are looking for AWS cloud solutions and services then get in touch with us. We’ll help your business move to the cloud to help your business increase efficiency and reduce costs.


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