I arrived on day two at the AWS Summit in London to a mass of people queuing up for Registration. This was a big contrast to the day before which had a lot fewer attendees, however, was great to see so many people eager to start the day and see what AWS had to offer.
The first session of the day, as is with most events like this was the Keynote opening. As is the case with most Keynotes it was a mixture of new feature announcements, customer use cases and company update. For me, my main takeaway from Keynotes is always new feature announcements and the customer user cases, as this is an opportunity to see real-life examples of businesses putting the platform and services on show to real life use.
The first customer use case was a big company you may have heard of called Jaguar Landrover. This use case was based on IoT and the ‘always connected car’. It was really interesting to hear how such a large enterprise company was using AWS to make everyday tasks simpler, causing less stress for its users. What was even more interesting and something I have found to be a theme with most vendors this year is that it's not the specific features or services that are helping business streamline their products, its Data. The use of data and the analytics of data is changing the world as we know it.
The first new announcement came with the introduction of Enterprise Contract for AWS Marketplace which will help businesses decrease time spent negotiating contracts. Being a techie myself, this didn’t really mean much to me if I'm honest as dealing with contracts is not my remit, however, I can see the benefits of this for businesses and why AWS has introduced this.
Another common theme I took away from this event was how customers are central to the development of AWS. 90 % of AWS applications are driven by customer feedback…that is crazy! You don’t see mainstream vendors listen to their customer's feedback as much as that, and it is obviously working as AWS growth rate in the last 5 years proves. AWS platform gives customers opportunity to develop their infrastructure from the ground up. For me, the future of Infrastructure is not going to be based on Windows backbone like it has done in the past but based around services and applications hosted in the Cloud, and AWS is really at the cutting edge when it comes to Applications. As I mentioned earlier, data is key and AWS Data Analytics applications are making it simple and effective for the customer to get the best use out of their data.
After a great start to the day with the Keynote, the bar was set high. The next session was AWS Certification and Training, and my main aim with this was to get an idea around what the different tracks and certification paths are with AWS. I must say I was disappointed, as the session was basically an hour of Marketing with no real information around the technical tracks or paths we as IT professionals can take. I left the session 10 minutes earlier to make sure I got to my 3rd session in good time, and this was VMware in AWS. This was a session I have been looking forward too as I was eager to see how the integration with VMware and AWS would work with on-premise. The actual session was fairly technical and was a deep dive into the subject matter. The service is labelled as ‘Software Defined Data Centre’ (SDDC), and its VMware hypervisor hosted in AWS (as an instance) working with Amazon services such as EC2, S3, RDS, Redshift, Direct Connect and Dynamo DB.
As a product, it looks amazing and my own thoughts are it can be used in many different use cases such as for DR, or even for MSPs to host customers infrastructures on. The platform comes with a minimum of 4 ESX hosts, but these are very highly spec’d hosts. With nested hosts supported it is ideal for MSPs to host multi-tenanted solutions for their customer base, and is something I am looking forward to learning more about in the coming weeks!!
I decided to finish the day and event as I started it….with Security! My final session for the event was AWS security by design and with Security being one of my passions I was looking forward to finishing the summit with a bang! The session went through Security Design principles in AWS including applying security at all levels, protecting data (both in transit and at rest) and enabling traceability. One of the security applications being discussed that caught my eye was Amazon GuardDuty, a threat-detection service for the Cloud. Features for this service include continuously monitoring and protecting AWS accounts along with applications and services running within them, makes use of AI and Machine learning and it operates on AWS CloudTrail, VPC FlowLogs and DNS.
My main takeaways from this session, however, were two quotes which really hit home and were so simple and made so much sense:
“If it moves….log it!... If it doesn’t move, watch it ‘til it moves – then logs it!!”
“Even with a mature preventative and detective solution in place, you should consider a mitigation plan!”
With the first quote its very simple, continuous analysing and logging of our data is key to protecting it. AWS uses services including CloudTrail, AWS Config, CloudWatch Logs, VPC Flow Logs and ELB logs to name a few that provide this layer of security for its customers.
With the second quote, it wasn’t as straightforward when you thought about it as its common for a business to think that it has the best preventative measures in place to ensure their data is secure, however, what happens the day those measures become redundant? You always need a plan B or as the quote says a ‘mitigation plan’
As I mentioned in yesterdays blog post this was my first AWS Summit, however, both days have been full of learning and great content and I can honestly say I would recommend this event to anyone who wants to learn about AWS or enhance already established skills. As well as what I have discussed in these 2 posts there was so much more to the event which I didn’t experience, including the Innovation Centre, the Certification zone where you could take exams and the Ask the Architect booths.
Thanks for reading, and for more highlights take a look at my twitter @shabazdarr