re:Invent 2022 Day 4 Recap

Day Four of the AWS reInvent 2022 had the last Keynote by CTO and VP of Amazon.com, Dr. Werner Vogels. There were four other leadership sessions presented by other VPs and CxOs from AWS and some customer success stories, but the main spotlight was on Werner's vision and announcements. In this article, we will highlight some of the key announcements from the speakers and how they might be important to Serverless Computing.

Announcements From the Keynote

AWS Step Functions Distributed Map

AWS Step Functions Distributed Map is a new feature for the already existing AWS Step Functions service. Dr. Werner mentioned that this pattern was developed by an AWS customer that wanted to do both Map and Reduce with their step functions workflows. AWS is simply offering official support for this pattern so that other customers can take advantage of it. It is simply a new flow for orchestrating large-scale parallel workloads such as on-demand processing of semi-structured data within your serverless applications.

This overlaps with other large batch-processing services such as AWS Glue and Amazon EMR, typically used by data engineers, but AWS says it is more geared towards developers who use Step Functions in their workflows.

For more information, you can read the AWS blog post announcement.

AWS Application Composer

This tool helps developers quickly move from design to code by offering a visual experience using a drag-and-drop interface to compose serverless architectures. Ultimately, it generates deployment-ready IaC definitions with complete integration configurations for the selected services.

For more information, you can read the AWS blog post announcement.

AWS EventBridge Pipes

“A new feature for the existing AWS EventBridge service that makes it easier for you to build event-driven applications by providing a simple, consistent, and cost-effective way to create point-to-point integrations between event producers and consumers, removing the need to write undifferentiated glue code.” [1]

Before this service, developers would have to write "glue code" to bridge communication between different AWS services. More code means more liability because it increases the risk of bugs and slows developer velocity.

For more information, can read the AWS blog post announcement.

AWS CodeCatalyst

This is a new: “Unified software development service that makes it faster to build and deliver software on AWS. CodeCatalyst provides software development teams with an integrated project experience that brings together the tools needed to plan, code, build, test, and deploy applications on AWS.” [2]

For more information, read the AWS blog post announcement.

AWS SimSpace Weaver

A new compute service that helps you build dynamic, large-scale spatial simulations on AWS-managed infrastructure. It can simulate large-scale crowds, recreate city-scale environments or create immersive, interactive experiences. Coupled with the vast memory and computer resources of AWS, developers will no longer be limited by on-prem resources. It's in the cloud, so you only pay for what you use.

For more information, read the AWS blog post announcement.

Noteworthy Announcements From the Leadership Sessions

AWS Wherever You Need It

This was presented by Wayne Duso: VP of Storage, Edge, and Data Protection, and Jan Hofmeyr: VP of Amazon EC2 Edge.

There were no new service announcements, but rather, news on more extensions of the AWS infrastructure with the additions of new Regions in Spain, Switzerland, and Hyderabad, increasing the total number of regions to 30.

AWS infrastructure isn't only limited to the hardware in AWS regions. It extends on-prem in the form of AWS Outpost racks and servers and also to the edge with the Snow Ball family of devices. How edgy can the edge be? Well, AWS has customers using their edge devices in 5G towers, construction sites, oil platforms, ships, airplanes, and space stations.

More AWS Local zones were also announced for Taipei, Delhi, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Muscat.

They also announced more partnerships with Telcos, such as Vodafone with AWS Wavelength and AWS Private 5G services.

You can watch the full session here.

What We Can Learn From Customers: Accelerating Innovation at AWS Security

This was presented by CJ Moses, CISO of Amazon Web Services.

A greater part of the session was a presentation on all of AWS's Security services.

He also presented six learnings from customers, as you can see in the image below.

Some notable feature announcements are:

  • Amazon Security Lake in preview. This new service automatically centralizes your organization’s security data from cloud and on-premises sources into a purpose-built data lake stored in your account. [3]
  • Automated Data Discovery for Amazon Macie. This new capability allows you to gain visibility into where your sensitive data resides on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) at a fraction of the cost of running a full data inspection across all your S3 buckets. [3]
  • AWS KMS External Key Store. This new capability allows you to store AWS KMS customer-managed keys on a hardware security module (HSM) that you operate on-premises or at any location of your choice. [3]

You can watch the full session here.

Delighting Developers: Builder Experience at AWS

This was presented by Adam Seligman: Vice President of Developer Experience, and Emily Freeman: Head of Community Engagement, both at Amazon Web Services.

Noteworthy announcements

Amazon CodeCatalyst in preview.

Amazon CodeCatalyst enables software development teams to quickly and easily plan, develop, collaborate, build, and deliver applications on AWS, reducing friction throughout the development lifecycle. [4] This was already announced by Dr. Werner, but they go a bit deeper into the service offerings.

There was also a demo by Kyle Seaman: Senior Product Manager at AWS showcasing all the suite of services in Amazon CodeCatalyst.

AWS Application Composer in preview.

AWS Application Composer helps developers simplify and accelerate architecting, configuring, and building serverless applications. You can drag, drop, and connect AWS services into an application architecture by using AWS Application Composer’s browser-based visual canvas. [2]

This was also already announced by Dr. Werner, but they did a demo showing how the template is automatically built as you drag and connect the various services in the Application Composer's canvas.

You can watch the full session here.

What Does All of This Mean for Serverless?

The two most impactful announcements from Day Four are AWS Application Composer and AWS EventBride Pipes. Because both of these services reduce the time required for developers to deliver value.

Application Composer

Application Composer does this by providing the drag-and-drop interface to compose your serverless application. It then generates a code template with all the application integrations and coding best practices for your IaC tool. There is a need for this type of tooling because one of the issues with microservices is the additional complexity required in building the integrations between the various components or domains. But for now, it is in preview, and the templates are for AWS SAM and AWS CDK.

CloudGTO

For other Serverless IaC tools like the Serverless Framework, which is more widely used by seasoned Serverless developers, there is another option from Serverless Guru called CloudGTO. Serverless Framework was the first dedicated Serverless IaC tool, and it already has a massive community with a larger ecosystem of open-source plugins. CloudGTO is currently in private beta. If you already build with Serverless Framework, you should signup for CloudGTO Beta here.

AWS Code Catalyst

I also think AWS Code Catalyst could be potentially relevant. It also makes the same promise of reducing what Werner refers to as the undifferentiated heavy lifting of application development, but in the bid to completely automate the software delivery lifecycle, a lot of investment is required by the development team to migrate from existing platforms. I am skeptical about the readiness for this service at this point, but if the promises eventually come true, it would be a game changer.

Conclusion

With asynchrony being the main theme of Werner's keynote, all the services, and features he announced are very important for Serverless. What is also interesting about the Keynote is that there was no mention of Kubernetes or containers. Werner chose to use serverless to demonstrate how it greatly facilitates the building of event-driven microservices. All of the customer success stories and architectures displayed were totally in favor of Serverless event-driven Architectures. Lastly, AWS demonstrated its support for customer-created patterns with the launch of the AWS Step Functions distributed Map.

Sources:

[1]: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-create-point-to-point-integrations-between-event-producers-and-consumers-with-amazon-eventbridge-pipes/

[2]: https://cto.ai/blog/aws-reinvent-day4-werner-vogels-keynote/

[3]: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-announcements-reinvent-2022-john-macchia/

[4]: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/announcing-amazon-codecatalyst-preview-a-unified-software-development-service/

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