The cloud is going everywhere, and the next frontier is space.Werner Vogels, CTO Amazon.com
Last month, we launched the countdown to the AWS flagship event of the year – the 10th edition of AWS re:Invent 2021! With its 2020 edition being cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions, all eyes in the first week of December were thus set on what is to come now.
Indeed, the agenda of AWS re:Invent 2021 could have held your breath up until the very end. It ensured a week full of leading keynote speakers, working labs, a global partners summit, exciting awards, fantastic networking opportunities and more…We can’t overlook the ending, either.
Taking place in Las Vegas, the event started with an increased interest in the AWS CEO’s “passing of the baton”. The new AWS CEO Adam Selipsky delivered his opening keynote, sharing insights about major AWS customers, services and products. Although sometimes labelled as incremental rather than innovative, the new CEO’s speech was applauded by everyone. Apropos, it may still be seen attracting due amount of interest here.
The final keynote by Amazon CTO Dr Werner Vogels made the event worth attending in its own right. His closing address “Thank you, and now go build” was immediately taken up by bloggers to circulate around as one of the event catchphrases. The wordplay with his initiative Now Go Build managed to unleash the spirit for the long-awaited closing party!
So, what was there in between? Keep on reading to get a feel of this amazing wave of excitement.
What did the AWS CTO emphasize at re:Invent 2021?
Photo credit: AWS
Without further ado, let’s recap Dr Vogels’ key points from his closing keynote. Here they go:
- The AWS Well-Architected Framework has launched a new Sustainability Pillar that helps organizations streamline environmental practices for cloud computing in the management of their workloads. The new tool not only helps customers adjust their policies for lower energy consumption and better efficiency but also allows them to monitor sustainability progress.
- A brand-new managed WAN service has also been released – AWS Cloud WAN. The new service will offer a quality new experience in building and managing a global network for on-premise and cloud environments. We expect that it will bring a set of advantages such as seamlessness, better speed, simplicity and more.
- A new partner model was announced to begin from 28 January 2022 onwards, i.e. AWS Partner Paths. It has been designed to replace the existing technology and consulting partner model with a new offering type of model. The purpose of the new partner model will be to significantly facilitate the engagement between AWS and its partners. Presently, it envisages five Partner Paths—Software Path, Hardware Path, Training Path, Distribution Path, and Services Path, standing for consulting, professional, managed, and value-add resale services, respectively.
Some of these announcements have been so new that they still miss their dedicated presentation on the AWS platform. Yet, you can browse additional information in their official press releases, which have been enclosed as links above when the case.
What did AWS machine-learning news bring about?
No wonder the advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have always made the front page. In AWS re:Invent 2021, however, this looks even more so both due to the number of new initiatives and their extended outreach. Let’s see what this involves!
The new Amazon SageMaker Studio Lab
On 1 December 2021, AWS released the preview of its new Amazon SageMaker Studio Lab. The new service has been planned to be free of charge and open to all developers, academics and data scientists who can now do their research and experiments with machine learning.
In brief, the new Amazon SageMaker Studio Lab will offer a no-configuration service that does not require the set-up and configuration of any infrastructure. Its customers will not even need an AWS account, as they will be enabled to register via e-mail. It is going to be based on the open-source JupiterLab web application, through which users will be enabled to work with any platform. Another exciting feature of the new studio is its integration with systems such as GitHub.
Read more here.
Further SageMaker developments
Although SageMaker Studio Lab was one of the breaking ML news at AWS re:Invent 2021, it was far from the only one which caught our attention. Some of the other interesting novelties related to the advancement of the whole Amazon SageMaker portfolio of products included:
- Releasing SageMaker Canvas – a visual for business analysts enabling the generation of ML analysis, models and predictions by a visual point-and-click interface. The service poses no requirements for ML experience or coding skills, thus enabling business experts to fully enjoy the experience;
- Launching Amazon SageMaker Inference Recommender – a new service that supports ML operation engineers to pick up the best ML instance for their ML model. It does so by automating load testing and optimizing performance across ML instances, which leads to a significant time reduction and related cost optimization;
- Introducing SageMaker Training Compiler – a new capability of Amazon Sagemaker that converts the high-level language representation of deep learning (DL) models to hardware-optimized instructions. Thus, it automatically optimizes the training of DL models by 50% by improving the efficiency of GPU instance usage;
- Presenting SageMaker Ground Truth Plus – a new turn-key service that facilitates the labelling of high-quality datasets based on input requirements. The sourcing of sufficient high-quality labelled data is one of the key challenges in ML model creation due to the time and resources it requires;
- Announcing Amazon DevOps Guru for RDS – a new ML-empowered functionality for developers enabling easy identification and resolution of performance issues with Amazon Aurora databases, used by millions of users.
Sounds like really a lot, doesn’t it! Still, this is only a selection of the re:Invent 2021 ML announcements. To get the complete picture of the whole newscast, see further here.
What did other key AWS re:Invent 2021 highlights reveal?
Web Capture: AWS re: Invent
AWS re:Invent 2021 was a true anniversary event marking both its 10th year of conduction and the 15th year of AWS establishment. And indeed, as Dr Vogels noted, just in the same way as the creation of AWS unleashed a wave of innovation back then years ago, it still continues to push the technological boundaries of possibility nowadays.
With this in mind, this is what we have picked up as top AWS re:Invent 2021 highlights in support of the latter:
- Releasing the preview of the new AWS Private 5G – the new service facilitates customers in building private 5G mobile networks by only specifying their desired network location and capacity. AWS undertakes to take care of all relevant infrastructure delivery, whereas the new service itself enables relevant configuration and deployment. It will be offered via an affordable on-demand pricing model.
- Launching a series of improvements in the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) portfolio of storage services with some of the most important ones featuring:
- releasing the preview of AWS Backup for Amazon S3 enabling the central management of application backups;
- introducing the simplification of access management for data stored in Amazon S3 by a set of new and extended options;
- presenting a new storage class for rarely accessed data by Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval, thus assuring the lowest cost. If you need to learn more about Amazon S3 in general, please browse our article AWS Basics: How to Choose among AWS S3 vs AWS EBS vs AWS EFS Cloud Solutions.
- Relaunching Amazon Inspector – a complete rework of the former service was introduced, empowering organisations with enhanced capacity to meet compliance and security considerations stemming from modern requirements. One of the newest capabilities of the tool is enabling the automatic assessment of workloads to identify security posture.
- Modernizing analytics with a series of improvements such as:
- releasing the preview of Amazon Redshift Serverless – a serverless option of Amazon Redshift which enables analytics without the need of setting up and maintaining data warehouse infrastructure. Here, data queries may be performed by almost any role in the organisation.
- Launching Kinesis Data Streams – a serverless service for streaming data on-demand, which may be applied for the processing and storing of data streams at any scale.
- Extending the functionalities of AWS Lake Formation to further facilitate data loading, storage optimization and access management of a data lake. If you have been wondering what an AWS data lake is, see our dedicated article here.
- Proposing a major cost reduction for Amazon DynamoDB via a new access standard – DynamoDB Standard-IA. This new idea ensures equal performance, durability and standard for only 60% of the cost.
- Presenting the latest generation Graviton3 Processors with a preview of the Amazon EC2 C7g instances to provide the best performance of compute-intensive workloads in Amazon EC2. The new instances appear a perfect decision for ML, gaming, video encoding, etc. Due to this innovation, costs may be reduced by 25% in comparison to AWS Graviton2-based C6g instances. Watch this intro video to find out more.
Should you be interested in a specific development, do drop us a line! We will be happy to explore a topic of your choice in further detail.
Some current initiatives to enjoy or keep an eye on
One of the greatest benefits of this year’s AWS re:Invent 2021 is its multiplying impact reaching out beyond the event itself. It may be seen, for example, in its currently running initiatives.
Wondering whether you can still take part? Let’s see what, where and how!
AWS Disaster Response Hackathon
The AWS Disaster Response Hackathon is a global online ML competition announced at AWS re:Invent 2021 and running until 7 Feb 2022 with $54,000 in prizes. As its name suggests, it is aimed at developers interested in leveraging the power of the latest technologies in the fight against natural disasters. It is part of the strategic Amazon’s efforts to support disaster relief and response actions of organisations fighting natural disasters.
At a glance, the hackathon invites potential applicants to employ the Amazon SageMaker Studio Lab to come up with a machine learning project that improves disaster response. It sets certain requirements for potential issues to be solved and for the final application pack to be submitted. You can find further guidance for participation and a direct registration link at the event’s webpage.
How to re: Invent
You can “re-invent” it all on the re:Invent 2021 website itself! There you will find a lot of virtual resources with both free and on-demand access. You can still watch keynotes and leadership sessions or you can take a sneak peek of the “How to re: Invent” series, for which you need no further registration.
Finally, if you would like to explore AWS re:Invent 2021 in a new way, you may fancy trying The Official AWS Podcast.
AWS re:Invent 2021 was more than an exciting event. On the one hand, it marked the 10-year-anniversary of the initiative. On the other, it awed us with the AWS leadership by example over its 15 years of existence. Best of all, it managed to equip us all with a new set of innovative technologies, which will hopefully foster a new boost of global invention and creativity.
It was definitely worth the wait! For a regular update on the most topical AWS announcements monthly, please follow our series AWS & DevOps Recap.