Highlights from AWS Re:Invent 2020 - Infrastructure Keynote with Peter DeSantis

Kris Kruger

AWS Infrastructure Keynote


With insights into data center redundancy, a deep dive into the new AWS Graviton 2 processor and a view into AWS’ commitment to renewable energy, the AWS re:Invent Infrastructure Keynote had it all. Delivered by Peter DeSantis, Senior Vice President of AWS Global Infrastructure and Customer Support, this keynote provided a deeper look into how AWS is leading the way with their infrastructure services.


How AWS creates redundancy in their data centers

Let’s start with what we learned about how AWS creates resiliency in their availability zones.  Most are already familiar with a typical data center electrical layout — where utility power and one or more backup generators front-ended by switching gear route into an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) with backup batteries. This supplies power to the hardware that runs the critical workloads, in order to meet customer demand. But AWS takes this a step further, reducing potential downtime in a couple of different ways.

First, AWS developed custom switching gear control system software which has been deployed into their availability zones. This software is stripped to the bare minimum of what’s needed to ensure perfection of the switching process. This also creates uniformity around their switching gear systems across all of their availability zones for ease of operation.

The second thing to note is how AWS reduces the limitations of their UPSs by adding two independent power line ups including their own generators, utilities, switches and UPSs all the way down to their racks. On top of all that, AWS also developed their own custom-made small UPSs including battery packs and power supplies, placing them directly in each rack. Similar to the switching gear software, the customized rack installed UPS allows AWS to remediate failures quickly and without customer disruption.


In-depth analysis of Graviton 2

Another incredible deep dive Peter went into was their custom-made AWS Graviton 2 processor — purpose-made for running applications at scale. Most conventional processors use simultaneous multithreading (SMT) to improve the overall efficiency of CPUs with hardware multithreading. This is incredibly useful when creating a chip that can work with traditional and modern application workloads. However, the downside is that the chip loses its efficiency in scaled environments, even when SMT is turned off.

Where Graviton 2 differs is each core is designed to deliver real-world workloads with as many fully independent cores as possible. This means there are no overlapping threads caused by SMT, no power state transition and no expected throttling — just consistent and reliable performance. The processors have large L1 cache which are twice as large as current x86 processors which again are not shared by competing threads.

Graviton 2 processors are also the most power-efficient processors AWS provides, achieving 2-3.5 times better performance per watt than any other processor in AWS’s portfolio. Combined with its impressive cost, the Graviton 2 processor is a fantastic new addition to running your applications at scale.


AWS’ commitment to renewable energy

Today, a customer moving from an enterprise data center to an AWS data center can reduce their carbon footprint by 88%. And that’s just the beginning, as AWS continues to move toward meeting The Climate Pledge of 0-net carbon production by 2040. Some key highlights include:

  • Reducing DC/AC loss by 35% by optimizing power supplies and moving UPSs into racks
  • 6,500 megawatts of renewable energy utilized across the world
  • Working on using alternative materials in construction, including CO2 injection into concrete
  • Using cooling water from us-west-2 to serve local farmers in Oregon


Delivering the future with AWS

Peter certainly had quite a few great quotes but one that stuck out to me was:

“There is no compression algorithm for experience.”
Andy Jassy

It’s important to consider experience when choosing a cloud partner. With 15 AWS competencies and over 2,700 AWS certifications, Rackspace Technology has the experience to elevate, operate and innovate your key business drivers.

Take a moment to visit the Rackspace Technology virtual booth to learn more about our new AWS solutions and enjoy an immersive interactive experience.  Or take a look at Rackspace Technology’s new Teams offering in the AWS MarketplaceRackspace Technology is proud to be an AWS launch partner, and one of the first to offer professional services on the AWS Marketplace.  


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