AWS re:Invent Recap: 10 New Service and Update Announcements You Can’t Miss!

by Hemant Javeri, Senior Manager Solution Architecture, APN Ambassador, Database Modernization Ambassador, Onica by Rackspace Technology

Several men talking with one man pointing in one direction


AWS re:Invent 2022 was jam-packed with insights from a wide range of experts to help attendees gain more value from their Amazon Web Services (AWS) investments. There were also several important announcements throughout the event about new AWS services and updates.

We’ve pulled together the 10 key announcements to help ensure you didn’t miss anything that could help your AWS cloud perform better.

1. AWS Application Composer Overcomes Design Complexity

The process of building an environment that responds well to events can be daunting. In his AWS re:Invent keynote, Dr. Werner Vogels overviewed how complex several design patterns can become.

Now AWS helps overcome the complexity with AWS Application Composer. AWS created the visual-based canvas for architecting, configuring and building serverless application stacks. In addition, existing Cloud Formation and SAM templates can be used and saved from the Application Composer. 

2. Amazon Code Catalyst Manages Event-Driven Architectures

“Event-driven architectures enable global scale,” Vogels stated. However, behind the background architecture of Amazon DynamoDB, there is a complex web of services designed for global availability. The complexity is documented in the Amazon Builders’ Library. To assist in managing the complexity in application stacks, AWS announced the launch of Amazon CodeCatalyst, a unified software development service that makes it faster to build and deliver software on AWS. 

With Amazon CodeCatalyst, teams can now automate many of the traditionally complex software design activities. Amazon CodeCatalyst can also be used to browse a collection of project blueprints and quickly initiate projects with the right combination of technologies, architectures, infrastructures and services.

3. Amazon SageMaker Supports New Capabilities

AWS announced geospatial machine learning for Amazon SageMaker, which now supports built-in visualization tools and pre-trained neural networks for common use cases. Kumar Chellapilla, General Manager of ML/AI Services at AWS, gave a compelling demonstration of how machine learning, satellite imagery and geospatial data can help forecast natural disasters and manage emergency response times to help first responders make life-saving decisions.

4. Amazon DataZone Expands Access and Permissions

Shikha Verma, Head of Product at Amazon DataZone, demonstrated how data producers and consumers — like analysts, scientists and engineers — can be managed within a unified zone to govern and share resources that are commonly difficult to share access or assign permissions.

5. AWS Announces its Own Sustainability Goals

In his keynote presentation, AWS CEO Adam Selipsky addressed sustainability, calling it “the issue of our generation.” He said that Amazon is now the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy. AWS has established a goal of powering the company with 100% renewable energy by 2025 — and it’s already 85% of the way there.

He also announced AWS’s commitment to water conservation through an initiative to become water-positive by 2030. AWS will return more water to its communities than it consumes.

6. New Zero ETL Integration Capabilities

Building extract, transform and load (ETL) pipelines is painful. It requires writing custom code, deploying it and managing the infrastructure to ensure the pipeline scales. In his keynote, Selipsky previewed a fully managed new zero ETL integration between Aurora and Redshift. This capability brings transactional data and analytics capabilities together to eliminate all the work of building and managing custom data pipelines between Amazon Aurora and Amazon Redshift.

Users can replicate data from multiple Aurora databases in the same Redshift instance. Updates are automatically and continuously propagated so users have the most recent information in near real time and on a serverless system. This integration helps solve one of the biggest ETL pain points for Onica by Rackspace Technology™ customers. It’s also great for running analysis and Redshift.

7. AWS Security Lake Provides a More Complete View of Data

AWS previewed Amazon Security Lake, which automatically centralizes security data from the cloud, on-premises and custom sources into a purpose-built data lake that is stored in your account. This will make it easier for security teams to automatically collect, combine and analyze security data at petabyte scale.

Amazon Security Lake normalizes security log and event data across a wide range of products and services. The new service reduces the time it takes to resolve security issues and simplifies security and operations teams’ workloads. As a result, it greatly improves an organization’s security posture.

8. New Amazon EC2 Instance Types — C7gn, R7iz and Hpc7g

The newest generation of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) delivers performance improvements along with greater resource efficiencies — typically at the same or lower price point as compared to previous generations. These innovations are made possible primarily by continued investment in the AWS Nitro System, now in its fifth generation. This allows AWS to redefine the boundaries of performance. In addition, AWS has released its third generation ARM64 processors, Graviton3, and a new high-performance computing-specific variant, Graviton3E.

If compatible with your workloads, the new EC2 instance types (i.e., C7gn, HPC7g), will offer up to 60% performance improvements over similar x86 options or a 25% improvement over the previous Graviton processor. These improvements leverage the ARM64 architecture, which may require some changes to software packages to be accessible.

9. Improved Performance for Amazon EBS io2 Volume Types

Beginning in 2023, AWS will offer improved performance for its Amazon EBS io2 volume types by enabling by default their Scalable Reliable Datagram (SRD) network protocol. The SRD protocol improves upon networking stalwart TCP by optimizing for multipath, high-density network architectures. SRD compatibility is delivered through two options — AWS Elastic Fabric Adapter (EFA) and Elastic Network Adapter (ENA).

AWS moved further into its networking stack with the announcement that it will bring the efficiencies of SRD to its general-purpose ENA by offering an option to enable ENA Express. ENA Express is said to be transparent to the guest virtual machine — “no refactoring” — and provides up to a 44% reduction in p99 tail latency as well as a 5x throughput increase. For now, ENA Express is only supported on the C6gn.16xl instance type. It’s likely that AWS will continue to introduce new compatible instance types in the months ahead.

10. AWS Lambda SnapStart Accelerates Lambda Functions

AWS also announced its new cold start performance optimizations in AWS Lambda SnapStart. It is available for new or existing Java-based Lambda functions running on Amazon Corretto 11. AWS Lambda cold start latency is an important design consideration when evaluating an event-driven, serverless architecture. As Peter DeSantis, Senior Vice President of AWS Utility Computing stated, “Just as things get busy, Lambda slows down.”

Based on the micro-virtual machine hypervisor Firecracker, Lambda SnapStart takes advantage of profiling capabilities to deliver smaller snapshots, which enables AWS to increase density of its underlying runtimes without sacrificing isolation boundaries or cost. Overall, the reward for refactoring is up to 90% reduction in cold start latency.

Clearly, there is no slowdown at AWS in releasing significant new services and upgrades to help keep its customers on the cloud leading edge. Onica is always right there with them — helping organizations make the most of their AWS installations — from architecting a strategy to using the new services. Our customers realize the advanced performance — quickly and cost-effectively.

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