AWS re:Invent 2017 Review

December 5, 2017

AWS re:Invent 2017 Review

It’s 2017! Not actually. It’s 2018, but I’m posting this a little late; we were booked solid right after re:Invent 2017 and delivering product was higher priority. Thanks for waiting! 😄

AWS released a ton of features and services, but here are a few we were most excited about:

  • Fargate. We manage ECS clusters with EC2 AutoscalingGroups, but we’d be able to take a chunk out of our deployment code if we didn’t have to. Every code reduction helps. The initial pricing was too high for our open projects, but knowing AWS that’ll change. 📉
  • PrivateLink for Customer and Partner Services. For some larger projects we’ve helped teams manage internal services and connectivity to those services across large networks and AWS account structures has been challenging (is 50 peering connections too many? What about 100?). We’re excited to see if PrivateLink can make these types of projects easier.
  • Inter-Region VPC Peering. Several of our customers are growing their products, and as they do they’re looking at multi-region deployments. Being able to peer between VPCs in different regions is a powerful tool for those cases.

Re:Invent is also a great place to get face time with our contacts in the industry, and two conversations stood out:

  • Bastion SSH hosts are going away. An old colleague of mine and I chatted about the work of maintaining secure host/user keys and patching on bastion SSH hosts (you may hear them called ‘jump hosts’) and how EC2’s RunCommand can sometimes replace bastions. RunCommand had been around for a while and was a powerful tool, but could be painful for interactive troubleshooting and similar operator tasks. Since then we’ve continued to deploy bastion hosts in some environments, but we’re looking forward to using the newer (2018) SSM Sessions Manager. That’s AWS: less than a year after our conversation they released a service that’s built to remove the problem entirely. Hopefully we can start retiring bastions!
  • There are many clouds. Our friends from nubedehelado shared work they’ve done on Google’s cloud and we’re excited to explore some of its features (like their network performance) in the future. We shared what we found on a recent project in Microsoft’s Azure: although younger and missing some of the services that AWS offers, the developer experience was crisp. It feel like an interface built on the lessons learned from earlier-to-market products.

And I got to run in re:Invent’s fun run for the second year (supporting Girls Who Code and the American Heart Association). I beat 2016’s pace! Always good to mix some exercise in with chair time.

We were too busy to attend 2018’s re:Invent, but hopefully we’ll see you there in 2019. Best,

Adam Burns

Technical Lead, Ordinary Experts