AWS re:Invent recap recap

This is a quick recap of the re:Invent 2018 recap organised by AWS and the Dutch AWS User Group in Bussum on December 14. My colleague Ronald Martens and I were fortunate enough to attend the show. Steven Bryen and Martin Beeby, two AWS evangelists, showed us all the highlights of re:Invent 2018 with their never ending flow of words and unrelenting enthusiasm. Let’s highlight some of their highlights…

AWS re:Invent 2018 & AWS Summit 2019

They started showing off how awesome re:Invent was in Las Vegas by playing a video. About 52000 participants visited Las Vegas, even more people tuned in on the live-streams. For the interested: over 2000 video’s can be found on Twitch and later on YouTube. Next year we should definitely go…

First news of the day: next AWS Summit Benelux will be held at the RAI on April 17.

AWS Outposts

In my humble opinion on of the most exciting things of re:Invent this year: Outposts. The full power of AWS, but then on-premises. It’s a fully managed rack with compute and storage.

AWS Outposts enable you to develop once and deploy in the AWS cloud or on-premises without having to rewrite your applications. With Outposts, you have the same hardware and software infrastructure and a consistent set of services and tools across your AWS cloud and on-premises environments to build and run modern, cloud-native applications anywhere.

Outposts come in two versions:

  • VMware Cloud on AWS - Allows you to use the same VMware control plane and APIs you use to run your infrastructure.
  • AWS Native - Allows you to use the same exact APIs and control plane you use to run in the AWS cloud, but on-premises.

More info: AWS Outposts Overview page

AWS Marketplaces for Containers

To show that Amazon is serious about containers, they’ve announced a new Marketplace for Containers. Just as with the EC2 AMI marketplace, vendors can now offer their container solutions. Currently 160 curated and trusted containers can be found, ready to be deployed on ECS, EKS or Fargate.

More info: AWS Marketplace: AWS Marketplace for Containers

AWS Lambda Layers

To also show Amazon is (very) serious about Serverless, they’ve enhanced Lambda with Lambda Layers. With layers, you can centrally manage common components across multiple functions enabling better code reuse.

Custom Runtimes in Lambda

Another new feature: thanks to the Lambda Runtime API it is now possible to run custom runtimes in Lambda. Besides the already supported languages like python, powershell and javascript , any Linux based runtime can be added to Lambda. For example a specific version, or something completely different like PHP, Swift or even Cobol.

More info: AWS Lambda programming languages

AWS Firecracker

And yet another new cool service: Secure and fast microVMs for Serverless computing AKA Firecracker. The microVMs are designed for single functions and more isolated that containers for example. They are therefore more secure and don’t suffer for so called noisy neighbours.

It has been specifically designed for Lambda and Fargate, and runs on KVM. It is fast., robust, secure and has been serving Lambda functions for a while now. And even better: it’s now open source!

More info: Firecracker – Lightweight Virtualization for Serverless Computing | AWS News Blog

AWS BlockChain

Amazon is investing heavily in blockchain. They’ve announced two new services to aid customers in their quest for ‘distributed immutable databases’, which summarises blockchain…: Jess Sorrell on Twitter: “Easily the best talk at CRYPTO.… “

  • Amazon Managed Blockchain A fully managed service that makes it easy to create and manage scalable blockchain networks using either Hyperledger Fabric or Ethereum.

It’s distributed, private and doesn’t require ‘proof of work’ (read: no mining required). In addition, an immutable copy can be replicated into QLDB.

  • Amazon Quantum Ledger Database QLDB in short… A fully managed ledger database that provides an immutable and cryptographically verifiable transaction logs. But only for one account. Amazon uses it themselves for audits

More info: Amazon Managed Blockchain, Amazon QLDB

AWS Ground Station

Let’s say you’re building your own juicy satelite, or a nice spy-cam-satelite or if you’re really serious about bringing your own IoT device into space, AWS has got you covered. The part on earth, that is. AWS introduced a fully managed service that lets you control satellite communications, downlink and process satellite data and scale your satellite operations quickly, easily and cost-effectively without having to worry about building or managing your own ground station infrastructure. How cool is that!

More info: AWS Ground Station

And now for something completely different

A short intermezzo about how cool AWS can be for customers: Fender Play. A story about how a company started their own video platform to teach people play guitar, far far away from their comfort zone and core business. The idea behind it: if someone buys a Fender Stratocaster but doesn’t learn to play, Fender has sold only one guitar. If a person learns how to play properly, Fender estimated they can ship about eight more guitars to that person.

And here’s the rest of the cool stuff

Here are the rest of my notes… somewhat less structured than the text above, but it is well intended. 😎

Business update

  • $27 billion revenue
  • 46% growth
  • Broadest and deepest cloud for builders
  • Anyone can nowadays ‘develop’

Global Infrastructure

Amazon Backbone

An example of how AWS is innovating things which are not directly noticeable to the customers: thinner glass fibers. They can now fit a little over 6900 fiber optic cables in one big cable, which is a huge increase compared to their old cables. And in the end, these kind of inventions and savings benefit customers.

AWS global accelerator:

It’s a networking service that improves the availability and performance of the applications that you offer to your global users.

More info: AWS Global Accelerator - Amazon Web Services

AWS Transit Gateway

Networks became too complex. Now with Transit Gateway you can easily scale connectivity across thousands of Amazon VPCs, AWS Accounts and on-premises networks.

Transit Gateway


New Instances and new instance options

  • AMD instances: m5a, r5a. Slightly cheaper than their Intel counterparts
  • AWS graviton ARM processor based on nitro: A1
  • Network optimized: C5n, 100gbps
  • Elastic fabric adapter for HPC applications
  • Predictive scaling: before you’d scale down when triggered, now possible to predict downscaling
  • Hibernation for instances instead; applications pick up exactly where they left off.
  • EBS PIOPS doubles
  • Heterogeneous fleets for autoscaling groups


  • Micro Services to Service Mesh Applications needed to be self aware: keep own logging for example. AWS can help with this by leveraging App Mesh to handle stuff like monitoring/logging.
  • AWS cloud map: Similar to service mesh. Plans are to join them in the future. Provides general namespace for your environment. Keeps track of all pieces of your infrastructure. For example: Kubernetes reports to cloud map where all your resources are. Besides dns it provides api possibilities to be called upon, like “where are these particular resources?”.
  • AWS Marketplace for Containers Choose from 160 curated and trusted containers and deploy on ecs, eks, Fargate…


  • Since launch (2014) it has grown and developed massively. Visual studio has great features to code and deploy lambda direct from their IDE. But also try AWS Cloud9, which is an IDE in your browser.
  • Now also support for other popular IDEs; pycharm, IntelliJ, VS code Demo: pycharm
  • Custom runtimes in lambda Besides node/python/java/.net/Powershell/go it is now possible to bring any Linux based runtime to lambda, like php/cobol etc.
  • AWS amplify console Continuous deployment and hosting for web applications. For example for static page websites. Demo: amplify-Hugo Test engine for different devices built in.
  • Lambda Layers Centralized package store for your lambda function: Demo… Websocket support for api gateway Possible to build real-time applications now with lambda and web sockets.
  • Firecracker Secure and fast microVMs for serverless computing. Containers are cool, but share a kernel. Firecrackers are more isolated. Specific microVMs for single functions. This for security reasons and so called noisy neighbors. Demo microVM…

Storage and analytics


  • EBS performance increase, doubled PIOPS


  • Intelligent tiering Auto tiering between frequent access tier and infrequent access. Glacier retrieval rate is also quicker than before


  • EFS infrequent access tier

Data transfer services

  • AWS datasync Online transfer service
  • AWS transfer for SFTP SFTP front end in front of S3 Direct access S3 from EC2 instance Demo…

Windows usage:

Windows Usage AWS hosts the most Windows instances of all Public Cloud providers. Hence:

  • Amazon FSx for Windows File Server Fully managed windows file system built on native windows file servers.
  • Amazon FSx for Lustre High performance FS for high compute intensive workload with seamless integration with S3.
  • Managed Streaming for Kafka


  • Database freedom
  • Aurora: multi master
  • DynamoDB r/w capacity on demand Warm start , slightly more expensive.
  • DynamoDB Transactions
  • Amazon Timestream Serverless time series database.
  • Blockchain: merely another type of storing data: like a distributed database Ppl wanted a log or ledger to prove history wasn’t changed (immutable)
  • Amazon Quantum Ledger Database Immutably, cryptographically verifiable, but only for one user. Amazon uses it themselves for audits
  • Amazon Managed Blockchain
  1. Ethereum
  2. Hyperledger Fabric Distributed, private, doesn’t require proof of work (no mining).


  • More ML on AWS than anywhere else AI/ML
  • P3dn coming soon
  • Optimized tensorflow
  • Amazon Elastic Inference Add gpu to any ec2 instance
  • Inferentia custom designed chip for Machine Learning to deliver high throughput, low latency inference performance
  • Amazon Sagemaker Build, train and inference
  • Amazon Sagemaker - Ground Truth Gives the ability to get people to label images/data.
  • AWS marketplace for machine learning
  • Amazon Sagemaker RL New machine learning service
  • AWS DeepRacer
  • Amazon Personalize Real time personalization and recommendation service
  • Amazon Forecast Accurate time series forecast
  • Amazon Textract OCR service based on MI
  • Amazon Comprehend Medical Extract medical information from doctors notes


  • #1 priority
  • AWS security hub
  • AWS control tower Setup multi account environment
  • Private marketplace
  • VMware cloud on AWS
  • AWS Outposts Extension of AWS on prem in a rack Two options
  1. VMware cloud on AWS
  2. AWS native
  • AWS Well architected tool 5 pillars: white papers turned into a digital survey
  • AWS license manager


  • IoT sitewise
  • IoT graph
  • IoT events

New business initiatives


  • AWS Robomaker Test your robot before applying to a real one


  • AWS Ground Station For anyone who wants to launch a satellite, AWS provides a ground station

Lots of video on Twitch and YouTube