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AWS re:Invent Hot Takes

75 minute read |An icon depicting a retail tag with a heart for 'favourite'AWSAWS re:InventCloud

Every year AWS launches a lot of features in the four weeks leading up to AWS re:Invent and then even more during the show. This post tracks those announcements and calls out the ones that I think are notable.

Of course, depending on what you’re building and what services you use, something I think isn’t that big a deal might be key to saving you a ton of time.

The list is setup with the most recent announcements at the top. I’ve also created a quick “index” to help you find the announcements where I’ve provided an opinion.

Did I discount something you love? Have I overrated something useless? Let me know on Twitter where I’m @marknca.

re:Invent week three

13-Dec—19-Dec

re:Invent week two

06-Dec—12-Dec

re:Invent week one

29-Nov—05-Dec

One week out

22-Nov—28-Nov

Two weeks out

15-Nov—21-Nov

Three weeks out

08-Nov—14-Nov

Four weeks out

01-Nov—07-Nov

❄️❄️ Show all "not hot" announcements.

re:Invent week three

13-Dec—19-Dec

Introducing Distributed Load Testing v1.2

Announced 18, Dec 2020 at 18:40

Join Zoom meetings with Alexa on Echo Show 8

Announced 18, Dec 2020 at 17:01

Announcing Amazon Route 53 support for DNSSEC

Announced 17, Dec 2020 at 21:36

EC2 Image Builder now supports container images

Announced 17, Dec 2020 at 19:54

Three new digital courses for AWS Partners

Announced 17, Dec 2020 at 00:22

AWS announces Amazon Location Service (Preview)

Announced 16, Dec 2020 at 16:50

Amazon Location Service is a fully managed service that helps developers easily add location data to their applications without sacrificing data security and user privacy. The service is now in preview. With Amazon Location, you can build a wide range of location-enabled applications for use cases such as asset tracking, geomarketing, and delivery management. 

A fully managed location and map service, this should be a huge boost to developers tired of dealing with Google Maps

APIs now available for the AWS Well-Architected Tool

Announced 16, Dec 2020 at 16:14

The AWS Well-Architected Tool now offers APIs that allow customers and APN partners to extend AWS Well-Architected functionality, best practices, measurements, and learnings into their existing architecture governance processes, applications, and workflows.  

I've always been a bit mixed on the AWS Well-Architected Tool (while being 100% in on the Framework). These APIs allow for data input and export. That'll open up a whole world of possibilities to provide objective data into the tool vs. its subjective Q&A style right now

Introducing AWS IoT EduKit

Announced 15, Dec 2020 at 18:19

AWS introduces AWS IoT EduKit, an easy way to learn to build IoT applications using AWS services through a prescriptive learning program. AWS IoT EduKit helps developers – from students to experienced engineers and professionals – receive hands-on experience building end-to-end IoT applications by combining a reference hardware kit with a set of easy to follow guides and example code. To learn more, please visit AWS IoT EduKit.

IoT is a challenging subject for a lot of teams to wrap their head around. At a high level, it's very straight forward. The challenge is in shifting architecture decisions and code optimizations to support an IoT model. This reference kit and educational program reduces the barrier to entry. A big win for learning IoT solutions!

Introducing AWS IoT SiteWise plugin for Grafana

Announced 15, Dec 2020 at 18:19

Announcing FreeRTOS Long Term Support

Announced 15, Dec 2020 at 18:19

AWS announces Amazon Managed Service for Prometheus for container monitoring

Announced 15, Dec 2020 at 18:19

Amazon Managed Service for Prometheus (AMP) is a new, fully managed Prometheus-compatible monitoring service that makes it easy to monitor containerized applications at scale. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s Prometheus project is a popular open source and alerting monitoring solution optimized for container environments.  

If you've got a large container deployment, this is the tool you want in place to help monitor and observe what's going on with it. AWS' approach with the open source community here is also of note. They've engaged deeply and this should only improve the project while helping customers see it's benefits without a huge effort

Introducing AWS Systems Manager Change Manager

Announced 15, Dec 2020 at 16:45

Introducing AWS Systems Manager Fleet Manager

Announced 15, Dec 2020 at 16:45

Introducing AWS CloudShell

Announced 15, Dec 2020 at 16:45

AWS CloudShell is a browser-based shell available from the AWS Management Console. Once logged into the Management Console, starting a CloudShell session gives customers immediate access to a Amazon Linux 2 environment with the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) pre-installed and pre-authenticated using the same credentials used to login to the console. CloudShell makes it easy to securely manage, interact with, and explore your resources from the command line. Common tools and AWS CLIs are pre-installed and you can install other tools as needed by using the provided root access. Bash, zsh, and PowerShell are all included so you can choose your favorite shell.

Late to the party (and not fashionably), this is a much needed feature that will make every builder's life a little bit easier daily

Introducing AWS Systems Manager Application Manager

Announced 15, Dec 2020 at 16:45

Announcing Unified Search in the AWS Management Console

Announced 14, Dec 2020 at 18:30

We are excited to announce the launch of Unified Search to enable AWS users to easily search and discover information in the AWS Management Console. AWS users can now search for services (e.g. IAM), features (e.g. Users), Marketplace products (e.g. Splunk), and AWS Documentation (e.g. troubleshooting guides) without leaving the AWS Management Console. You can access the search bar using a keyboard shortcut (alt-s or option-s), autocomplete by using the right arrow key, and navigate to the top search result by pressing the enter key. Unified Search is available in all public AWS Regions.

A lot of people spend a lot of time in the AWS Management Console. This added functionality makes that a much smoother experience. Especially for new users looking to explore the AWS Cloud

❄️❄️ Show all "not hot" announcements.

re:Invent week two

06-Dec—12-Dec

Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL Integrates with AWS Lambda

Announced 11, Dec 2020 at 23:44

Amazon Aurora with PostgreSQL compatibility can now make calls to AWS Lambda functions. AWS Lambda lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, and without worrying about scalability.

Getting logic out of the database is a good thing. Making sure it doesn't end up in a container or instance somwhere is even better

AWS IDE Toolkit now available for AWS Cloud9

Announced 11, Dec 2020 at 22:31

Amazon Lumberyard Beta 1.27 Now Available

Announced 11, Dec 2020 at 18:39

Amazon QuickSight now supports Amazon Elasticsearch Service, and adds new box plot and filled map visuals

Announced 10, Dec 2020 at 22:42

Amazon QuickSight dashboards can now visualize data from Amazon Elasticsearch Service. Amazon Elasticsearch Service is a fully managed service that makes it easy for you to deploy, secure, and run Elasticsearch cost effectively at scale. Authors in QuickSight can select Amazon Elasticsearch Service as a data source, select the specific data domain to analyze and start visualizing in QuickSight. See here to learn more.

The more data sources and visualization options added the better. Of course, that creates a growing challenge of explaining which visualizations to use for what type of data. Thankfully, it's only a single click to switch

Amazon Kendra adds support for custom synonyms

Announced 10, Dec 2020 at 16:54

Introducing AWS Transit Gateway Connect to simplify SD-WAN branch connectivity

Announced 10, Dec 2020 at 16:23

Today AWS announced the availability of AWS Transit Gateway Connect, a new feature of the AWS Transit Gateway that simplifies branch connectivity through native integration of Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) appliances into AWS.

AWS has a specific view of networking. And while that view enables flexible architectures, it hasn't always aligned with more traditional networks. This new functionality makes it a lot easier to integrate with existing network structures. It's a big win for larger organizations

AWS customers can now use industry standard Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) to easily deploy, manage and scale their multicast applications in AWS cloud

Announced 10, Dec 2020 at 16:23

Starting today, AWS Transit Gateway supports Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) for simplified deployment and management of multicast applications. IP multicast on AWS Transit Gateway delivers a single stream of data to many users simultaneously. IGMP, an open standard, enables dynamic establishment of multicast group memberships allowing large groups of end users to access multicast data on demand.

If you're doing multicast, this is a great new feature that you'll find immediately useful. If you're not, anytime AWS implements a widely accepted standard, we all win

Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) announces Reachability Analyzer to simplify connectivity testing and troubleshooting

Announced 10, Dec 2020 at 16:23

VPC Reachability Analyzer is a new feature that enables you to perform connectivity testing between resources in your virtual private clouds (VPC). With Reachability Analyzer, you can quickly troubleshoot connectivity issues caused by misconfiguration, and proactively verify that your configuration matches your network connectivity intent.

You can finally quickly and easily figure out what's going on in your VPC when it comes to connectivity. This is a ver simple concept, well executed that is a going to save a ton of time. Very lost cost ($0.10/session), this solves a very real problem for a lot of teams

Amazon Redshift introduces data sharing (preview)

Announced 09, Dec 2020 at 16:26

AWS Global Accelerator launches custom routing

Announced 09, Dec 2020 at 16:26

Amazon Braket now supports PennyLane

Announced 08, Dec 2020 at 23:38

Amazon Braket now supports PennyLane, an open source software framework for hybrid quantum computing. Pennylane provides interfaces to common machine learning libraries, including PyTorch and TensorFlow, so you can train quantum circuits in the same way you would train a neural network. The integration with Amazon Braket allows you to test and fine-tune algorithms faster and at a larger scale on scalable and fully managed simulators and run them on your choice of quantum computing hardware.

While the title is extremely confusing, it basically states that AWS' quantum computing effort now supports a popular open source project in this space. Helpful if you want portability and replicability in your quantum projects

Detect bias in ML models and explain model behavior with Amazon SageMaker Clarify

Announced 08, Dec 2020 at 18:51

Today we are introducing Amazon SageMaker Clarify to help machine learning developers achieve greater visibility into their training data and models so they can identify and limit bias and explain predictions.

This is potentially the biggest service launch from AWS in year. Machine learning models are only as good as the data they are trained with and we know that there are a lot, and I mean a lot of problems with existing data sets and projects. This services aims to highlight these biases before you train your model with biased data so you can eliminate bias in your model's predictions. Game changer.

Introducing Amazon SageMaker Data Wrangler – The fastest and easiest way to prepare data for machine learning

Announced 08, Dec 2020 at 18:06

Amazon SageMaker Data Wrangler reduces the time it takes to aggregate and prepare data for machine learning (ML) from weeks to minutes. With Amazon SageMaker Data Wrangler, you can simplify the process of data preparation and feature engineering, and complete each step of the data preparation workflow, including data selection, cleansing, exploration, and visualization from a single visual interface. 

An absurd amount of time is spend cleaning up data so you can use it to train machine learning models. Amazon SageMaker Data Wrangler aims to automate a lot of this grudge work which will be a massive time saver for any team doing machine learning.

Introducing Amazon SageMaker Pipelines, first purpose built CI/CD service for machine learning

Announced 08, Dec 2020 at 18:06

We’re excited to announce Amazon SageMaker Pipelines, a new capability of Amazon SageMaker to build, manage, automate, and scale end to end machine learning workflows. SageMaker Pipelines brings automation and orchestration to ML workflows, enabling you to accelerate machine learning projects and scale up to thousands of models in production.

This should make the entire workflow around data pre-processing, model training, deployment easier and actuall allow teams to iterate on it regularly. This is a nice addition that should've been there from the start

Amazon Kendra adds Google Drive connector

Announced 08, Dec 2020 at 18:06

AWS announces AWS Audit Manager

Announced 08, Dec 2020 at 18:06

AWS Audit Manager is a new service that helps you continuously audit your AWS usage to simplify how you assess risk and compliance with regulations and industry standards. Audit Manager automates evidence collection to make it easier to assess whether your policies, procedures, and activities, also known as controls, are operating effectively. When it is time for an audit, AWS Audit Manager helps you manage stakeholder reviews of your controls and enables you to build audit-ready reports with much less manual effort and in less time.

Audits are boring but critical. If you gather audit evidence, "I need to do X. I did and here's the proof.", continuously you can save your team a huge amount of time. I've been advocating for this type of approach since AWS Config launched in 2014. This new service provides a number of existing AWS building blocks glued together to make audits a lot easier to respond to. A massive win for compliance.

Amazon Kendra launches incremental learning

Announced 08, Dec 2020 at 18:06

Amazon Kendra launches connector library

Announced 08, Dec 2020 at 18:06

AWS announces Amazon Redshift ML (preview)

Announced 08, Dec 2020 at 18:06

Announcing Amazon Lookout for Metrics

Announced 08, Dec 2020 at 18:06

❄️❄️ Show all "not hot" announcements.

re:Invent week one

29-Nov—05-Dec

Amazon EBS io2 volumes now support SAP workloads

Announced 04, Dec 2020 at 21:38

Announcing table charts for AWS IoT SiteWise

Announced 04, Dec 2020 at 19:47

Introducing Amazon RDS Service Delivery Partners

Announced 03, Dec 2020 at 17:47

Introducing AWS SaaS Factory Insights Hub

Announced 03, Dec 2020 at 17:47

Introducing AWS SaaS Boost

Announced 03, Dec 2020 at 17:45

AWS Managed Services (AMS) supports AWS Outposts

Announced 02, Dec 2020 at 20:16

AWS Amplify announces new Admin UI

Announced 02, Dec 2020 at 00:17

AWS announces AQUA for Amazon Redshift (preview)

Announced 01, Dec 2020 at 19:07

Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer announces Security Detectors to help improve code security

Announced 01, Dec 2020 at 19:07

Today, we are excited to announce additional capabilities with Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer to help you find and remediate security issues in your code before you deploy. CodeGuru Reviewer Security Detectors helps identify security risks from the top ten Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) categories (OWASP is a standard awareness document for developers and web application security), security best practices for AWS APIs, and common Java crypto libraries.

Adding detections related to the OWASP Top 10 is a great move in CodeGuru. While this is a nice improvement, there are two big challenges remaining;

  1. The pricing structure of CodeGuru
  2. The reality that a lot of security problems require more context

Still, this is a great first step and there's a lot more potential in Amazon CodeGuru for security detections.

AWS announces Amazon DevOps Guru in Preview, an ML-powered cloud operations service to improve application availability for AWS workloads

Announced 01, Dec 2020 at 19:07

Amazon DevOps Guru is a new machine learning (ML) powered service that gives you a simpler way to measure and improve an application’s operational performance and availability and reduce expensive downtime – no machine learning expertise required. 

This service automatically looks for predictors of operational issues before they happen. Amazon DevOps Guru will reduce the overall risk of your deployment and help reduce your operational burden.

Introducing Amazon QuickSight Q: ask questions about your data and get answers in seconds

Announced 01, Dec 2020 at 19:07

Today, we are excited to announce a new capability in Amazon QuickSight called Amazon QuickSight Q. Q is a machine learning-powered natural language capability that empowers business users to ask questions about all of their data using everyday business language and get answers in seconds. For example, users simply type “what is our year-over-year growth rate” and get an instant answer in QuickSight as a visualization.  

Moving QuickSight more in the business intelligence space, Q allows you to ask questions via natural language and get real, actionable answers.

Announcing AWS Glue Elastic Views Preview

Announced 01, Dec 2020 at 19:07

Now in preview, AWS Glue Elastic Views is a new capability of AWS Glue that makes it easy to build materialized views that combine and replicate data across multiple data stores without you having to write custom code. With AWS Glue Elastic Views, you can use familiar Structured Query Language (SQL) to quickly create a virtual table—a materialized view—from multiple different source data stores. AWS Glue Elastic Views copies data from each source data store and creates a replica in a target data store. AWS Glue Elastic Views continuously monitors for changes to data in your source data stores, and provides updates to the materialized views in your target data stores automatically, ensuring data accessed through the materialized view is always up-to-date.

Moving data between various AWS data services is a pain. AWS Glue Elastic Views is not only a mouthful but also a fantastic way to address this problem. "Materialized views" can be created and referenced from other sources in order to reduce the friction of working with a specific data set in a multitude of AWS data services.

AWS Lambda now supports container images as a packaging format

Announced 01, Dec 2020 at 17:10

You can now package and deploy AWS Lambda functions as a container image of up to 10 GB. This makes it easy to build Lambda based applications using familiar container tooling, workflows, and dependencies. Just like functions packaged as ZIP archives, functions deployed as container images will benefit from AWS Lambda’s operational simplicity, automatic scaling with sub-second startup times, high availability, and native integrations with 140 AWS services. Customers can start building functions as container images by using either a set of AWS base images for Lambda, or by using one of their preferred community or enterprise images.

Sometimes blurring a line is a good thing. AWS Lambda can now take a container image as the function source. This makes it a lot easier to streamline your development workflow. The hard part now is deciding if the computation should happen in FarGate or AWS Lambda.

Introducing the Next version of Amazon Aurora Serverless in Preview

Announced 01, Dec 2020 at 17:10

Aurora Serverless v2 scales to hundreds of thousands of transactions in a fraction of a second, delivering up to 90% cost savings compared to provisioning for peak capacity.  

Aurora "serverless" has always been a bit of a kludge. This new version smooths out a lot of the rough edges. Smoothing out that scaling curve and increasing the overall responsiveness makes this act closer to what you'd expect from a truly serverless solution.

Amazon Web Services Announces AWS Proton

Announced 01, Dec 2020 at 17:10

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) company, launched AWS Proton, the first fully managed deployment service for container and serverless applications. Platform teams can use Proton to connect and coordinate all the different tools needed for infrastructure provisioning, code deployments, monitoring, and updates. 

Essentially a CI/CD pipeline for container and serverless-based apps and microservices. This grealy simplifies a huge problem to teams. This is a major win for builders.

Read more about it in the AWS launch blog, "Preview: AWS Proton – Automated Management for Container and Serverless Deployments."

AWS quadruples per-volume maximum capacity and performance on io2 volumes (in preview)

Announced 01, Dec 2020 at 17:10

Today AWS announced availability, in preview, of io2 Block Express volumes that are designed to deliver up to 4x higher throughput, IOPS, and capacity than io2 volumes, while also delivering sub-millisecond latency and 99.999% durability. io2 Block express refers to io2 volumes running on EBS Block Express architecture. EBS Block Express is the next generation of Amazon EBS storage server architecture purpose-built to deliver the highest levels of performance with sub-millisecond latency. Designed to provide up to 4,000 MB/s throughput , 256,000 IOPS, 64 TiB storage capacity, and 1,000 IOPS/GB per volume, io2 Block Express offers the highest performance block storage in the cloud. This makes io2 Block Express ideal for your largest, most I/O intensive, mission critical deployments of Oracle, SAP HANA, Microsoft SQL Server, and SAS Analytics.  

More capacity with faster access times. Simple. Awesome.

Announcing new AWS Wavelength Zone in Las Vegas

Announced 01, Dec 2020 at 15:55

Announcing Amazon EC2 Mac instances for macOS

Announced 01, Dec 2020 at 04:27

Starting today, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Mac instances for macOS are generally available. Built on Apple Mac mini computers, EC2 Mac instances enable customers to run on-demand macOS workloads in the AWS cloud for the first time, extending the flexibility, scalability, and cost benefits of AWS to all Apple developers. With EC2 Mac instances, developers creating apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Safari can now provision and access macOS environments within minutes, dynamically scale capacity as needed, and benefit from AWS’s pay-as-you-go pricing.

Teams building for Apple operating systems face a real problem getting enough hardware for testing and development. Apple products aren't cheap and due to their design & licensing restrictions, they haven't really been offered at scale before...and they still aren't but it's better now with this offer.

Using the EC2 Nitro system, AWS now offers a new dedicate host using Mac mini's in the backend. Dedicate hosts means it's going to be expense due to the 1:1 tenant ratio but it should still be at least as cost effective as doing it yourself and definitely way more manageable.

❄️❄️ Show all "not hot" announcements.

One week out

22-Nov—28-Nov

Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer announces CodeQuality Detector to help manage technical debt and codebase maintainability

Announced 27, Nov 2020 at 23:05

Today, we are excited to announce additional capabilities with Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer. You can now use CodeQuality Detector to identify smells early, balance between speed and technical debt, and coordinate software development and maintenance efficiently.  

Technical debt is one of the top blockers for anything that you're trying to achieve. Amazon CodeGuru is getting better and better with every new feature. This one is designed to find poor quality code. Identifying that low quality code early is a huge time saver and will deliver better overall outcomes to any project.

The Amazon Chime SDK now supports messaging

Announced 27, Nov 2020 at 22:57

Porting Assistant for .NET adds support for .NET 5

Announced 27, Nov 2020 at 18:38

AWS Batch now has integrated Amazon Linux 2 support

Announced 27, Nov 2020 at 18:27

Amazon Neptune releases graph notebook as an open-source project

Announced 26, Nov 2020 at 01:43

AWS has open-sourced Amazon Neptune’s Jupyter Notebook components for querying and visualizing graphs as a Python package under the Apache 2.0 license. The graph notebook is a Python library for Jupyter Notebooks that can run on local desktops and be used with databases that support either the RDF/SPARQL open standard or the open-source Apache TinkerPop graphs. You can use graph notebook to visualize nodes, edges, and properties along your graph to analyze relationships and graph patterns in your data.

This one has some potential. Amazon Neptune is currently hobbled by it's RDS-style approach. You need to fire up an instance and pay for that instance 24/7 if you want the DB to be continuously availabe. A serverless approach for Neptune would be huge.

Assuming that happens (fingers crossed), have the Juptyer Notebook components open source opens up a world of possibilities. Juptyer Notebooks are extremely useful tools for data science workflows, removing any locks to a specific service could make it lot easier to work on graph data.

Managed Backup Retention for AWS CloudHSM

Announced 25, Nov 2020 at 18:03

AWS Single Sign-On enables attribute-based access control for workforce users to simplify permissions in AWS

Announced 25, Nov 2020 at 00:34

AWS Single Sign-On (SSO) now enables you to create fine-grained permissions for your workforce in AWS using attributes, such as cost center and department, defined in your AWS SSO identity source. Your administrators can now implement attribute-based access control (ABAC) with AWS SSO to centrally manage access to your AWS accounts and simplify permissions management at scale.

Announcing Modules for AWS CloudFormation

Announced 25, Nov 2020 at 00:27

Amazon ECS adds support for P4d instance types

Announced 24, Nov 2020 at 23:20

AWS Step Functions now supports Synchronous Express Workflows

Announced 24, Nov 2020 at 22:51

AWS Step Functions now supports the synchronous executions of Express Workflows, allowing you to easily build web-based applications and orchestrate high-volume, short-duration microservices.

Anything that improves AWS Step Functions is a big plus in my books. This addition gives you a new option for "high-volume, short duration, synchronous workflows", which actually happens quite often. This is nice addition to the toolkit.

Introducing Amazon Managed Workflows for Apache Airflow (MWAA)

Announced 24, Nov 2020 at 21:46

Amazon Managed Workflows is a new managed orchestration service for Apache Airflow that makes it easier to set up and operate end-to-end data pipelines in the cloud at scale. Apache Airflow is an open source tool used to programmatically author, schedule, and monitor sequences of processes and tasks referred to as “workflows”.

If you're already using Apache Airflow, this is the way to do it. Never manage your own infrastructure if you can someone else to do it at world class levels. If you're not using Apache AirFlow, it's a nice solution to setup and tune a data pipeline.

AWS announces the launch of Amazon Comprehend Events

Announced 24, Nov 2020 at 21:37

AWS now offers Amazon Comprehend Events, which extracts real world events and the associated arguments from text documents. For example, consider a news article that announces that Amazon acquired WholeFoods Market. Comprehend Events will identify the event as an ‘acquisition’ and detect the acquirer (Amazon), acquiree (WholeFoods Market), the deal amount and the date and time of the deal. Customers can use Comprehend Events to understand relationships from natural language text documents between entities such as organizations, people, and dates to build applications such as analytics on financial data and knowledge graphs. 

I like Comprehend and even wrote a course on it. This new feature allows Comprehend to analyze actual events and return information about them. This a step beyond the normal language analysis and is very handy in it's own right but also signals a very bright future for the service.

Amazon Braket now supports manual qubit allocation

Announced 24, Nov 2020 at 21:18

AWS Secrets Manager now supports 5000 requests per second for the GetSecretValue API operation

Announced 24, Nov 2020 at 21:13

AWS Secrets Manager now supports higher request rates for the GetSecretValue API operation of up to 5000 requests per second. This increased API limit will be applied to your accounts automatically. No further action required on your end.  

It's about time.

AWS Lambda now supports batch windows of up to 5 minutes for functions with Amazon SQS as an event source

Announced 24, Nov 2020 at 20:43

AWS Lambda now allows customers using Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) as an event source to define a wait period, called MaximumBatchingWindowInSeconds, to allow messages to accumulate in their SQS queue before invoking a Lambda function. In addition to Batch Size, this is a second option to send records in batches, to reduce the number of Lambda invokes. This option is ideal for workloads that are not time-sensitive, and can choose to wait to optimize cost.

This is a great addition. Essentially, instead of firing your function everytime something hits the queue, you can wait and let things pile up a bit to process in batches. Very simple, very handy.

Introducing Amazon Pinpoint Preference Center

Announced 24, Nov 2020 at 20:24

AWS Storage Gateway achieves FedRAMP compliance

Announced 24, Nov 2020 at 20:20

AWS Marketplace launches self-service tool for sellers to update their AMI products

Announced 24, Nov 2020 at 17:31

Today, AWS Marketplace announced a new self-service experience in the AWS Marketplace Management Portal (AMMP) that enables AWS Marketplace Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to add new Amazon Machine Image (AMI) versions, restrict versions, and update product information on their AMI software listings quickly and easily. AWS Marketplace is consistently improving the way that sellers can keep their AMI products up-to-date. With this release, AWS Marketplace has automated the steps to publish changes to the thousands of AMI product listings in AWS Marketplace, enabling ISVs to rapidly update and adjust their listings on their own.  

If you have a product in the AWS Marketplace, you already know how big this one is. If you're going to sell a product in the AWS Marketplace at some point, you're welcome. Current APN partners dealt with a clunky system highlighting the need for these improvements.

AWS CodeArtifact now supports NuGet

Announced 24, Nov 2020 at 00:58

Announcing Code Signing, a trust and integrity control for AWS Lambda

Announced 24, Nov 2020 at 00:20

You can now ensure that only trusted and verified code is deployed in your AWS Lambda functions. With Code Signing for Lambda, administrators can configure Lambda functions to only accept signed code on deployment. When developers deploy signed code to such functions, Lambda checks the signatures to ensure the code is not altered or tampered. Additionally, Lambda ensures the code is signed by trusted developers before accepting the deployment.

This one is a little niche but nice to be able to sign & validate code for Lambda.

You now can use a SQL-compatible query language to query, insert, update, and delete table data in Amazon DynamoDB

Announced 23, Nov 2020 at 21:54

You now can use PartiQL (a SQL-compatible query language)—in addition to already-available DynamoDB operations—to query, insert, update, and delete table data in Amazon DynamoDB. PartiQL makes it easier to interact with DynamoDB and run queries in the AWS Management Console. Because PartiQL is supported for all DynamoDB data-plane operations, it can help improve the productivity of developers by enabling them to use a familiar, structured query language to perform these operations. 

The number one issue with DynamoDB is setting up an effective table design. The second? Querying said data. Adding PartiQL support makes it easier to work with your tables. It's a nice addition to the service.

AWS Pricing Calculator now supports Amazon DynamoDB

Announced 23, Nov 2020 at 21:35

AWS Pricing Calculator now supports Amazon DynamoDB. Estimate the cost of DynamoDB workloads before you build them, including the cost of features such as on-demand capacity mode, backup and restore, DynamoDB Streams, and DynamoDB Accelerator (DAX).

Huh? What? This wasn't already a thing? It very welcome as it was very much needed.

Amazon AppFlow expands integrations with ServiceNow

Announced 23, Nov 2020 at 21:16

AWS Security Hub integrates with AWS Organizations for simplified security posture management

Announced 23, Nov 2020 at 21:14

AWS Security Hub is now integrated with AWS Organizations to simplify security posture management across all of your existing and future AWS accounts in an organization. With this launch, new and existing Security Hub customers can delegate any account in their organization as the Security Hub administrator and centrally view security findings from up to 5,000 AWS accounts. The integration with AWS Organizations allows you to automatically enable Security Hub and its automated security checks in any existing and newly created accounts in the organization. You can also now see AWS account names alongside account IDs in the Security Hub console. Customers using Security Hub’s existing multi-account management feature can transition to this new AWS Organizations-enabled multi-account management without any disruption to existing Security Hub usage. This feature is available today in all Security Hub supported AWS regions except in the AWS China (Beijing) Region operated by Sinnet and in the AWS China (Ningxia) Region operated by NWCD. To learn more, see the Security Hub User Guide for account management.  

AWS Organizations support should be launch-day for all applicable services...just like CloudFormation support should be launch-day for all services.

AWS Copilot CLI is now Generally Available

Announced 23, Nov 2020 at 20:55

AWS Client VPN adds support in additional Regions

Announced 23, Nov 2020 at 17:36

❄️❄️ Show all "not hot" announcements.

Two weeks out

15-Nov—21-Nov

AWS Single Sign-On adds Web Authentication (WebAuthn) support for user authentication with security keys and built-in biometric authenticators

Announced 21, Nov 2020 at 00:46

AWS Single Sign-On (SSO) now enables you to secure user access to AWS accounts and business applications using multi-factor authentication (MFA) with FIDO-enabled security keys, such as YubiKey, and built-in biometric authenticators, such as Touch ID on Apple MacBooks and facial recognition on PCs. With this release, AWS SSO now supports the Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification to provide strongly attestable and phishing-resistant authentication across all supported browsers, using interoperable FIDO2 and U2F authenticators.

Authentication is hard. Added support for a burgeoning standard (WebAuthn) is a smart move and makes authetnication all that much easier for the end user.

Amazon WorkDocs now supports Dark Mode on Android

Announced 20, Nov 2020 at 17:32

Starting today, you can now switch the color theme of your Amazon WorkDocs Android application for a darker appearance. With Dark Mode, the appearance of the app is inverted so that instead of black text on a white background, you see white text on a black background. The design reduces the light emitted by your device’s screen while maintaining the minimum color contrast ratios required for readability. Dark mode is not only a user preference and personalization feature but also a supplemental accessibility setting that may improve visibility and reduce eye strain while preserving battery life.

OMG, really?!? Finally?!? How is this even an announcement? How badly did the WorkDocs team miss their target that this is their pre-re:Invent announcement? 🤦‍♂️

Amazon EventBridge announces improved resource policies for event buses

Announced 20, Nov 2020 at 17:12

Amazon EventBridge announces improvements to event bus resource policies that make it easier to build applications that work across accounts. With this change, you can now send events to, and create rules on event buses in another account while relying on the event bus resource policy to manage your permissions. 

It's the little things like this—the ability to replay past events—that make building easier. As Amazon EventBridge is a critical serverless service, I'm all for it.

Announcing context management on Amazon Lex

Announced 19, Nov 2020 at 23:33

AWS Backup and AWS Organizations bring cross-account backup feature

Announced 19, Nov 2020 at 21:57

AWS Backup now supports cross-account backup, enabling AWS customers to securely copy backups across accounts within their AWS Organizations.

Cross-account backup is a very smart way to protect your organization. Create an account that is only for backups where other accounts only have ephemeral write access and lock down (technically & with process) direct access. It's a low-cost, low-effort move for increase resilience and this adds a key set of services to this strategy.

Introducing the AWS Network Firewall - a new managed service to deploy network security across your Amazon VPCs with just a few clicks

Announced 19, Nov 2020 at 19:07

AWS Network Firewall is a new AWS-managed service that makes it easy to deploy essential network protections for all of your Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs). The service can be set up with just a few clicks and scales automatically with your network traffic, so you don't have to worry about deploying and managing any infrastructure. AWS Network Firewall is for customers who want to inspect and filter traffic to, from, or between their Amazon VPCs. 

Essentially an IPS managed by AWS using your choice of rules. It supports Suricata rules (that's a good thing) and the deployment model is very straightforward. Added security controls without having to manage the underlying infrastructure is a very, very good thing.

AWS ParallelCluster 2.10

Announced 19, Nov 2020 at 16:31

Announced 18, Nov 2020 at 23:07

Amazon S3 Storage Lens delivers organization-wide visibility into your object storage usage and activity trends, and makes actionable recommendations to improve cost-efficiency and apply data protection best practices. S3 Storage Lens is the first cloud storage analytics solution to provide a single view of object storage usage and activity across tens to hundreds of accounts in an AWS organization, with drill-downs to generate insights at the account, bucket, or even prefix level. Drawing from more than 14 years of experience helping customers optimize storage, S3 Storage Lens analyzes organization-wide metrics to deliver contextual recommendations to find ways to reduce your storage costs and apply best practices on data protection. 

Finally an easy way to understand how your organization uses S3.

AWS CloudFormation change sets now support nested stacks

Announced 18, Nov 2020 at 21:07

AWS CloudFormation is extending change sets to support applications modeled with nested stacks, enhancing the predictability of update operations. With this launch, you can now preview the changes to your application and infrastructure resources across the entire nested stack hierarchy and proceed with the update only when you confirm that all the changes are as intended.  

This allows you to add to the modularity of your CloudFormation templates. This is big and will help with extensibility if done right. If done poorly, it'll just create an unreadable mess. Be careful.

AWS IQ launches new functionality to support firms

Announced 18, Nov 2020 at 20:29

Introducing Video On Demand on AWS Foundation

Announced 17, Nov 2020 at 21:08

AWS Step Functions now supports Amazon API Gateway service integration

Announced 17, Nov 2020 at 19:53

AWS Step Functions is now integrated with Amazon API Gateway REST and HTTP APIs, making it faster and easier to build application workflows including microservices created by API Gateway. You can use the API Gateway integration to create a workflow that orchestrates HTTP and REST APIs acting as the ‘front door’ for business logic running on AWS Lambda, a serverless compute service or Amazon Elastic Container Service, fully managed container orchestration service.

Call your Step Functions directly from API Gateway. Always a bonus when AWS removes a step in a common workflow!

Announcing new features for AWS IoT SiteWise

Announced 17, Nov 2020 at 18:20

Amazon CloudFront launches in Thailand

Announced 17, Nov 2020 at 05:55

Amazon Augmented AI is now a HIPAA eligible service

Announced 16, Nov 2020 at 21:48

Announced 16, Nov 2020 at 18:40

Amazon Textract supports handwriting and five new languages

Announced 16, Nov 2020 at 18:38

Amazon Textract, a machine learning service, extracts text and other data from documents as well as tables and forms. Today, we are pleased to announce two new features:

  • Amazon Textract now supports recognition of handwritten text from documents such as healthcare forms, prescriptions, dispute letters, tax documents, income documents, checks, claims, academic papers and many more. You can use the Detect Document Text or Analyze Document APIs to process images or PDF’s of scanned documents and extract both printed text and handwriting making it easy for you to automate almost any scanned document processing. You can also use Amazon Augmented AI (Amazon A2I), another AWS service, which makes it easy to build the workflows for human review of the machine learning predictions. You can log in to the Amazon Textract console to test out the handwriting feature, or check out the new demo by Amazon Machine Learning Hero Mike Chambers
  • Amazon Textract now supports processing of documents with printed text in Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, and French. You can start sending documents in these languages for text extraction, and Amazon Textract will automatically detect and extract the information for you.

The added languages are nice but the real win in handwriting recognition. Textract is very easy to use and can now vacuum text from almost anything.

❄️❄️ Show all "not hot" announcements.

Three weeks out

08-Nov—14-Nov

Announcing Amazon Lightsail Containers, an easy way to run containerized applications on the cloud

Announced 13, Nov 2020

Amazon Lightsail now provides you with the ability to run containerized workloads on the cloud with little-to-no prior cloud experience. With this native service, called Lightsail Containers, you can now deploy containerized applications to the cloud using the Docker images directly from your desktop or from the ones in public registries like DockerHub – with just a few clicks, through an easy to use interface. Lightsail takes care of all the infrastructure management complexities and allows you to focus on your application code. Lightsail Containers come with the same predictable pricing as its other offerings with prices starting at $7/month for a Container Service.

A very nice surprise. This service allows you to make a custom container internet accessible with essentially "one click". Very slick but the pricing could be clearer and simpler.

Amazon Athena announces availability of engine version 2

Announced 13, Nov 2020

Today, Amazon Athena announced general availability of a new query engine version, Athena engine version 2.

One of my favourite services but now faster and more flexible? Yes please.

Amazon Athena adds support for running SQL queries across relational, non-relational, object, and custom data sources.

Announced 13, Nov 2020

Federated queries in Amazon Athena enable users to run SQL queries across data stored in relational, non-relational, object, and custom data sources. The feature, which is now generally available in the us-east-1, us-west-2, and us-east-2 regions, enables customers to submit a single SQL query that scans data from multiple sources running on-premises or hosted in the cloud.

This is probably tied into the v2 announcement above, not sure why it's called out as a separate announcement but that shouldn't take away from the improvements here. It's now much easier to query the data in your S3 buckets.

Amazon QuickSight launches new Chart Types, Table Improvements and more

Announced 13, Nov 2020

Amazon QuickSight now supports Waterfall charts. Waterfall charts show how any metric is affected positively or negatively by a series of contributing factors. Dashboard authors can create a waterfall chart by choosing this new visual type from the visuals menu. See here for more details.

Amazon QuickSight is often overlooked which is a shame. It's a fantastic visualization tool and just come more powerful. Pair it with the new v2 Athena engine for extra oomph.

AWS Lambda now makes it easier to send logs to custom destinations

Announced 12, Nov 2020

You can now send logs from AWS Lambda functions directly to a destination of your choice by using AWS Lambda Extensions. AWS Lambda Extensions are a new way for monitoring, observability, security, and governance tools to integrate with Lambda, and today, you can use extensions that send logs to the following providers: Datadog, New Relic, Sumo Logic, Honeycomb, Lumigo, and Coralogix.

This is really just a use case example of the new AWS Lambda Extensions functionality but it's a great one, so I'll call it out. This will help reduce developer and operational friction with minimal effort. A nice little win.

Amazon Lex adds language support for French, Spanish, Italian and Canadian French

Announced 12, Nov 2020

Amazon Lex is a service for building conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text. Today, we are launching support for French, Spanish, Italian and Canadian French. With these new languages, you can build and expand your conversational experiences to better understand and engage your customer base. Amazon Lex can be applied to a diverse set of use cases such as virtual agents, conversational IVR systems, self-service chatbots, or application bots.

En fin! Merci Lex.

Introducing AWS Glue DataBrew: Visual data preparation tool to clean and normalize data up to 80% faster

Announced 11, Nov 2020

AWS Glue DataBrew is a new visual data preparation tool for AWS Glue that helps you clean and normalize data without writing code, reducing the time it takes to prepare data for analytics and machine learning by up to 80% compared to traditional approaches to data preparation. AWS Glue DataBrew features an easy-to-use visual interface that helps data analysts and data scientists of all technical levels understand, combine, clean, and transform data.

If you've ever done any work with "big data" you know how big a pain cleaning it all up is. There's always fields and datasets that need to be normalized and cleaned up. This is a huge addition to AWS Glue to make this tedious work more bearable.

Introducing AWS Gateway Load Balancer

Announced 11, Nov 2020

New – Deep Dive with Security: AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Announced 10, Nov 2020

This new on-demand digital course provides a deep dive into AWS IAM and best practices for using IAM policies. The advanced course is designed for security professionals with a working knowledge of AWS and it includes five learning modules, video demonstrations, assessments, and three optional self-paced labs.

Anything that helps builders understand IAM better is a big win in my books. This on-demand course definitely fits the bill.

Amazon Polly launches a British English Newscaster speaking Style

Announced 10, Nov 2020

Amazon Polly is a service that turns text into lifelike speech, and today we are excited to announce the general availability of our brand-new British Newscaster speaking style voice – Amy. The speaking style mimics a formal and authoritative British newsreader and it is the result of our latest achievements in Neural Text-to-Speech (NTTS) technology.

The fact that they specifically made a newscaster voice is just hilarious. No idea if I'll use this for business problems but I'll definitely be using it for a few fun projects!

Now you can export your Amazon DynamoDB table data to your data lake in Amazon S3 to perform analytics at any scale

Announced 09, Nov 2020

Now you can export your Amazon DynamoDB table data to your data lake in Amazon S3, and use other AWS services such as Amazon Athena, Amazon SageMaker, and AWS Lake Formation to analyze your data and extract actionable insights. No code-writing is required.

Stop thinking about data lakes as a scale thing, it's really all about the tools. The AWS data lake concept has some slick tools for working with your data. This new functionality makes it easier to get your operational data out of DynamoDB into an environment that might be a lot easier for analysis.

Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering adds Archive Access Tiers — further optimizes storage costs

Announced 09, Nov 2020

Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering now supports automatic data archiving to further reduce storage costs by up to 95% when objects become rarely accessed over long periods of time. The S3 Intelligent-Tiering storage class is the first and only cloud storage that automatically optimizes customers’ storage costs. S3 Intelligent-Tiering delivers milliseconds latency and high throughput performance for frequently and infrequently accessed data in the Frequent and Infrequent Access Tiers, and now the lowest storage costs in the cloud when data is rarely accessed in the Deep Archive Access Tier.

This should drop your S3 storage costs by taking away a lot of the tiering decisions by automating the most common and logical workflows.

❄️❄️ Show all "not hot" announcements.

Four weeks out

01-Nov—07-Nov

Announcing Amazon MQ for RabbitMQ

Announced 04, Nov 2020

AWS Security Hub adds five new integrations and a new consulting partner

Announced 04, Nov 2020

AWS Security Hub is now integrated with 3CORESec, cloudtamer.io, Prowler, StackRox, and ThreatModeler. Further, Amazon GuardDuty’s integration with AWS Security Hub is now available in AWS GovCloud (US-East). Lastly, AllCloud is now an AWS Security Hub APN Consulting Partner. This brings the total number of AWS service and AWS Partner Network (APN) Technology Partner integrations available in Security Hub to 60 and the number of APN Consulting Partners with a Security Hub offering to 3. 3CORESec, Prowler, and StackRox send findings to Security Hub. ThreatModeler receives findings from Security Hub. Cloudtamer.io both sends and receives findings to/from Security Hub. To learn more, visit the Integration pages in the Security Hub console and click on the “Configuration” link for the integration to learn more about the integration and how to set it up.

I don't usually call otu partner integrations but in this case it's a general win. One of the biggest unsung use cases for AWS Security Hub is to normalize your security data. Everything coming out of AWS Security Hub is in the Amazon Security Finding Format, that makes data analysis across tools much easier