Colin Barker

Colin Barker

Cloud Solutions Architect and AWS Subject Matter Expert (SME)

AWS re:Invent 2020 - My thoughts

My thoughts behind the AWS re:Invent 2020 announcements

Colin Barker

4-Minute Read

AWS re:Invent Logo

Having been extremely lucky that DevOpsGroup do allow me the flexibility in my work to be able to attend previous re:Invent conferences however, this year was very different. COVID-19 and the worldwide pandemic changed the way we work, interact, and how conferences should run. re:Invent was no different.

This year, AWS put on a 2 week online conference, and still were able to include all the bells and whistles that make re:Invent special!

For now, here are are my thoughts on some of the announcements made during the event.

Sorry for the bad quality screenshots, unlike a real event where I would remember my camera, I spent most of it trying to remember how to take screenshots! (And somehow made them low quality!)

Aurora Serverless v2

Screenshot of the Aurora Serverless v2 bullet points

Quite a significant change to the original Aurora Serverless (now v1) service, introducing additional features which opens the usage of this database engine to even more creative ideas and solutions that might not have been available to Solution Architects before.

Read Replicas was a sorely missed feature from the v1 service, which did make the choice harder to sell to customers looking for a specific type of disaster recovery solution, or being able to split their database traffic load in a very specific way.

This is a preview at the moment, but will be keeping a close eye on this in the near future.

Bablefish for Aurora PostgreSQL

Screenshot of the AWS Bablefish for Aurora PostgreSQL announcement

Announced as an open source (Apache-2.0) project, Bablefish for Aurora PostgreSQL is a welcome addition to any DBA, Engineer, and Solutions Architect’s bag of tricks! As with many projects, the challenge that always trips up those planning on a migration into the cloud is that your build up tech debt of old database technologies and setup does not quite fit nicely into your plan. This opens a door which really needed to be open.

This specific version allows the migration easier over to using Amazon Aurora from Microsoft’s SQL Server by “translating” the commands from applications destined for SQL Server over to Amazon Aurora with very little code changes. A nod to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, where so many other translation tools also get their name!

While it does understand a large number of the standard use cases for SQL Server, care would need to be taken to ensure that you are able to translate everything. Or at least, a way to migrate some of the more Microsoft proprietary elements of SQL Server.

Once again, in preview, and will be keeping an eye out for more. Hopefully a MySQL compatible one for assisting with the move into Aurora?

AWS CloudShell

Screenshot of AWS CloudShell running

Another welcome addition to the AWS Console, AWS CloudShell is just the missing item that allows operators of AWS to quickly get to a CLI without worrying about what they need to have installed. Other cloud providers had already included a function like this, and the addition of the CloudShell to AWS was great to see.

Having a bit of a head start than the people who jumped in when it was announced, I was able to quickly get a console up and running and have a look around.

Like with other CloudShells, persistent storage of 1GB is useful to ensure you have any non-secure settings readily available, is very handy and does save a few headaches when logging back in for the first time. Pre-installed with the AWS CLI, and running on an Amazon Linux 2 distro, means that a number of other popular tools are available.

Pricing, free. Can’t really argue with that!

If you can get on, I am sure you will understand that having this tool in your back pocket for any event, will make your life a lot easier!

Conclusion

As always, there was a lot to take in, and I only barely scratched the surface. I’d recommend you look at some of AWS’s Blogs to see all of the other announcements, try and see if there is anything that might change the way you think about solutions on AWS Cloud.

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A cloud solutions architect, AWS SME, geek, tinkerer, and geocacher.