Infrastructure at your Service

Nicolas Jardot

AWS re:invent 2018 – Day 4

Thursday morning it’s time for the keynote from Dr Werner Vogels.

A big part of the keynote was about databases again. Maybe AWS people knows that there are still lots of DBAs out there! It’s also again a focus on Amazon Aurora (relational), Dynamo DB (NoSQL) and AWS Redshift that are replacing Oracle databases Amazon was using. There was also a focus on how S3 works to maintain the best durability for the data. I’ve seen several sessions this week mentioning S3 as the object storage for building a data lake.

I haven’t mentioned on yesterday’s keynote but there are some guest coming on stage to speak about how they are using AWS on there businesses. Today, Ethan Kaplan from Fender. He spoke about Serverless movement than is used to power the new learning guitar application from Fender. This application was born because even if there are still lots of people buying new guitars, most of them quit playing guitar after 6 months. On the other side, people that continue playing are buying 8-10 guitars so it was important to develop a solution for people to continue to play.

The important guest for me was Yuri Misnik, a representative of National Australian Bank speaking about the Cloud first strategy within the Bank. Banking is traditionally associated with legacy technologies and regulation that would be against moving to the Cloud. But they are targeting 1/3 of the applications running in AWS by the year 2020 and they are moving fast.

There were less new launches than in Andy’s keynote but there are few to mention:

  • Redshift concurrent scaling: Allow Redshift to automatically increase the capacity to avoid waits when number of queries increases. The very nice part is the burstable, for every 24 hours your cluster is running you get 1 hour credit for this new concurrent usage making it almost transparent and free for most customers according to Werner
  • Support for new languages in AWS Lambda and most important support of custom running to allow customer running almost any language they like
  • AWS Lambda layer: You can now share a library between several Lambda functions without having to copy the code again
  • AWS Well-Architected Tool based on the AWS Well-Architected framework to allow reviewing the architecture without the need of a meeting with AWS or an AWS partner

Again, the keynote consumed a big part of the day but I was able to attend 2 more sessions. The 1st was Kyle Hailey presenting Performance Insights. It’s a performance tool for Amazon RDS working for Aurora, PostgreSQL, MySQL and Oracle. SQL Server is planned and will be the next on the list. It’s very promising even if it’s currently missing SQL execution plans. The strength of the tool is that it will provide consistent GUI across different engines.

AWS Performance Insights

As an Oracle DBA, I have the feeling that the tool is inspired a lot of what has been done already quite some time ago when ASH has been implemented directly in the database. The same AAS metric is driving the analysis and it’s based on 1 second sampling interval. It’s a good news, most DBAs that are already working this way with Oracle will be able to quickly understand their load when moving to Amazon RDS. The fun part is a demo from the company Slalom that developed a connector to Performance Insights for Alexa, now you can speak to your database.

I finished the day with a workshop about CI/CD: Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment or Delivery according to the level you reach. Most often, we prefer or we have to (validated environment) have an approval for moving to Production thus only it’s only continuous delivery. I can’t put all the details but the workshop was well organize with people able to answer questions and infrastructure running without issues. It was an occasion to deal a little bit with Opswork service for a managed Puppet server and discover CodeBuild / CodePipeline services.

On Thursday night, it’s re:Play party where nobody told people that they can’t play anymore because they are too old 🙂 There will be a lot of activities besides 2 different stages: 1 for live music and 1 with DJs. But on Friday morning, there will be the last sessions and it will still be interesting, stay tuned.

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Nicolas Jardot
Nicolas Jardot

Senior Consultant