The 10 Most Exciting Announcements at AWS re:Invent 2021

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AWS ReInvent 2021 News

Every single year in November, thousands of AWS enthusiasts and customers take part in a week-long series of talks, learning sessions and events, known as AWS re:Invent. Historically taking place in Las Vegas, in recent times AWS have pioneered a virtual re:Invent experience alongside the in-person event in order to enable Cloud Gurus from around the world to take part in the most important cloud computing event of the year.

This year is the tenth anniversary of re:Invent, and it has certainly been one to remember. In order to commemorate the tenth anniversary, AWS announced the availability (or preview) of a number of exciting and groundbreaking new services.

This year, hundreds of new services and updates got announced, and if you struggled to catch them all – we’ve got you covered. We have compiled a list of the top 10 most exciting and game changing new releases of the year, and explain why you should be excited about these.

1. New Sustainability Pillar for AWS Well Architected Framework

This is a big announcement given the current global emphasis on the need to include climate consciousness into businesses. Formally, there were five pillars of the Well Architected Framework, and these where the following:

  • Cost Optimization
  • Reliability
  • Operational Excellence
  • Performance Efficiency
  • Security

The sixth pillar, Sustainability, focuses on minimizing the environmental impacts of running your workloads on the AWS cloud.

Key topics covered in the new pillar include a shared responsibility model for sustainability, understanding the wide ranging impact of Cloud resources on the environment and ensuring maximum utilization to minimize idle resource usage and reduce downstream impacts.

The nature of cloud computing expectedly produces a lot of energy. However, when compared to on-premise solutions, cloud based deployments really are much more eco-friendly and more efficient. This means your business can reduce its carbon footprint simply by converting to the AWS cloud. AWS are aiming to help businesses maximize those benefits through continued evolution and the addition of the newest pillar.

2. Amazon SageMaker Studio Lab

With the boom in cloud computing and ever accessible computing options – also comes a boom in the need for low-cost and available Machine Learning platforms. This is why Amazon SageMaker Studio Lab is such a fantastic addition to the retinue of existing AWS Machine Learning (ML) services.

Amazon SageMaker Studio Lab is a free ML development environment that provides the necessary compute, storage (up to 15GB), and security – all at no cost to you. You don’t even need an AWS account! You just need an email address to sign up.

Amazon SageMaker Studio Lab comes preconfigured with the most popular ML tools, frameworks, and libraries to get you started building immediately. SageMaker Studio Lab automatically saves your work so you don’t need to restart in between sessions, allowing you to come back and forth as you please.

The fact that you can get started with ML for free, without even an AWS account is a testament to AWS’s desire to enable the next generation of Machine Learning enthusiasts and builders.

3. New Graviton3 processors to power C7g instances

Another fantastic addition to the list of new AWS services announced this year is the next-generation of ARM-based Graviton processors.

These super-powerful processors can achieve a 25% better performance and 60% less power usage compared to previous chips. These chips will be powering the new Amazon EC2 C7g Instances. These instance types are currently in preview, but once they become available they will be ideal for customers looking for highly compute-intensive workloads like HPC (high performance compute) and / or scientific modeling.

This announcement continues AWS’s legacy of constant innovation in terms of providing ever more powerful and economical hardware for us to build our cloud based applications on.

4. New Amazon DynamoDB Table Class – Save Up To 60% in Your DynamoDB Costs

There is a new Amazon DynamoDB Standard-Infrequent Access table class.

Amazon DynamoDB Standard-IA (think of S3-IA as a comparison) is an Ideal storage class for long-term storage data that is infrequently accessed with DynamoDB. This could be data such as application logs or e-commerce order history, i.e. something you need to keep around for various reasons, but don’t to access very often. This table class is designed to cut your storage costs dramatically while delivering the same performance, durability, and scaling potential of the DynamoDB we all know and love.

If anything has shown the commitment AWS has to its customers over the recent years, it is the continual and constant drive to lower prices for its customers – in a way that does not compromise quality at all. This new table class is a prime example of this philosophy in practice.

5. Trn1 chips for ML models

Another ML related announcement – AWS announced that new AWS Trainium-based Amazon EC2 Trn1 instances are in preview. These instances are designed and optimized to be used specifically for training deep-learning mode. Trn1 is the first EC2 instance with up to 800 gigabytes per second bandwidth – which is a game changing amount. If you wanted even more, you can network these chips together for even more powerful performance should you need it.

The high bandwidth makes it ideal for large scale, multi-node distributed training use cases. It can benefit those looking to train deep learning models in image recognition, natural language processing, fraud detection, forecasting etc.

6. Introducing the Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval Storage Class

This announcement quite simply revolutionizes our idea of what archival storage means. With the new Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval Storage Class you will have access to the lowest cost storage for data that’s rarely accessed (up to 68% cheaper than S3 Standard-Infrequent Access) while offering the millisecond flexibility of retrieval of S3 standard. This gives the perfect compromise between the need to have cheap archival storage that is also immediately available upon request.

The existing Amazon S3 Glacier storage class is now called S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval and offers free bulk retrievals if you require your data within 5 to 12 hours.

You can use S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval for a number of use cases like media archives, medical images, user-generated content amongst many more use cases.

7. Enhanced Dead-letter Queue Management Experience for Amazon SQS Standard Queues

Amazon SQS was the first AWS service ever announced and is designed to allow messages to be sent asynchronously in a pub-sub model. This can decouple your applications and make them much more resilient to failure.

One of the features of Amazon SQS is that if a message cannot be successfully processed by the queue, you can configure SQS to store it in a dead-letter queue (DLQ).

Previously, if you wanted to analyze why messages failed to be processed, fail rates, etc. – this would be massively time consuming, and would take away from the day-to-day management of your customers. Even though SQS is the oldest AWS service, there is still continuing evolution.

With the new SQS experience, you can much more easily identify and resolve processing errors, and you can easily inspect a sample of any failed messages and move them back to the original queue with a click. No custom code, and no error prone scripts – which will reduce overall errors, and improve your applications performance significantly.

8. Introducing Amazon EMR Serverless (Preview)

Amazon EMR (previously called Amazon Elastic MapReduce) is a managed cluster platform that can greatly simplify the running of big data frameworks including Apache Hadoop, Spark amongst others. Whilst this has been preferable to the non-managed equivalent, this new announcement has made the managing of Big Data that much easier.

Amazon EMR Serverless is a new serverless option in Amazon EMR that makes it easy and cost-effective for data engineers and analysts to run petabyte-scale data analytics within the AWS cloud.

You can run your Big Data workloads without worrying about managing, optimizing and securing clusters – AWS can manage this for you.

As with other Serverless AWS services (Lambda, Fargate, DynamoDB etc) EMR Serverless automatically provisions and scales the compute and memory resources required by the application, and customers only pay for the resources they use.

9. Announcing AWS Private 5G (Preview)

In recent times, 5G has become a powerful new way of increasing bandwidth and coverage for a large number of devices, whilst maintaining the security and control of a private network.

As a result of this, AWS have announced AWS Private 5G.

AWS Private 5G will let you build your own private 5G cell network. You simply make your way to the AWS console, specify how large your network needs to be, and AWS will send you everything you need to get started. There are no upfront or per-device costs when you use AWS Private 5G, as you will simply pay for the network capacity and throughput requested.

This service, which is in preview in the US, could be ideal for use cases like a warehouse or large campus where you’re looking to implement new and secure technology to manage internal communications for multiple devices.

You can in turn get your own network running in a matter of days, instead of weeks or months – enabling a much better and faster experience.

10. AWS Cloud WAN now in preview

Finally, AWS has released a new service which will allow customers to build, manage, and monitor global wide area networks. AWS Cloud WAN can allow you to monitor a unified global network, and manage your traffic running between resources in both your on-premise data centers and your cloud environments. This is ideal for those using a hybrid cloud model, looking to maintain a secure and global WAN – managed by AWS.

Cloud WAN automatically creates a global network across as many AWS Regions as required using the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) allowing you to easily exchange routes around the world.

Conclusion

No doubt that there are exciting times ahead and that AWS Cloud technology will continue to help businesses with their digital transformation

As a result, companies will continue to actively seek people with cloud skills. To take advantage of the increasing cloud job openings, get AWS certified with our popular AWS training courses and build job-ready cloud skills with our hands-on AWS challenge labs in a secure sandbox environment.

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