AWS re:Invent 2020: Week One Highlights and Key Announcements

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This week, Amazon kicked off AWS re:Invent 2020—a completely virtual event for the global cloud computing community, offering three weeks of announcements, content, resources, and training at no cost. During Andy Jassy’s keynote on day two, he shared that this year’s conference brought in more than 500k registrants from around the world!

Even though everything’s virtual this year and you don’t have to hop in a cab or find conference rooms to join the sessions, it’s still challenging to attend every session and stay on top of all the updates the conference has to offer. So we put this article together to cover the major highlights and key announcements you need to know from week one. Let’s get started!

Additionally, make sure you visit the CloudHealth virtual booth for a product demo that highlights our support for AWS Savings Plans and CloudHealth Secure State—a solution for mitigating security and compliance risk and much more.

And don’t miss out on our digital swag bag giveaway with $150 in AWS Cloud Credits, a complimentary Health Check on your environment, and a FREE 30-day trial of CloudHealth!

AWS re:Invent 2020: Andy Jassy’s Keynote

CEO Andy Jassy opened AWS re:Invent 2020 by addressing the global pandemic, how businesses need to constantly reinvent themselves to adapt, and eight keys to build a culture of reinvention in your business. Jassy credits reinvention, as well as listening and responding to customer feedback, for the company’s revenue run rate of $46 billion in 2020, which amounts to 29% year-over-year growth.

aws re:Invent gp3 volumes ebs andy jassy keynote

Jassy continued his presentation by announcing a range of new features and product updates. We’ll go into these in more detail below.

And to see more information from Andy Jassy's keynote, including the eight keys to building a culture of reinvention, see our article here.

AWS re:Invent 2020: Partner Summit Keynote

Doug Yeum, the Head of AWS’ Global Partner Organization, led the Partner Summit Keynote on day four of AWS re:Invent 2020, along with Sandy Carter, Vice President, Global Public Sector Partners and Programs, and Dave McCann, Vice President, AWS Migration, Marketplace, and Control Services. CEO Andy Jassy also joined Yeum for a conversation to share his perspectives and close out the session.

partner summit keynote at AWS re:Invent

A common theme for this keynote was speed and agility. Especially in light of COVID-19, partners will need to reinvent their business in order to meet the needs and demands of their customers. Ultimately, AWS’ goal is to help its partners and customers prepare for the future by providing the deepest and broadest services and solutions.

AWS also shared a number of new partner offerings, including the following: 

  • AWS ISV Partner Path (available in 2021): New partner experience designed to accelerate the engagement that independent software vendors (ISVs) have with AWS, through prescriptive guidance, curated programs, funding benefits, and co-selling support.
  • AWS SaaS Boost (preview): Open source ready-to-use reference environment that enables Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to accelerate the move to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
  • Amazon RDS Service Delivery Program: Designed to help customers find AWS partners with specific database engine expertise to set up, operate, and scale relational databases in the cloud. 
  • AWS Mainframe Migration Competency (available in 2021): Recognizes AWS Consulting and Technology Partners for expertise in mainframe migrations.
  • AWS Public Safety and Disaster Response Competency: Previously only available for AWS Consulting Partners, the AWS Public Safety and Disaster Response Competency is now also available for technology partners that help customers improve organizational capacity to prepare, respond, and recover from emergencies and disasters.
  • AWS Energy Competency (available in 2021): Recognizes AWS Consulting and Technology Partners for expertise in support for AWS customers within the energy industry. 
  • AWS Travel and Hospitality Competency: New competency focused on travel and hospitality, including 27 AWS Consulting and AWS Technology Partners from around the world, as of December 3, 2020.

AWS re:Invent 2020: Key announcements

Amazon always packs the conference with announcements. This year, Andy Jassy included several announcements during his keynote, and others were included and expanded upon during product or function-specific breakout sessions. 

It’s only been the first week, but the list of announcements is already huge! Here are the key announcements we identified from week one:

Compute

  • Amazon EC2 Mac Instances: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Mac instances for macOS are generally available as of November 30, 2020. 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. Learn more about Amazon EC2 Mac Instances here.
  • New Amazon EC2 Instances: R5b, M5zn, D3/D3en available now, with T4g available for free trial, C6gn and G4ad instances coming soon.

For a guide to the rest of Amazon's instance types (prior to the announcements), see our article here: AWS Instance Types and Comparison.

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Storage

  • Multi-destination S3 Replication: Amazon adds support for multiple destination replication and two-way directional replication—elastic, fully managed features so you can automatically replicate objects between buckets. Learn more here
  • Updates to Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering: Added archive and deep archive storage tiers to Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering, a storage class that automatically moves data to the most cost-effective access tier without impacting performance.  
  • Amazon S3 Strong Consistency: Strong read-after-write and list consistency for any storage requests at no additional cost. Learn more here
  • Amazon S3 Bucket Keys: Reduce request costs for server-side encryption (SSE) with AWS Key Management Service (KMS) by up to 99% by decreasing the request traffic from S3 to KMS. Learn more about Amazon S3 Bucket Keys here.
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Containers

  • Amazon EKS Anywhere (coming in 2021): Create and operate Kubernetes clusters on your own infrastructure with EKS Anywhere.
  • Amazon ECS Anywhere (coming in 2021): Deploy native Amazon ECS tasks in the traditional AWS managed infrastructure, and now on your infrastructure as well. Learn more about Amazon ECS Anywhere here.
  • Introducing Amazon EKS Distro: Amazon EKS Distro is an open source Kubernetes distribution used by Amazon EKS to help create reliable and secure clusters.
  • AWS Proton: Automate container and serverless application development and deployment with AWS Proton.
  • Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR): Provides developers an easy and highly available way to share and deploy container software publicly. You can learn more about Amazon ECR here.
  • AWS Lambda Container Support: AWS Lambda customers can now provision Lambda functions with a maximum of 10,240 MB (10 GB) of memory, which is a more than 3x increase compared to the previous limit of 3,008 MB. Learn more about Lambda Container Support here.
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Database and data management

  • AWS Glue Elastic Views (preview): With AWS Glue Elastic Views, customers can combine and replicate data across multiple data stores without having to write custom code.
  • Babelfish for Amazon Aurora (preview): Babelfish for Amazon Aurora is a new translation layer that enables Aurora to understand queries from applications written for Microsoft SQL Server. Applications currently running on SQL Server can now run directly on Aurora PostgreSQL with little to no code changes.
  • Aurora Serverless v2 (preview): Aurora Serverless is an on-demand, auto-scaling configuration for Amazon Aurora that automatically starts up, shuts down, and scales capacity up or down based on your application's needs. Aurora Serverless v2 delivers up to 90% cost savings compared to provisioning for peak capacity.
  • Amazon EBS gp3: EBS gp3 are next-generation general purpose SSD volumes for Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) that enable customers to provision performance independent of storage capacity, and at a price point that’s as much as 20% lower than existing gp2 volumes. 
  • io2 Block Express EBS Volumes (preview): Larger and faster io2 Block Express EBS volumes with higher throughput—up to 256K IOPS and 4000 MBps of throughput and a maximum volume size of 64 TiB, all with sub-millisecond, low-variance I/O latency. 
  • Tiered pricing for IOPS: Amazon announced tiered pricing for input/output operations per second (IOPS) charges for Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) io2 volume, reducing the cost of provisioning peak IOPS by 15%.

Machine learning

  • AWS Trainium (available in 2021): AWS Trainium is a custom made, high-performance machine learning training chip available as an EC2 instance inside Amazon SageMaker.
  • Habana Gaudi-based EC2 Instances (available in 2021): The new EC2 instances will leverage up to 8 Gaudi accelerators and deliver up to 40% better price performance than current GPU-based EC2 instances for training deep learning models. Learn more about Habana Gaudi-based EC2 instances here
  • New Amazon SageMaker capabilities: Amazon has added more than 50 new capabilities to SageMaker since last year (that’s about one a week!). Some of the most recent updates include SageMaker Feature Store and SageMaker Data Wrangler to help reduce the time it takes to aggregate and prepare data for machine learning from weeks to minutes.
  • Amazon QuickSight Q (preview): QuickSight Q is a Natural Language Query (NLQ) feature powered by machine learning that enables business users to ask questions about their data using everyday language and receive accurate answers in seconds.
  • Amazon DevOps Guru: A fully managed operations service that automatically collects and analyzes data to identify behavior that deviates from normal operational patterns. You can learn more about Amazon DevOps Guru here.
  • Amazon Connect Wisdom: Amazon Connect Wisdom uses machine learning to drastically reduce the amount of time that call center agents spend searching for answers.
  • Amazon Monitron: Amazon Monitron is an end-to-end system that detects abnormal behavior in industrial machinery, enabling you to implement predictive maintenance and reduce unplanned downtime.

Amazon also announced a preview of AWS Local Zones in Boston, Houston, and Miami, which is an addition to the already available Los Angeles AWS Local Zone. They plan to launch Local Zones in 12 more US cities in 2021, including Atlanta, Chicago, and New York.

What's next and additional resources

In week two of AWS re:Invent 2020, we’re expecting even more announcements, product deep-dives, and cloud computing best practices. Sessions we recommend attending include:

Also, make sure you visit the CloudHealth virtual booth for a product demo that highlights our support for AWS Savings Plans and CloudHealth Secure State—a solution for mitigating security and compliance risk and much more. 

And don’t miss out on our digital swag bag giveaway with $150 in AWS Cloud Credits, a complimentary Health Check on your environment, and a FREE 30-day trial of CloudHealth!

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Lauren van der Vaart, Senior Content Marketing Specialist

Lauren is a member of the Digital Marketing team at CloudHealth by VMware. She focuses on delivering valuable, relevant, and actionable content for customers on their cloud journey. Before joining CloudHealth, Lauren held various roles across digital and field marketing for global technology organizations.

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