AWS Summit London 2017

“I think we found something that AWS doesn’t do well at scale.” – overheard in the registration queue

We once again attended the AWS Summit in London with more than 6000 visitors expected. In order to enjoy the event, you’d have better been early… or you could have end up in a massive registration queue or unable to attend a session. Fortunately we enjoyed the event without any major issues.

Dr Werner Vogels, AWS CTO, once again gave the keynote. We really liked the comparison he made between AWS and Q, the head of the research and development division in James Bond movies. Q provides super-powered tools with special features that can be used to complete secret agent missions. AWS aims to be the Q for developers!

Exhibition hall at a quiet time:

At a quiet time

Serverless: simpler, cheaper, better

Again this year, serverless was a popular subject, starring AWS Lambda.

A lot of new AWS services are also developing around it like DynamoDB (NoSQL database) and API Gateway, as well as continuous deployment tools, such as:

  • CodePipeline: for visualising and orchestrating deployment pipelines
  • CodeBuild: for code testing (billed per minute). It can be used with CodePipeline or on its own.
  • CodeDeploy: for blue/green deployments and rollbacks
  • CodeStar: apparently similar to a solution provided by Heroku. CodeStar makes it really easy to start using AWS services. It automatically configures services and provides a nice dashboard. It can be used to deploy serverless applications.

Also monitoring tools:

  • X-Ray: for debugging serverless applications
  • Cloudwatch: this monitoring tool is not new, originally collecting metrics and alerting. It’s now collecting logs and let you create metrics and alerts around them.

Great talk from Danilo about Serverless. Serverless common use cases:

serverless

Serverless seems to be a good way to save money in the cloud as you are only billed based on the requests your function receives (no EC2 instance constantly running).

Deep dive on Elastic Load Balancing

As for the original AWS services, some new features were worth noting, in particular the possibilities now offered by the ALB (Application Load Balancer) over the classic ELB (Elastic Load Balancer). As seen the photo below, these include path-based routing, container support, and support for websockets and HTTP/2.

ELB (classic) vs ALB

ELB vs ALB

Some thoughts and lessons from summit

  • Move certain types of applications to AWS Lambda.
  • Try new AWS services (in particular, the CI tools).
  • Migrate our ELB to ALB.
  • Our team can be fed by 2 pizzas; we’re doing good!
  • Arrive early.

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