An insider’s look at AWS re:Invent 2022

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Greetings from Las Vegas, and the first “normal” AWS (Amazon Web Services) re:Invent since the show in 2019! We made it! Now begins the recovery and the slog back to “normal.” It does not matter if it was your first, third, or even fifth AWS re:Invent experience. You always end up walking away learning something new or finding new tools that you did not know you needed, and as always, more swag and freebies from the convention floor than you thought possible. But I am sure you, like me, are exhausted and ready for a good month’s sleep.  

The 2022 AWS re:Invent was a little different for me but mostly the same. This year marked my fifth time attending. It never ceases to amaze me how the show grows year over year but still is familiar in all the right ways, from where things are found to the end-of-the-show party re:Play on Thursday night.   

This year was my first going from being a general attendee watching and learning to working the booth for Spot by NetApp. If you’ve been on the conference circuit, you know that it’s a lot of effort to attract an audience, give product demonstrations, and give fellow attendees your undivided attention in a busy expo hall. Working the booth gives me a newfound respect for the efforts of sales and marketing teams handling events of all sizes. The fact that by Thursday I had lost my voice gave me a unique insight into the organized chaos that was the re:Invent vendor expo.   

But enough about that, let’s look at some of the Announcements that came out from AWS’ flagship conference.  

AWS re:Invent 2022 featured four major themes that it seemed like every speaker touched on:  

  1. Economic uncertainty drives optimization: Optimizing your cloud infrastructure will become critically important as we move into 2023, and what experts seem to be predicting is some economic slowdown. The problem is: how do you prepare for this? Optimization and cost management are the building blocks for this effort. Ensuring environments are rightsized and running at peak performance will be critical to every company that touches the public cloud.
  2. Diversity and inclusion in the cloud industry: The tech space is traditionally very homogenous and male-dominated. AWS made several commitments to increasing Diversity and Inclusion, including through education programs. They also highlighted business efforts such as investing in machine learning to give underrepresented communities in tech a voice in how AI and ML initiatives are shaped.
  3. Security and security automation: The more data companies store in the cloud, the bigger the attack surface and the potential for some exposure or exfiltration of data. Infrastructure misconfiguration from storage to the instance is consistently at the top of every “cloud security issues” list. AWS announced several efforts, including an AI-based data lake, specifically to help with security events.
  4. Sustainability and conservation: Ensuring your firm can meet its sustainability and environmental pledges is at the forefront of concerns for cloud customers. AWS made numerous pledges to become energy- and water-neutral over the next several years on top of developing more efficient cloud infrastructure that delivers more performance per kilowatt-hour.  

What big announcements came out of re:Invent 2022? 

  1. New instance types
    New General compute instance fleet families with enhancements in network packet-per-second (PPS) processing allow for use as different appliances and high bandwidth communications. But a side benefit is that it also helps with those instances that need high-performance communications to S3, or data lakes. There were also new memory-optimized instances with the new Intel Ice Lake processor family, and they now offer transient 128-bit memory encryption keys generated at boot time to ensure security of the contents wired into memory.
  2. AWS Marketplace direct deployment to EKS clusters
    Needing to add third-party solutions to your EKS clusters? Well, now, using the new command-line interface (CLI) eksctl, AWS APIs, or Infrastructure as Code tools, you can launch AWS Marketplace solutions directly into EKS. The benefit here is that AWS continuously scans to ensure the security of the application solutions so you can meet your internal security requirements.
  3. AWS Verified Access 
    The new service in preview that I call “Zero Trust as a Service” allows users  to remote into applications without a VPN. No longer do you need to manage all aspects of the VPN infrastructure. You can use a service with user and device compliance policies to ensure secure access to your critical applications. 
  4. VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) Lattice 
    Let’s be honest. Managing services and applications is a time suck. Lattice works to help make it easier, allowing you to control the application and service interactions. Not only can you control access permissions, but you can also discover new services and make it easier to monitor, troubleshoot, and share access across accounts. 
  5. AWS Config and Control Tower functions
    As cloud computing becomes more ubiquitous, the need to abide by compliance frameworks and standards is becoming increasingly important. Architecting out and implementing the controls and guardrails for services and all the links to those services can be a time-consuming ordeal. Now AWS has a preview feature that allows these policies to be enabled from AWS organizations across all the subordinate accounts in your organization and even finetune them to the OUs. No longer do you need to keep and run a policy document in each account. All the Security Hub features can be rolled out from the Organization master. 
  6. Failover controls for S3 Multi-Region Access Points
    In 2021, AWS launched the S3 Multi-Region Access Points to route requests to the fastest entry point available using Global Accelerator. Now, you can have a failover policy and point your traffic at another Region in minutes to ensure high availability for your S3-dependent applications and business continuity for disaster recovery. 

I have thought of re:Invent as less of a conference about “what happened” over the previous calendar year and more of a forward-looking event to prepare us for what the next year holds.  As this year’s re:Invent demonstrated, in 2023 we’ll continue to address issues surrounding economic uncertainty, cloud optimization, and ethical AI development that includes diverse voices and perspectives.  

We can’t know for certain what the new year has in store for the cloud. But we do know that our friends at AWS and we at Spot by NetApp are here to help. Learn more about Spot’s automated infrastructure solutions for AWS.