AWS can’t stop, won’t stop. As enterprise slowly turns cloud, it’s no surprise that this year’s re:Invent saw Amazon prove again that it is at the forefront of new services designed to help enterprises embrace cloud-based innovation.

AWS re:Invent is AWS’s premier cloud computing conference which always features a heap of new product release announcements, alongside hackathons, drinks ops and plenty of fun stuff. But if you couldn’t be there at re:Invent 2018, you still need to gauge what’s important news for you at this killer event - and maybe hassle the boss to attend next year.

Let’s unpack the new AWS services you’re most likely to champion and coming soon to a screen or strategy doc near you.

1. Advanced Enterprise AWS Teams Management with AWS Control Tower

Arguably the most useful announcement for enterprises at re:Invent is the introduction of AWS Control Tower. This new service is designed specifically for large enterprises, working across many functions, departments, apps and services, all with their own AWS requirements, to automatically orchestrate a common baseline environment. At the click of a button you’ll have a multi-account setup with best practice management, configuration, security, and compliance.

Consider it an easy way to spin up a baseline AWS environment across teams in your enterprise - and manage accordingly. Not only can this significantly reduce new team start up times, but allows for horizontal movement across departments and projects, and provides a holistic point of reference at all times. Combined with the new AWS Security Hub it’s a powerful combo.

2. Opportunity for Massively Increased Enterprise Data Velocity with Managed Streaming for Kafka

Data was huge at re:Invent. Particularly exciting was the rollout of the famous open-source project Kafka as a managed service, which really cements the importance of data in the enterprise market.

With this teams are allowed now to focus more on how they are going to use Kafka services rather than worrying about the burden and overhead of standing up the clusters and managing them. What you ultimately get from an enterprise perspective is data velocity. You’re going to be able to import and manipulate data in the streams in a way that allows you to make very highly informed decisions within your applications and provide empowering data insights to your users and to your customers.

3. Rapid Blockchain Prototyping and Development with AWS Managed Blockchain

Blockchain is hot property. Not surprisingly, blockchain gets a new dedicated function in AWS Managed Blockchain, fuelled by the demand of enterprise clients. The new service allows devs to build blockchain applications on some of the world’s largest open source frameworks (Ethereum, Fabric, Hyperledger) in a fully managed and scalable manner.

If you’re actively investigating blockchain use cases for your department, then Amazon’s offering means you can fast-track prototyping and full development without excessive management overheads. Cool.

4. All the Security of Traditional VMs With the Efficiency of Containerization in AWS Firecracker

AWS Firecracker is the newly-released solution that gives multi-tenant container services the security and atomicity usually only available to applications running on traditional virtual machine configurations. It’s the tech that powers AWS Lambda, and aims to replicate VM security without detracting from the speed and efficiency of containerization.

This is good news for enterprise teams who have deliberately steered clear of containerization in the past due to security concerns. Oh, and it’s open source, too!

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5. Bah Humbug to Data Silos: AWS Lake Formation Designed to Break Down Data Management Boundaries

By now, you’ve probably had the directive from management that you need to do more with data, analysis, and intelligence. But artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions are hard, yo - especially since data is literally spread all over the shop.

AWS Lake Formation is a new service that makes multi-source data lake management simple. The tagline AWS touts for Lake Formation is “build a secure lake within days” - which is a tough task to achieve currently. With raw, unprocessed data that is yet to be analysed, data lakes are growing, but lacking critical tools to deal with the management, security, and configuration. Lake Formation is a step in the right direction and worth investigating.

6. Amazon Forecast is Touted to Do Forecasting Without Any ML Experience

Amazon Forecast is the (in preview) fully managed service that’s going to allow you to do forecasting with zero machine learning experience, thus impressing your superiors. With a combination of input historical data plus other inputs you think could impact forecasting, this tool could be used throughout an organisation for an infinite number of activities (think sales forecasting, resource requests, and even staffing considerations).

Sign up for the preview to give it a spin.

7. Enhanced Workflow Capability With Additional AWS Step Functions Integrations

Piecing all your AWS services together with automation means faster application building, updating, and deploying at scale. AWS Step Functions allow you to build workflows (what Amazon calls state machines) - and maintain oversight of the state of the system.

New integrations with Step Functions named at re:Invent include DynamoDB, AWS Batch, Amazon ECS, AWS Fargate, Amazon Simple Notification Service, Amazon Simple Queue Service, AWS Glue, and Amazon Sagemaker. If you use any of these services, or are looking to add them, then check out the new Step Functions capabilities, too.

8. For Enterprises Scared of Full Cloud: Hybridization With On-Premise AWS Outposts

This one’s specifically for tech teams that want the power of AWS but are suffering pressure from above to continue with on-premise service delivery: AWS Outposts.

Outposts offers fully native AWS services on-premise, so you can take advantage of everything that AWS has to offer without having to off-site services that your organisation wants to keep fully in-house. Work hybrid or remain fully in-house - a trial of AWS Outposts could be the chance to prove to management just how much more efficient AWS services can make your working life (and their bottom line).

It pays to keep regular tabs on what AWS are up to with their product offerings, with their cloud infrastructure solution-set continuing to grow along with the latest advancements in tech. We often recommend AWS solutions and run some of them behind the scenes ourselves. If you’d like more info on how AWS services can modernize and optimize operations in your organisation then get in touch.

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Benjamin Wootton

Co-Founder and CTO

Benjamin Wootton is the Co-Founder and CTO of Contino. He has worked with tens of enterprise organisations on DevOps transformation and is a hands-on DevOps engineer with expertise in cloud and containers.

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