AWS re:Invent 2023 was another phenomenal conference, enjoyed by the StackZone team. We filled up our week by attending the keynotes, networking with members of the international AWS community, and learning about the latest AWS announcements. Year after year, re:Invent functions as an incredible experience where over 50,000 attendees gather in one place for a week. Let’s dive into what our highlights were as well as the top announcements from this year’s hub of cloud computing expertise.
The key themes of the event
The leadership of StackZone entailing the founder, Fernando Hönig, CEO Graham Calder, and Co-Founder Gastón Silbestein were involved in attending various keynotes as well as hosting one-to-one networking sessions with other re:Invent attendees about their cloud computing challenges and experiences. Two core themes were rife in conversations at this year’s conference.
How do we best take advantage of AI?
Generative AI usage within business has skyrocketed over the past 12 months. This was reflected by the number of announcements made at re:Invent that help businesses build AI platforms with AWS. We’re always being told that to keep up with our competitors and support our business growth, we need to be using AI. While this is completely true, many businesses feel pressure to make the right decisions to ensure they are using AI in the best possible way for their business, both from a cost-effective perspective and a business strategy perspective. We were able to discuss this with re:Invent attendees and address this concern with StackZone’s Machine Learning AWS configuration blueprint. Using this blueprint helps businesses using AI maintain the highest level of data security and meet compliance requirements.
How do we save costs in the cloud without sacrificing performance?
It has been a difficult economic few years for all and the last thing that is needed is spiraling cloud costs out of nowhere. Budget control is vital. Many of the conversations we had regarding cloud challenges involved unpredictable AWS bills and the hidden costs of cloud computing. While you can reduce your costs by reducing your workload monitoring, backup, redundancy, etc. You need to know this comes at a price; it’s like a balancing act trying to optimize your cloud costs while fulfilling performance requirements. This was an opportunity to show these businesses how exactly StackZone drives your cloud performance with powerful auto-remediations, monitoring, and features at the same time as optimizing your cloud expenditure by 35%. Most importantly, and according to our commitment to developing based on customer feedback, we listened to the AWS community and added to our roadmap a new feature that will dynamically optimize costs based on real-time usage. Stay tuned for updates.
The key announcements of AWS re:Invent 2023
The annual AWS re:Invent conference showcases the latest advancements in cloud computing, featuring key announcements, product launches, and insightful sessions. Here are the biggest ones that were announced this year:
Introducing the new AI-powered assistant, Amazon Q
Amazon Q is a generative AI-powered assistant designed for work, offering fast answers, content generation, and task automation tailored to a customer’s business. It provides personalized assistance to streamline tasks, accelerate decision-making, and spark innovation while meeting enterprise requirements. With features like guided development assistance and code transformation capabilities, Amazon Q connects to business data, systems, and applications, offering more than 40 built-in connectors for popular data sources to enhance productivity across various industries and organizational functions.
New capabilities for Amazon Bedrock
Amazon AWS has announced the general availability of Amazon Bedrock, a fully managed service that facilitates building and scaling generative AI applications, offering features such as AI-assisted coding, generative AI for business analysts, and secure customization of code suggestions. Additionally, AWS introduced five generative AI innovations, including the availability of Amazon Titan Embeddings, a family of models supporting various use cases, and a forthcoming collaboration with Meta’s Llama 2. The enhancements aim to empower organizations of all sizes to leverage generative AI, enhancing productivity and transforming businesses with security, choice, and performance.
AWS Control Tower now makes it easier to meet compliance with newly added controls
AWS has expanded AWS Control Tower with 65 purpose-built controls, addressing digital sovereignty requirements by enabling users to define, implement, and manage controls governing the storage, transfer, and processing of data at scale. The controls support aspects like operator access, data access restrictions, and encryption strategies, allowing customization based on evolving digital sovereignty needs. AWS Control Tower provides a consolidated view of controls, compliance status, and evidence across multiple accounts, offering flexibility for users in regulated sectors to meet specific data residency obligations without compromising innovation or growth.
The introduction of Amazon One Enterprise
Amazon AWS has introduced Amazon One Enterprise, a palm-based identity service designed to enhance organizational security, reduce operational costs, and provide convenience for users accessing physical spaces and digital assets. The fully managed service offers biometric identification through palm recognition technology, ensuring high accuracy and secure access control, while also simplifying authentication management for security administrators through the AWS Management Console.
A new cost optimization hub for streamlined savings
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has unveiled Cost Optimization Hub, a new feature within AWS Billing and Cost Management, aiming to simplify the identification, filtering, and quantification of savings related to AWS cost optimization recommendations. The hub enables interactive queries across multiple AWS Regions and accounts, offering insights into potential savings from various recommendations such as idle resource detection, resource rightsizing, and purchasing options. Cost Optimization Hub consolidates recommended actions from AWS Cloud Financial Management services, providing a centralized view of opportunities, including customer-specific pricing, discounts, and deduplicated findings.
Updates to IAM Access Analyzer
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has introduced two new features for IAM Access Analyzer. The first feature, Unused Access Analyzer, continuously monitors roles and users, identifying permissions that are granted but not utilized. The second feature, Custom Policy Checks, validates newly authored policies to ensure they do not grant unintended permissions, offering tighter control over IAM policies and enabling automated policy reviews in CI/CD pipelines.
Detect runtime security threats with Amazon GuardDuty ECS Runtime Monitoring
Amazon GuardDuty introduces ECS Runtime Monitoring, enhancing security for Amazon ECS clusters on AWS Fargate and Amazon EC2 by detecting potential runtime security issues. Leveraging machine learning, anomaly detection, network monitoring, and malicious file discovery, GuardDuty generates security findings that are seamlessly integrated with AWS Security Hub, Amazon EventBridge, and Amazon Detective. The new ECS Runtime Monitoring feature checks for various threat vectors, including file access, process execution, and network connections, providing visibility into container runtime behaviors with a lightweight, managed security agent.
We’re thrilled with these announcements. They collectively elevate AWS services, enhancing users’ capabilities across innovation, security, cost management, and containerized environments.
StackZone’s highlights at AWS re:Invent
Once again, AWS re:Invent was a truly unforgettable experience. With an international team, the week-long conference also serves as an opportunity for our team to gather, align our focus, and prioritize as we enter the new year. Our highlights included:
The keynote with Dr. Werner Vogels
On day four of the conference, Dr. Werner Vogels introduced the audience to the concept of The Frugal Architect. Essentially, you need to always build with cost in mind from the outset. Being a Frugal Architected involves following 7 laws to prevent wastage of costs and at the same time, increase your sustainability:
- Make cost a non-functional requirement just like how we view security, availability, performance, etc.
- Systems that last align cost to business – Werner describes: “Find the dimension you’re going to make money over, then make sure that the architecture follows the money.” This means you always align cost with revenue.
- Architecting is a series of trade-offs between functional and functional and nonfunctional requirements, as a designer.
- Unobserved systems lead to unknown costs; which is why visibility into your costs is key and helps you make better decisions.
- Cost-aware architectures implement cost controls – You can’t just rely on good intentions. You need to put mechanisms in place.
- Cost optimization is incremental – Find savings opportunities to stop, rightsize, shift, and reduce.
- Unchallenged success leads to assumptions – Maintain a culture that is all about learning and advancement.
Thoughts from the Founder of StackZone, Fernando Hönig
“re:Invent 2023 was an invigorating immersion into groundbreaking advancements, and the latest announcements have illuminated exciting opportunities for StackZone’s evolution. These innovations could redefine how we approach our solutions, empowering us to deliver even greater value to our users.”
Planning StackZone’s goals in 2024
We used this time to:
- Define what industries will be next to be covered in our blueprints
- Discuss what features should be at the top of our roadmap
- Share findings from our personal research
- Collaborate on the individual discussions we have had with various businesses, and what cloud challenges were standing out.
In summary, AWS re:Invent 2023 marked a pivotal moment for StackZone, with a focus on two key themes: optimizing AI usage and navigating cloud costs. The conference unveiled groundbreaking AWS announcements, aligning seamlessly with our commitment to providing efficient and cost-effective cloud solutions. The team is particularly excited about innovations such as Amazon Q, enhancements to Amazon Bedrock, and the Cost Optimization Hub. Looking ahead to 2024, we’re eager to share our insights and innovative console with businesses. You can see firsthand how StackZone aligns with the Frugal Architect principles, driving significant cost optimization while ensuring stellar performance, by booking a demo. It’s an invitation to join StackZone on the journey toward a more cost-effective and efficient cloud future.