re:Invent Round-Up of AWS DevOps Announcements

re:Invent Round-Up of AWS DevOps Announcements

By Flux7 Labs
December 21, 2020

As Werner Vogels, AWS CTO, took the stage at re:Invent this week, he had a clear message for builders: there has never been a more important time to stop, assess your needs and assure you are focusing on the right things. He emphasized several key mechanisms AWS will use to help support developers in this endeavor in 2021, meeting them where they are to grow dependability, tracing, logging, and monitoring, and address global issues like climate change. These themes were reiterated in the AWS infrastructure keynote given by Peter DeSantis, SVP, AWS Infrastructure & Support. Read on for key highlights and AWS DevOps announcements from both keynotes.

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Meeting Energy Efficiency Goals

As the co-founder of the Climate Pledge, AWS has made a strong commitment to energy efficiency, setting a goal to become carbon net-zero by 2040 and to use 100% renewable energy by 2030. Power is critical to reaching carbon goals, according to DeSantis. And AWS is on track to hit its renewable energy objective by 2025, five years ahead of its target. Helping AWS reach these goals are:

  • 3,400 megawatts of new renewable energy projects including facilities in Italy, France, South Africa, and Germany. This brings the AWS renewable energy investment in 2020 to 4,200 megawatts of renewable power across 35 wind and solar farms. DeSantis proudly notes that AWS’s renewable energy procurement is the largest of any single company in a single year.
  • The Graviton2 which now offers 2-3.5x better performance per watt energy than other AWS processor.
  • New micro USPs that offer a 35% reduction in energy conversion loss.

While the multi-tenant nature of the cloud offers innate efficiency as it helps maximize server consumption, AWS is committed to further drawing down the industry’s carbon impact. For example, Vogels notes in his presentation that moving systems to the cloud can result in an 88% reduction in carbon footprint, according to data from 451 Research. However, beyond that, energy efficiency can be gained from more efficient data center facilities, reduced energy consumption and increased server utilization.

DeSantis said, “the greenest energy is the energy you don’t use.” And AWS is helping app builders find ways to reach their own sustainability goals and reduce the amount of energy they use. One way they plan to help builders is through AWS Solution Architects who are now available to help developers assess the sustainability impacts of their architecture, software and hardware patterns and development and deployment processes to ensure they are optimized for sustainability.

Meeting Developers Where They Are

With a work anytime from anywhere culture growing across industries and within enterprises, developers are eager to have more tools that enable this approach to work. As a result, AWS has introduced another way to meet developers where they are with AWS CloudShell. Available now, CloudShell gives developers a way to access AWS resources and tools from their browser via command line.

The browser-based shell is available from the AWS Management Console and gives users access to an Amazon Linux 2 environment and preconfigured credentials, giving users the same API permissions as when they open their console. This means operators don’t have to manage multiple profiles or API credentials for different dev, test and prod environments. Vogels says it’s simple to start a new session and use the preinstalled CLIs and AWS tools right away. It’s a fully-featured shell environment so users can install any other tool they may need.


Beyond uptime, availability, fault tolerance or another of sub-components, Vogels emphasized the importance of dependability, which he defines as avoiding unacceptable failure. (Unacceptable is defined by the business.)  To help developers ensure their systems are dependable, many organizations use chaos engineering techniques to test an application’s weaknesses. To help engineers run chaos experiments more effective, AWS announces AWS Fault Injection Simulator.

Coming in early 2021, Fault Injection Simulator lets engineering teams run real-world scenarios without the need for agents. As a fully managed chaos engineering service, Fault Injection Simulator helps developers easily set up and run controlled experiments across a range of AWS services; it can inject faults like latency or failure of underlying systems and can even control play level faults like API toppling or server errors, that weren’t possible before.

On the topic of durability, DeSantis shared the depth of its efforts to ensure the dependability of AWS systems and services. From concurrent maintainability with redundancy to containing the blast radius of any number of components across the data center, DeSantis was unequivocal in sharing AWS’s attention to detail when it comes to dependability. The capstone of his presentation was the announcement of new regions this year — in Switzerland, Indonesia, and Spain – and the founding of second regions in India, Japan, and Australia, with the Australian expansion announced just this week.

Tracing, Logging, Monitoring

Vogels concluded his presentation by discussing the importance of monitoring, logging, and tracing. While monitoring, he says, means you know what is important already and have set metrics to watch them, logging is the most important thing to get right. To help operators log their systems, Vogels announced:

  • Amazon Managed Service for Grafana. In preview, this new service helps operators create Grafana workspaces to assess data from multiple sources. Amazon Managed Service for Grafana gives AWS operators greater application observability by centralizing it into a single dashboard. Making it easier to obtain this level of visibility, Amazon Managed Service for Grafana, “manages the provisioning, setup, scaling, version upgrades and security patching of Grafana, eliminating the need for customers to do it themselves.”  The service integrates with AWS data sources and the newly announced Amazon Managed Service for Prometheus.
  • Amazon Managed Service for Prometheus. Also in preview, the Amazon Managed Service for Prometheus offers operators a fully-managed completely compatible Prometheus service. “It supports the same metrics, the same PromQLqueries, and can also make use of the 150+ Prometheus exporters,” according to AWS. The preview gives operators support for Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) and it can also monitor self-managed Kubernetes clusters running in the cloud or on-premises.

Don’t miss the other announcements that came out of this year’s AWS re:Invent:

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Written by Flux7 Labs

Flux7, an NTT DATA Company, is the only Sherpa on the DevOps journey that assesses, designs, and teaches while implementing a holistic solution for its enterprise customers, thus giving its clients the skills needed to manage and expand on the technology moving forward. Not a reseller or an MSP, Flux7 recommendations are 100% focused on customer requirements and creating the most efficient infrastructure possible that automates operations, streamlines and enhances development, and supports specific business goals.