AWS re:Invent kicked off Day 4 with its third and final keynote speech, delivered by Amazon.com’s CTO, Dr. Werner Vogels. 2nd Watch was up early with the birds and excited to hear about the architectural investments AWS is making this year.
The name of the game of this keynote was micro. From Nitro to Fargate to use cases at Vanguard, AWS had microservices up on its moodboard because it allows for more efficient services, greater customization, and speedier deployments.
Vogels began the keynote on Nitro System, AWS’ innovative virtualization platform that will be supporting core services. Hypervisors are integral to the cloud and offer multiple functionalities – protecting hardware, virtualizing storage and CPU, etc. Vogels described them as “monolithic,” which translates to fewer customization options. Inspired by microservices, Nitro modularizes each of these functionalities and offloads them onto hardware and software. By breaking each of these capabilities apart, we can tailor each and build a more efficient and less costly platform for our AWS services. Nitro is at the heart of many of AWS’ newer initiatives, including Outposts, VMware, Bare Metal, and Live Updates.
Vogels also gifted us security nerds with good news – Nitro encrypts everything out of the box and passes on Domain 0 (aka Dom0). Dom0 is a critical functionality of Xen hypervisors and has special privileges allowing it to access hardware. This means that if someone can exploit Dom0, they have direct access to the hardware. In fact, Nitro prohibits admin access entirely.
Clare Liguori, Principal Software Engineer for AWS, took the stage next to reinforce re:Invent’s earlier announcement that Fargate will be supporting EKS. With a clever trivia game demonstration, Clare showed how Fargate allows for better capacity and efficiently isolates containers. She also spent time on Firecracker – a lightweight micro-VMs for containers and serverless applications. She even threw the repo on screen for us! https://github.com/firecracker-microvm/firecracker.
Next, Jeff Dowds, IT Executive from Vanguard, presented a compelling story of how Vanguard developed a Cloud Construction Team to adopt a serverless environment, quickly get a cloud initiative in practice, and reduce overall computing costs.
Reiterating the micro theme, Vogels came back on to discuss the theory behind their cell-based architecture, which enables evolvable architecture and reduces blast radius. Things fail all the time, and if it’s a cell rather than a monolith, it’s harder to bring down the whole architecture. Vogels then discussed Amazon Builder’s Library, which empowers users with write ups on how Amazon architects its own resources in AWS – truly a great resource for anyone building on AWS.
Next up, Sebastian de Halleax, COO of Saildrone, presented how they use AWS to innovate in new ways on the unexplored territory of oceans (wow!). Their Ocean Surveyor is mapping the sea floor and sending data in realtime using AWS. They’ll use this innovation to see how the sea affects humans and vice versa. It’s pretty great to see how AWS is leveraged to solve real world issues outside of the IT realm.
Next up was Dr. Martin Hofmann, Group CIO of Volkswagen AG, which is leveraging AWS Autonomous Factories to innovate their supply chain management. Vogels noted how most equipment is old and outdated at manufacturing plants. Autonomous Factories – used at AWS warehouse and at Volkswagen – envision automating not only manufacturing but repairing of machines. Think Wall-E!
Great closeout to a great re:Invent!
-Victoria Geronimo, Product Manager, Security & Compliance