Will you be at AWS re:Invent 2019? 2nd Watch is sponsoring the event, and we want to see you! Stop by booth #2013 to speak with a cloud solutions expert or pre-schedule your meeting with us today.
Pick up your limited-edition t-shirt and enter to win a DJI Robomaster S1 Robot, the coolest way to learn programming! After assembling the RoboMaster, drive it around firing soft pellets with the help of the on-robot camera to see where you’re aiming and driving.
2nd Watch is hiring and will also be meeting with top-talent professionals at re:Invent. If you are attending re:Invent and would like to discuss opportunities to join our dynamic team, please contact us at email@example.com. Check out our careers page to see a complete list of open positions
See you in Vegas, 2nd Watch Booth 2013!
The annual AWS re:Invent conference is nearing upon us, kicking off December 2nd in Las Vegas. We are pumped up to participate once again and to hear about all of the AWS-related product updates and customer news, not to mention more than a few parties and chances to network with fellow conference-goers. After years of sponsoring and attending the conference, here are some helpful ‘how to re:Invent’ tips we’ve compiled and a few topics we expect to hear about this year, to help you prepare for and maximize your re:Invent experience
Service release announcements
Last year at re:Invent, AWS announced Control Tower (preview). It was then released into GA on June 24, 2019. Since then, we have been keeping a close eye on its adoption as well as a potential roadmap for enhancements. The largest and most obvious of enhancements that we are hoping to see released this year at re:Invent is the ability to integrate existing accounts or organizations into Control Tower – even more specifically, the ability to pull your AWS Landing Zone into Control Tower. This will be a game changer for those who have already heavily adopted AWS and a true must for the overall success of the product.
Just like Control Tower, Security Hub (preview) also was announced last year at re:Invent and then subsequently released into GA on June 24, 2019. Security Hub is a fantastic tool that integrates with multiple AWS services such as Amazon GuardDuty, Amazon Inspector, and Amazon Macie, as well as AWS Partner solutions to monitor compliance. However, it is limited to (at time of writing this article) compliance checks based only on Center for Internet Security (CIS) AWS Foundations Benchmark. The release of integration with Cloud Custodian earlier this year did open up the potential for tons of custom-written compliance checks, but we would like to see more compliance checks released that are out-of-the-box to remove reliance on custom coding and 3rd party tooling. Based on our experience, we believe that PCI may be the next compliance check released for Security Hub.
Let’s talk about the parties
2nd Watch will be hosting its annual AWS re:Invent After Party at the Omnia Nightclub located in Caesars Palace, and it’s sure to be an epic time! There will be great food, drinks, an awesome DJ, and of course the 2nd Watch crew. This party sells out every year! Check out the details on our website.
AWS will be hosting its annual re:Play Party on December 5th and will likely lead to a few active snooze buttons the following morning. Between Broomball, Dodgeball, music, food, drinks and plenty of other entertainment it will definitely measure up to its predecessors. As Chris Traeger (Parks and Recreation) would say, “It is, literally, the best party, ever. “
You can see the full list of activities and events at https://reinvent.awsevents.com/play/.
2nd Watch Tips n’ Tricks
Over the last 7 years we have watched the AWS re:Invent conference grow from about 8,000 to 50,000+ attendees. As we have attended every year, we have picked up an abundance of tips and tricks along the way to help us survive the madness. We are excited to share some of those with you to help you get the most out of your re:Invent adventure.
- App for the win – Download and use the AWS Events app. This will help you manage your time as well as navigate around and between the venues.
- Hurry up and wait – Lines, lines, and even more lines. Have you ever been to Disneyland during spring break? We say this every year and will say it again. Book your spots early. Relying on walk-up attendance for sessions, bootcamps, etc. will likely net you a very frustrating week. Although we have been fortunate enough to hit some gems via the walk-up, it is typically rarer than finding a leprechaun in the middle of the winter with its pot of gold.
- Embrace your extravert – Consider signing up for the Hackathons, Security JAMs, Labs, Workshops, and Chalk Talks instead of just Breakout Sessions. These are often interactive and a great way to learn with your peers.
- Watch for repeats – AWS is known for adding repeat Breakout Sessions for those that are extremely popular. Keep your eye on the AWS Events app for updates throughout the week.
- Get ahead of the pack – After Andrew Jassy’s Keynote there will likely be sessions released to cover new services that were announced. Get ahead of the pack by attending these. Take note that this year Jassy’s keynote will be on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.
- Try not to boil the ocean – You will not be able to attend every session that you are interested in. Pick one learning track and try to get the most out of it. Attempting to pack in several tracks will only have you running around frantically all week.
- No fomo – Most of the sessions are recorded and posted online after re:Invent is over. Fear not if you miss a session that you had your eyes on. You can always view it later while eating your lunch or while attending another meeting about ‘why meetings are important.’
- Get engaged – Don’t be afraid to engage with presenters after the sessions. They are typically there to provide information and love answering questions. Some presenters will also offer up their contact information so you can follow up again at a later time. Don’t be shy, snag some contact cards for topics relevant to your interests.
We are sure that, after December 6th, there will be an overwhelming number of new services to sift through. Once the re:Invent 2019 hangover subsides, 2nd Watch will be at the ready to help you consume and adopt the BEST solutions for your cloud journey. Swing by our booth, #2013, for some swag and a chat. This year we are giving away DJI Robomaster S1 robots (the coolest way to learn programming), and we are excited to see you!
We also invite you to join us at one of our Breakout sessions, Simple Path to AWS Managed Services (AMS) or CCPA – State Privacy Laws Effect on Cloud Development. You can find details and add these sessions to your agenda at https://offers.2ndwatch.com/aws-reinvent-2019.
Finally, don’t forget to schedule a meeting with one of our AWS Cloud Solution Experts while you’re at re:Invent. We would love to hear all about your cloud journey! We hope you are as excited as we are this year and we look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.
-Dustin Snyder, Cloud Practice Manager
How do you make the right decisions about moving to the cloud when there are over half a million SKUs in AWS alone? In this week’s episode of the Cloud Unfiltered podcast, Ali Amagasu and Pete Johnson talk with Jeff Aden of 2nd Watch about how AWS has changed, how moving to the cloud is helping some companies save a LOT of money, and where the cost savings opportunities are for others that haven’t made the move yet.Check it out:Hosted by Ali Amagasu and Pete Johnson, Cisco Cloud Unfiltered is a series of interviews with the people that are working to move cloud technology and implementation forward.
The Cloudcast’s Aaron and Brian talk with Jeff Aden, Co-Founder and EVP at 2nd Watch, about the evolution of 2nd Watch as a Cloud Integrator as AWS has grown and shifted its focus from startups to enterprise customers. Listen to the podcast at http://www.thecloudcast.net/2019/02/evolution-of-public-cloud-integrator.html.
Topic 1 – Welcome to the show Jeff. Tell us about your background, the founding of 2nd Watch, and how the company has evolved over the last few years.
Topic 2 – We got to know 2nd Watch at one of the first AWS re:Invent shows, as they had one of the largest booths on the floor. At the time, they were listed as one of AWS’s best partners. Today, 2nd Watch provides management tools, migration tools, and systems-integration capabilities. How does 2nd Watch think of themselves?
Topic 3 – What are the concerns of your customers today, and how does 2nd Watch think about matching customer demands and the types of tools/services/capabilities that you provide today?
Topic 4 – We’d like to pick your brain about the usage and insights you’re seeing from your customers’ usage of AWS. It’s mentioned that 100% are using DynamoDB, 53% are using Elastic Kubernetes, and a fast growing section is using things likes Athena, Glue and Sagemaker. What are some of the types of applications that you’re seeing customer build that leverage these new models?
Topic 5 – With technologies like Outpost being announced, after so many years of AWS saying “Cloud or legacy Data Center,” how do you see this impacting the thought process of customers or potential customers?
Big Data and Machine Learning Services Lead the Way
If you’ve been reading this blog, or otherwise following the enterprise tech market, you know that the worldwide cloud services market is strong. According to Gartner, the market is projected to grow by 17% in 2019, to over $206 billion.
Within that market, enterprise IT departments are embracing cloud infrastructure and related services like never before. They’re attracted to tools and technologies that enable innovation, cost savings, faster-time-to-market for new digital products and services, flexibility and productivity. They want to be able to scale their infrastructure up and down as the situation warrants, and they’re enamored with the idea of “digital transformation.”
In its short history, cloud infrastructure has never been more exciting. At 2nd Watch, we are fortunate to have a front-row seat to the show, with more than 400 enterprise workloads under management and over 200,000 instances in our managed public cloud. With 2018 now in our rearview mirror, we thought this a good time for a quick peek back at the most popular Amazon Web Services (AWS) products of the past year. We aggregated and anonymized our AWS customer data from 2018, and here’s what we found:
The top five AWS products of 2018 were: Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (used by 100% of 2nd Watch customers); AWS Data Transfer (100%); Amazon Simple Storage Service (100%); Amazon DynamoDB (100%) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (100%). Frankly, the top five list isn’t surprising. It is, however, indicative of legacy workloads and architectures being run by the enterprise.
Meanwhile, the fastest-growing AWS products of 2018 were: Amazon Athena (68% CAGR, as measured by dollars spent on this service with 2nd Watch in 2018 v. 2017); Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (53%); Amazon MQ (37%); AWS OpsWorks (23%); Amazon EC2 Container Service (21%); Amazon SageMaker (21%); AWS Certificate Manager (20%); and AWS Glue (16%).
The growth in data services like Athena and Glue, correlated with Sagemaker, is interesting. Typically, the hype isn’t supported by the data, but clearly, customers are moving forward with big data and machine learning strategies. These three services were also the fastest growing services in Q4 2018.
Looking ahead, I expect EKS to be huge this year, along with Sagemaker and serverless. Based on job postings and demand in the market, Kubernetes is the most requested skill set in the enterprise. For a look at the other AWS products and services that rounded out our list for 2018, download our infographic.
– Chris Garvey, EVP Product
By now you’ve likely heard of VMware Cloud on AWS, either from the first announcement of the offering, or more recently as activity in the space has been heating up since the product has reached a state of maturity. On-premises, we loved what VMware could do for us in terms of ease of management and the full utilization of hardware resources. However, in the cloud the push for native services is ever present, and many first reactions about VMC are “Why would you do that?” This is certainly the elephant in the room whenever the topic arises. Previous experience with manually deployed VMware in the AWS cloud required nested virtualization and nearly the same care and feeding as on-premises. This further adds to initial reaction. Common sense would dictate however, that if the two 800-pound gorillas come together in the room, they may be able to take on the elephant in the room! As features have been added to the product and customer feedback implemented, it has become more and more compelling for the enormous installed base of VMware to take advantage of the offering.
What are the best features of VMware Cloud on AWS?
Some of the most attractive features of the cloud are the managed services, which reduce the administrative overhead normally required to maintain reliable and secure operations. Let’s say you want to use SQL Server in AWS. Moving to the RDS service where there is no maintenance, configuration or patching of the underlying server is an easy decision. After some time, the thought of configuring a server and installing/maintaining a RDBMS seems archaic and troublesome. You can now have your DBA focus on the business value that the database provides. VMware Cloud on AWS is no different. The underlying software and physical hardware is no longer a concern. One can always be on the optimum version of the platform with no effort, and additional hardware can be added to a cluster at the press of a button.
So, what software/service helps manage and control the entirety of your IT estate?
There are many third-party software solutions, managed service providers, and up and coming native services like Simple Systems Manager. Now imagine a cloud based managed service that works for on-premises and cloud resources, and has an existing, mature ecosystem where nearly everyone in Enterprise IT has basic to advanced knowledge. Sounds attractive, doesn’t it? That is the idea behind VMware Cloud on AWS.
The architecture of VMC is based on dedicated bare metal systems that are physically located in AWS datacenters. VMware Cloud on AWS Software Defined Datacenters (SDDCs) are deployed with a fully configured vSAN running on NVMe Flash storage local to the cluster, which currently can expand up to 32 nodes. You are free to provision the hosts anyway you see fit. This arrangement also allows full access to AWS services, and keeps resources in the same low latency network. There is also a connector between the customer’s AWS account and the VMC SDDC, allowing direct low latency access to existing AWS resources in a client VPC. For management, the hybrid linked mode gives a single logical view spanning both on-premises and VMC vCenter servers. This allows control of the complete hybrid environment with vCenter and the familiar web console.
Figure 1. VMware Cloud on AWS Overview
Below are some selected capabilities, benefits, and general information on the VMware Cloud on AWS:
- There is no immediate requirement for refactoring of existing applications, but access to AWS services allows for future modernization.
- Very little retraining of personnel is required. Existing scripts, tools and workflows are reusable.
- Easy expansion of resource footprint without deploying more physical infrastructure.
- Easy migration of VMs across specific geographies or between cloud/premises for compliance and latency reasons.
- VMware native resiliency and availability features are fully supported: including DRS for workload distribution, shared storage for clustered application support, and automatic VM restart after node failure.
- DR as a service with Site Recovery is supported, including the creation of stretched clusters. This can provide zero-RPO between AZ’s within the AWS region. This service takes advantage of the AWS infrastructure which is already designed with high availability in mind.
- VMware Horizon 7 is fully supported. This can extend on-premises desktop services without buying additional hardware and enables placement of virtual desktops near latency-sensitive applications in the cloud.
- The service has GDPR, HIPAA, ISO, and SOC attestations to enable the creation of compliant solutions.
- Region expansion is underway and two new regions have recently come online in Europe.
- Discounts are available based on existing product consumption and licensing.
- Integration with CloudFormation for automated deployment is available.
Figure 2: VMware Cloud on AWS Target use cases
So for those currently using VMware and considering a move to the cloud and/or hybrid architecture, VMware Cloud on AWS offers the most straightforward gateway into this space. The service then brings all the hundreds of services in the AWS ecosystem into play, as well as a consistent operational model, the ability to retain familiar VMware tools, policies, management, and investments in third-party tools. So instead of planning and executing your next hardware refresh and VMware version upgrade, consider migrating to VMware Cloud on AWS!
For help getting started migrating to VMware Cloud on AWS, contact us.
-Eric Deehr, Cloud Solutions Architect & Technical Product Manager