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AWS re:Invent 2018: Global Partner Summit Keynote Recap

AWS re:Invent 2018 kicked off with the Global Partner Summit Keynote this morning, where many interesting data points about the growth of the global partner ecosystem were shared by Terry Wise, along with a vision of the future from Andy Jassy.

This was the 7th Global partner summit, and given the incredible range of solutions created by AWS partners and the growth of AWS, the summit is now 10 times larger than at its inception, and the partner ecosystem is 30 times larger!  AWS has grown 46% since 2017, thousands of new customers have been gained, and this momentum has been driven, to a large degree, by AWS -partners like 2nd Watch.

Strategic partnerships are also key to AWS’ business scale.  New AWS instance types with up 12TB of memory are available to support SAP HANA, and AWS is now the #1 location to run SAP, even over on-premises!  The VMware Cloud on AWS offering now has the support of over 200 partners, and customer success stories about the ease of migration are racking up.  Also, worldwide share of hosting Windows workloads are growing, and AWS hosts 57%, compared to 30% and 11% on Azure and other solutions, respectively.

During this session there was a focus on the AWS marketplace, which has greatly expanded in its role to help connect partners to clients.  AWS noted that there are now 950K subscriptions to partner solutions. There have also been 100 new software vendors this year and 300 new product listings. In addition, there is the new AWS Solution space, which features solutions built for featured use cases by AWS Competency Partners like 2nd Watch.

Both Terry Wise and Andy Jassy gave insights into the areas where partners will be critical to success and adoption of AWS in the future.  Some of the highlights included:

  • AI and ML: Over the next 5 years adoption and integration of these services is set to rapidly expand.
  • Serverless: The basic unit of compute is getting smaller, with container services like ECS and EKS growing quickly, as well as management of containers with Fargate expanding.  There is also adoption of event driven serverless solutions.  This microservice architecture uses smaller components for better performance and lower cost.  Also, AWS expanded the AWS Competency Program to include Container Competency for ECS and ECS for Kubernetes designations.
  • AWS Connect: Call center services are seeing fast adoption, and the service is enabling a great reduction in call volume.
  • Data management: Clients need help with getting data into the cloud, including a proper landing zone with a secure multi account environment.  This is a daunting task that clients get paralyzed with and/or don’t implement solutions with guard rails or security services.  Partners can help implement data lakes to transform the data and take advantage of the analytics and machine learning capabilities in AWS.
  • AWS SaaS Factory: The AWS SaaS Factory program provides a broad range of business and technical enablement resources for building, migrating, and optimizing software-as-a-service (SaaS) on AWS.   This allows a secure solution for multi-tenant architectures.
  • AR, VR, IoT: These emerging technologies are maturing and ripe for third parties to develop solutions and will soon become mainstream.

Despite these advanced services, the consensus is that the industry is currently into the meat of public cloud adoption.  Businesses need help with migration solutions, including portfolio assessment and mass migration.  This is expected to expand as the economy grows.

The key takeaway is that partners innovate on behalf of the client and create long term relationships that help clients take advantage of the fast pace of AWS service enhancements.  To see how 2nd Watch can do this for you, contact us.

-Eric Deehr – Cloud Solutions Architect


Meet 2nd Watch at AWS re:Invent 2018

Will you be at AWS re:Invent 2018? 2nd Watch is sponsoring the event, and we want to see you! Stop by booth #2440 to speak with a cloud solutions expert or pre-schedule your meeting with us today.

Plus, pick up your limited-edition 2nd Watch t-shirt – back by popular demand, The Datafather t-shirt! – and enter to win an Amazon DeepLens. And don’t forget about the 2nd Watch After Party! Request your invitation to one of the hottest parties at re:Invent. You’ve worked hard. You deserve a little fun.

Last, 2nd Watch is hiring and will 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 our team at careers@2ndwatch.com or check out our careers page to see a complete list of open positions

See you in Vegas!

-Nicole Maus, Marketing Manager


What to Expect at AWS re:Invent 2018

The annual AWS re:Invent conference is just around the corner kicking off on November 26th in Las Vegas. Rest assured, there will be lots of AWS-related products, partners, and customer news, not to mention more than a few parties and chances to network with fellow conference-goers. Here are some helpful tips and a few topics we expect to hear about this year.

1. Enterprise Security – Always a hot topic.

As Enterprise cloud adoption continues to grow at an increasing pace, so does the need for strong governance and security offerings. This year we have seen many new releases and enhancements from AWS to beef up its security offerings. Amazon Guard Duty was released at re:Invent 2017, so we may see some new capabilities announced such as improved integration with other new or existing AWS services.

GRC is not just for your old data center anymore. Governance, Risk and Compliance is vital for long-term success of your adoption of the cloud. With the initial release of AWS Compliance Center for Financial Services in early September, we anticipate some updates there as well.

The dynamic nature of the cloud continues to create specific challenges for security. Better security and visibility for ephemeral resources, such as containers, and especially for AWS Lambda, are a particular challenge. We would be extremely surprised if we didn’t see some more announcements in this area.

2. Will CEO Andy Jassy finally bring me the Transit VPC Service I’ve been dreaming of?

For many years we have had the architectural challenge of transitive routing in AWS, and for many years I have sat in attendance at the re:Invent keynote in awe over Andy Jassy and Werner Vogels, hanging on their every last word as they masterfully fire out new product releases like it was some sort of magic show, many of us hoping they would one day announce that they are going to solve this transitive routing challenge with a cloud native AWS service. But alas, each year it has been like opening all your Christmas gifts only to find the one thing you really, really hoped for was nowhere to be found. Will this finally be the year? Will Santa Jassy bring us the easy button for transitive routing? With the recent releases and lots of extensive activity around Transit VPC via CFT in combination with Lambda, tags and Cisco CSR’s, it feels like we’re almost there. Surely they will not let another year pass. My bet is this is the year we see it come to fruition. I will get my most sought-after gift this year. I will get my Atari 2600, my Optimus Prime, my AT-AT Walker. You bet I will! Well, at least I hope.

3. General Releases – ‘nuff said!

Amazon Data Lifecycle Manager was released in July of this year and is a simple way to schedule and manage EBS volume backups without relying on a third-party tool. We expect to see expansion into more regions and are hopeful for more granular snapshot timing options. Currently it only allows scheduled backups to run every 12 or 24 hours.

As has become the norm, we anticipate new instance types and/or families to be announced. Last year we saw M5 and H1 instance types as well as Bare Metal instances (preview) introduced. Per an article by Jeff Barr earlier this year, Bare Metal Instances with 6 TB, 9 TB, 12 TB, and more memory are in the works, all designed specifically for SAP HANA and other in-memory workloads. We wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort focus around this.

4. Parties, let’s get this place rockin’!

2nd Watch will be teaming up with Palo Alto Networks this year to host its annual party at the Omnia Nightclub located in Caesars Palace.  There will be great food, an open bar, an awesome DJ, and of course friends from years past. Every year this is a sold out party, so if you’re not yet on the guest list, request your invitation at https://offers.2ndwatch.com/aws-reinvent-2018. We’d love to connect with you, and it’s a party you will not want to miss.

In keeping with a long-running tradition, AWS’ re:Play Party will be off the chain and likely cause some rough flights home the next day. Last year, DJ Snake spun the night away while attendees bounced on mega castles, played games and took advantage of the open bar. Amazon Web Services always pulls out all the stops, and we expect this year they will continue to raise the bar.

2nd Watch Tips & Tricks

Last, we want to offer up some information we think will be beneficial to maximize your time at re:Invent. Here are a few tips & tricks we have learned over the past 6 years (Wow! Has it been that long already?)

  • Avoid walkup breakout sessions, unless there is a very short, or no, line. Many people have waited up to 2 hours for a walkup breakout session only to be turned away at the door due to a full house. Have no fear, friends! All of the breakout sessions are recorded and will be posted online, so if you can’t make one live, use your lunch break to play catch up once you get home.
  • Consider signing up for the Hackathons, Security JAMs, Labs, Workshops, and Chalk Talks instead of breakout sessions. These are usually a really good investment of your re:Invent time where you get to interact and learn a lot. These are often not recorded and shared online, so taking advantage of these in person is a great opportunity not available after re:Invent is over.
  • Avoid relying on the shuttle service if you have limited time between events in different hotels. Instead, consider using the Monorail system. This now seems to be the fastest and most consistent way to get around. Plan ahead, though, so you know where the entrances are, as you may not have time to do that while you are racing from event to event.

In Closing

We are sure that there will be many new acronyms to learn after this year and lots of new services to sift through. One thing we do know for certain is that once the re:Invent dust has settled,  2nd Watch will be at the ready and by your side to help you consume and adopt the BEST solutions for your cloud journey. Swing by our booth, #2440, for some swag and a chat. This year we are giving away Amazon DeepLens cameras, and we are super excited to see you!

We also invite you to join us at our breakout session, ‘Proven Methodologies for Accelerating Your Cloud Journey.’ Here you will learn how to accelerate your journey to the cloud while implementing a cloud-first strategy without sacrificing the controls and standards required in a large, publicly-traded enterprise.

  • Benefit from insights developed from working with some of the most recognized brands in the world.
  • Discover how these household names leverage automation, CI / CD, and a modular approach to workload design to ensure consistent application of their security and governance requirements.
  • Learn which approaches to use when transforming workloads to cloud native technologies, including serverless and containers.

With this approach, business users can finally receive properly governed resources without delaying or disrupting their need for agility, flexibility and cloud scale.

Finally, don’t forget to schedule a meeting with one of our AWS Professional Certified Architects, DevOps or Engineers while you’re at re:Invent. We would love to hear all about your cloud journey needs! That is all for now, we hope you are as excited as we are this year and can’t wait to see you in Las Vegas.

– Dustin Snyder, Cloud Practice Manager


ICYMI: 6 Key Announcements from VMworld for VMware on AWS

It’s been about one month since VMworld 2018, and the focus was heavy on VMware on AWS.  Let’s review 6 of the major announcements around the offering and what’s coming next.

  1. NSX Upgrades

If you’re familiar with NSX, we’re looking at the upgrade of NSX-V to NSX-T inside of the VMware on AWS environment.  This is going to open a lot of new functionality for users as it’s a “cloud-ready” version of the product.  We saw this with the announcement of NSX micro-segmentation and security upgrades (Distributed Firewall) and with the changes to the Direct Connect to allow NSX to pass both management and compute traffic across the private link.  We’re excited to see the NSX-T load balancing options on the roadmap and look forward to testing those out.

  1. Node Counts and Discounts

The minimum number of nodes to run in the SDDC was reduced from 4 to 3, effectively reducing the price to get in the door by 25%.  They further offered to only charge you for 2 of the 3 nodes for 90 days.  This effectively gets you down to half price.  For clients looking to use SDDC for smaller datacenters or as a pilot light to DR, this is very good news.  But let’s be honest, 4 nodes were still cheaper than your physical DR datacenter.  Note that a two-host SDDC cluster is on the roadmap, so look for that entry price point to be even cheaper.

  1. New Instance and Storage Options

VMware on AWS now has the option to choose the R5.metal instance type instead of the i3.metal instance type.  With this instance type there are a number of important changes.  First, the hosts are 50% bigger than the i3 instance type.  Secondly, you can only get EBS based storage that comes between 15Tb – 35Tb in size (in 5Tb increments).  These EBS disks for the R5 will be available over iSCSI networking paths as opposed to being connected directly with the i3.  There might be a case where the performance will dictate one or the other.  We hope to see more instance types in the future and, on the storage front, are excited about shared disks on the roadmap so we can run our classic active/passive sql clusters and cut our sql licencing bill in half.

  1. Speaking of Licensing, Custom Core Counts

When enterprise software is licensed by core (*cough* oracle *cough), having flexibility to choose/limit core counts can save a lot of money.

  1. HCX or should I say “NSX Hybrid Connect”?

HCX got a lot of love and a rebranding.  With the new VMware Cloud Motion with vSphere Replication feature for HCX you can live migrate thousands of vms reliably.  Basically, you schedule your migration, and the data is pre-migrated and ready for the final move when you are.  VMware HCX was rebranded as NSX Hybrid Connect.

  1. Sydney

VMware announced its new region in APAC and is continuing to push for new regions on an aggressive release cycle.  The next regions on the roadmap are Tokyo, Ohio, north CA, and Dublin.  We hope that Tokyo is soon so that APAC gains a pairing for regional active/passive failover strategies.

That’s our list of 6 major VMware on AWS announcements from VMWorld and a review of the roadmap for features coming down the pipe. If you’re interested in learning more about VMware on AWS, contact us.

-Coin Graham, Principal Consultant


AWS re:Invent 2016 – The CUBE

Covanta Energy and 2nd Watch talk with SiliconANGLE Media at AWS re:Invent 2016. Find out why Covanta decided to go all-in on Amazon Web Services and how 2nd Watch helped them make the transition in only 16 weeks.


AWS re:Invent Daily Recap – Thursday

After the deluge of announcements during Andy Jassy’s Wednesday keynote, I had a hard time imagining what else AWS could possibly have left to announce yesterday. Of course, in typical AWS fashion, they had a lot more to talk about.

Summit Keynote

Werner Vogel, Amazon’s CTO, laid out a strong case that developers, data analysts, and basically just about anyone involved with data spend 80 percent of their time preparing data to become usable — and not always successfully — while only spending 20% of their time on the actually analysis and use of that information. He laid out a vision for a new, modern data architecture – one that would flip that equation and therefore transform the way with which we can generate value and insight from all our data sources. The transformer theme, woven throughout Vogel’s talk (and even his shirt), was so pronounced that one wonders why the new AWS Snowmobile didn’t have an Optimus Prime paint job.

New Announcements

In pursuit of enabling this transformation, the Keynote showcased a large number of new and enhanced services, most centered around removing a lot of the scut work that reduces development speed, efficiency, and agility.

AWS OpsWorks for Chef: A fully managed Chef Automation environment that helps take a lot of the work out of continuous deployment.

Amazon EC2 Systems Manager: A suite of tools for task automation, package installation, resource configuration, and patching on Amazon EC2.

AWS Codebuild: A fully managed and extensible build service for compiling source code and running unit s. Codebuild integrates with a wide array of AWS services, and helps make CI/CD pipelines more efficient.

Personal Health Dashboard: Allowing developers to gain visibility into service health issues that may be affecting their application.

Amazon X-Ray: Another debuting tool, X-Ray lets developers analyze, visualize and debug distributed applications and identify performance bottlenecks.

AWS Shield: A new AWS security tool designed to provide layer 3/4 DDoS protection to web applications.

AWS Batch: Batch offers fully-managed, highly scalable batch processing without having to install batch processing software, manage servers, or worry about the finer points of job scheduling.

AWS Glue : A fully-managed data catalog and ETL service that makes it easy to transfer data among data stores while also simplifying associated tasks such as data discovery, conversion, and mapping.

Amazon Pinpoint: A new analytics tool to improve the behavioral analysis and engagement with mobile customers.

AWS Step Functions: Lets developers organize the components of distributed applications using visual workflows. Users can step through functions at scale, improving debugging.

Blox: A collection of open source projects for container management and orchestration.

Lambda@Edge: While just a preview at this point, this service enables Lambda functions at AWS edge locations, as well as execution in response to CloudFront events.

Sessions and Events

As usual, the conference agenda was stuffed to the gills with interesting and useful events, session, and demos. The meat of AWS, of course, is the wide array of breakout sessions. I was able to attend a few, three of which were particularly strong.

Lee Atchison from New Relic gave a particularly interesting talk on cloud monitoring and how best to architect applications and infrastructure to ensure they are fully measurable. This is challenging under any circumstances, but particularly so as applications and their underlying resources become more dynamic, more ephemeral. Gannet News discussed how they were able to transform their systems in this regard, offering a lot of insight into how to create and manage dynamic IT.

More architectural advice, this time with a focus on security, came from an AWS-led session on architecting end-to-end security in the enterprise, while a related session, also AWS-led, explored how to best automate security event response in such an architecture. This last is critical to have scalability and predictability when remediating security issues. In combination, these two sessions helped lay out an approach for highly dynamic, manageable, and secure systems.

The expo hall was very heavily-trafficked, with booths offering monitoring solutions and security analysis and governance being especially busy. IoT was also a topic of great interest during the conference, with several intriguing vendor offerings.

Check back Monday for our full conference recap.

-John Lawler, Sr. Product Manager