Key Takeaways from AWS re:Invent 2018

by Chris Townsend

Another year has flown by and another Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent conference has come and gone. AWS re:Invent was hosted across multiple hotels on the Las Vegas strip and brought 50,000+ technical professionals, vendors, and partners together to spend five days totally immersed in the platform and new features built to improve the cloud experience and performance.

With so many new features and releases, the AWS team at iVision found it extremely hard to narrow it down to the ones we wanted to share with you today. Without further ado, here are the top three questions we look forward to helping our clients answer in the coming year.

Is your cloud environment following best practices?

Chris Townsend - ConsultantThe cloud is always changing and architecting for the public cloud requires very different parameters than a private cloud environment. Over the past few years, AWS has been talking about their Well-Architected Framework program and how it is designed to help customers architect their cloud environments. With a focus on the pillars of Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency, and Cost Optimization, customers would be able to make a request to AWS to have a certified AWS Partner or an AWS Solution Architect perform a Well-Architected review. Big news: as of November 2018, you no longer have to submit this request; any customer is now able to perform their own Well-Architected review by using the Well-Architected tool. The tool walks you through the review questions about the environment and settings for each of the Pillars. When complete, the tool generates a report that summarizes the workload and provides videos and documentation around the best practices.

Want to know the best way to build an application or your environment?

Aaron Woods - Associate ConsultantThe AWS re:Invent Conference used the best practices towards Daily Cloud Operations. One of the hotly discussed topics was that of moving to the cloud. What might be best practice for your on-premise environment can differ greatly in your cloud environment. When companies move their environment to the cloud, they often neglect to make the necessary adaptations. Wallace Simpson, Cloud Ops Program Manager, and Orion Bijleveld, Cloud Ops Engineer, shared some of the issues they went through with Daily Operations. The key takeaways they mentioned were:

  • Using CloudFormation to build a cold DR solution
  • Using Amazon’s metadata to make your scripts even more platform-agnostic
  • Creating an environment that can automatically scale up and down

Simpson shared the struggles he faced when he performed a task the “on-prem” way, while Bijleveld shared his practice when he did the tasks “the cloud way.” One mistake that most companies make is not utilizing the services given by a cloud provider, which can prolong or even hinder building their environment. The common thread for many of these sessions was finding the right way to leverage best practices. Check out this great video on “A Day in the Life” of a Cloud Engineer for more information.

Need more insight into your environment that gives an in-depth view of your high priority security items?

Alvin Fortenberry - Associate ConsultantOne of the new services that was introduced during AWS re:Invent 2018 was AWS Security Hub. AWS Security Hub provides a central place for data from services such as Amazon Macie and Amazon GuardDuty. These security alerts can be aggregated with insights that allow you to correlate and prioritize alerts. Security Hub also encompasses 43 fully-automated, nearly continuous checks which are able to provide a compliance score based on findings for each account. These findings can then be viewed across synced dashboards showcasing the security statuses for all of your accounts. These dashboards allow for easier identification of issues which allow you to recognize potential issues, set up automated responses, or create tickets etc. This service is integrated with CloudWatch and is currently a multi-account and single region service that is available at no cost during this free preview period. The only prerequisite is that you have AWS config running in your account. Learn more about AWS Security Hub and how it can improve your security posture.

Not surprisingly, one of the overarching themes at this year’s re:Invent conference was security. As Werner Volgos, CTO of Amazon.com says, “Dance like no one is watching but encrypt like everyone is.” At iVision, we are ready to help your organization implement cloud best practices, bolster security, and, in general, implementing all the new features that AWS and other technologies release through the year. Contact us to find out how we can help your team improve!

Did you attend AWS re:Invent? Leave us a comment with your favorite aspect or any questions you may have!


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