AWS re:Invent: Enterprise Cloud Management Impressions from the Show Floor Part 1

November 18, 2014 Thomas Orozco

The third annual AWS Re:Invent conference did not disappoint. With several new features announced on stage this week, there is a lot to synthesize. Let’s start with Amazon Aurora.


Amazon Web Services Re Invent

Amazon Aurora is a new MySQL-compatible database engine for AWS's RDS that is purported to be significantly faster than standard MySQL. Designed for the cloud from the ground up, Aurora automatically resizes storage so that users don’t have to take their database off-line to resize the underlying storage. Separately, Aurora replicates storage across multiple AWS availability zones to ensure data persistence and availability. 


Amazon Aurora will definitely be a competitor to other proprietary systems for data management jobs. As AWS continues to up the ante on how much IT can manage in the cloud, let’s look at their next announcement: AWS Config.


A security and governance tool, AWS Config pushes notifications to Amazon’s Simple Notification Service (SNS) when changes occur to the infrastructure. As a  system auditing tool that reactively alerts IT to configuration changes that might put the environment out of compliance, AWS Config is helpful for answering the question, “what changed?” and to help troubleshoot policy violations. AWS Config also provides an AWS resource inventory, discovering all resources that exist in your account for supported services.  


While auditing and troubleshooting are helpful functions, at Scalr we like to focus on proactive prevention – establishing and enforcing policies that prevent misconfiguration or compliance mistakes from happening in the first place. With Scalr’s cloud management platform (and specifically with its IT Governance framework), these policies can also be managed across multiple cloud providers, not just within AWS.


On the horizon is their new AWS Service Catalog, an end-user-oriented UI and API for CloudFormation. For those not familiar with it, AWS' CloudFormation is a tool to create and manage a collection of related AWS resources, provisioning and updating them through the use of templates. Using AWS Service Catalog, administrators can register products (CloudFormation templates) which end-users can then consume. AWS Service Catalog will also give administrators a level of control over who can access what products, and the ability to revision-control the products offered to end-users, giving them the ability to deprecate an old stack.


While CloudFormation has not traditionally been overly user-friendly, we hope that AWS brings a friendlier, easier-to-use UI to the table. More importantly, we applaud the recognition by AWS that there is a need for a better system to manage complex CloudFormation templates, and that it is important to offer an organized, curated collection of AWS services within a given organization. Obviously, we couldn’t agree more, which is why  Scalr provides a holistic view into an organization’s hybrid cloud services.


Too many announcements for just one post, look for a second article soon with even more insights from AWS re:Invent! 


Find out how Expedia is putting their hybrid cloud framework to work to improve the efficiency of IT self-service provisioning.



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