Virtualization Technology News and Information
AWS re:Invent 2017 Impressions


Article Written by David Nettles and Kevin Dillon, 2nd Watch

With AWS re:Invent 2017 still fresh on our minds, following is a recap of some of the more significant product-related announcements made at the show:

Aurora Multi-Master/Multi-Region

The concept of geographically distributed databases with multiple masters has been a long-desired solution. Why is this important? Having additional masters allows for database writes, not just reads like the traditional read replicas that have been available. 

This feature also enables a true multi-region, highly available solution that eliminates a single point of failure and achieves optimum performance. Previously, third party tools like Golden Gate and various log shipping approaches were required to accomplish proper disaster recovery and high availability.  This will greatly simplify architectures for some that want to go active-active across regions and not just availability zones. Additionally, it will enable pilot light (and more advanced) DR scenarios for customers that are not going to be using active-active configurations.

Aurora Serverless

Aurora Serverless is an on-demand, auto-scaling configuration for the Aurora MySQL and PostgreSQL compatible database service, where the database will automatically start up and scale up or down based on your application's capacity needs.

Traditionally, Aurora RDS required changing the underlying instance type to scale for database demand. This is a large benefit and cost saver for development, testing and QA environments. Even more importantly, if your workload has large spikes in demand, then auto-scaling is a game changer in the same way that EC2 auto scaling enabled automated compute flexibility.

T2 Unlimited 

T2 is one of the most popular instance types used by AWS customers. In the case of frequent, small and inconsistent workloads, T2 is the best price and performance option. However, one of the most common reasons that customers do not heavily leverage T2 is due to concerns related to a sustained spike in load that will deplete burstable credits and result in unrecoverable performance degradation. 

T2 unlimited solves this problem by essentially allowing unlimited surges over the former limits. We expect more customers will adopt T2 for those inconsistent workloads as a cost-effective solution.

Spot Capacity 

Spot instances are normally used as pools of compute that run standard AMIs and work on datasets located outside of EC2. This is because the instances are terminated when the spot price increases beyond your bid, and all data is lost. 

Now, when AWS reclaims the capacity, the instance can essentially hibernate, preserving the operating system and data, and start up again when the spot pricing is favorable. This removes another impediment in the use of spot capacity, and will be a large cost saver for environments that only need to be temporarily available.

M5 Instance Type

Given the large increase in performance of the newer processor generations, one can see significant cost savings and performance improvements by migrating to a smaller sized offering of the latest instance type that meets your application's needs.

Newer instance types can also offer higher network bandwidth as well, so don't put off the adoption of the latest products if possible.

Inter-region Peering

It's always been possible to establish peering relationships between VPCs in the same region. Inter-region Peering uses AWS private links between VPCs in different availability zones and does not transit the open internet, eliminating VPNs, etc. 

This same feature is available inter-region, which makes multi-region designs cleaner and easier to implement, without having to build and configure VPN networking infrastructure to support it, which of course also needs monitoring, patching, and other maintenance.  It was also announced that users of Direct Connect can now route traffic to almost every AWS region from a single Direct Connect circuit.

There were a few other product announcements that we found interesting, but we want to digest them a little longer before offering our assessments. We'll follow-up on these in a subsequent article.


About the Authors

David Nettles is a Solutions Architect at 2nd Watch, and Kevin Dillon is a Director and Solutions Architecture at 2nd Watch.

Published Thursday, December 14, 2017 1:37 PM by David Marshall
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