The Pulse

The official blog of Sentinel Technologies

Highlights from AWS re:Invent 2021

Wed December 15, 2021

Like many things in 2020, the AWS re:Invent conference was not an in-person event. Still in the middle of a pandemic, the choice was made to put all of the sessions, workshops, and keynotes online so people could attend virtually. As the number of infections declined and life began to return to some semblance of normalcy earlier this year, organizers decided that re:Invent could also return to convention centers provided a number of safety measures were in place to protect attendees. First, overall capacity was limited to only about 20,000 people total, compared to 2019 when more than 60,000 were in attendance. Second, there were vaccine and mask requirements to ensure everyone had multiple levels of protection from potential infection when gathered closely together indoors in large groups. Lastly, those uncomfortable with the health restrictions still had the option of streaming certain events and sessions from home. That said, a few members of the Sentinel team chose to make the trip to Las Vegas for the five-day event from November 29th through December 3rd. They listened to speeches, participated in interactive sessions, spent some time networking, and even held a special happy hour for Sentinel partners and customers. A great time was had by all. Here's a short summary of the experience, complete with some important news and takeaways from the 2021 AWS re:Invent conference.

The first thing AWS was proud to note at this year's re:Invent conference was their accelerating level of success. The company earned around $12 billion in revenue back in 2016, and as more organizations continue to invest in the cloud that amount has increased at a significant rate. They are currently on track to generate more than $65 billion in 2021, an anticipate reaching a trillion of revenue per year at some point in the next decade. Part of this growth has to do with their constant expansion of cloud services, as they continue to design and acquire new applications capable of giving customers more features based on their specific industry or unique needs. AWS believes partnerships play an essential role in future expansion, which is why they currently have more than 100,000 partners worldwide and continue to add more on a daily basis. Sentinel is proud to be one of those partners, as the innovation and expansive catalog of AWS aligns well with the needs of our customers, enabling them to remain Always Leading.

One of the main things AWS was trying to emphasize at re:Invent in a keynote speech from VP and CTO Werner Vogels was that they are focused on building primitive cloud solutions and not frameworks. Basically the goal is to avoid appealing to every possible customer and instead allowing partners such as Sentinel to build their own solutions using AWS as a starting point. This enables organizations to work closely with Sentinel to adopt cloud services in ways that make the most sense for their business, rather than simply buying into a pre-defined package that might not fit exactly what they need. AWS cloud solutions can be paired with Sentinel services and our highly knowledgeable team of experts to create unique opportunities that keep our customers secure and enable them to accelerate their migration into the cloud. The momentum continues to grow as new services are added daily.

Speaking of new services, there were a number of exciting announcements made at re:Invent that highlighted the diversity and scalability of the AWS portfolio. While many are undoubtedly aware of 5G as a level of connectivity for their devices, AWS has started to preview Private 5G, a new managed service that enables organizations to set up and scale private 5G mobile networks inside of facilities in a matter of days instead of months. Customers can specify where they want to build a mobile network and the network capacity needed for their devices, and AWS will then deliver and maintain the small cell radio units, servers, 5G core, along with other software and modules required to set up a private 5G network and connect devices. This would essentially eliminate the need for a switching refresh and other common network components used by most businesses. There are no up-front fees or per-device costs associated with AWS Private 5G, as customers only pay for network capacity and data consumption.

The Sustainability Pillar for the AWS Well-Architected Framework marks a big and important addition to their portfolio. It's designed to help organizations learn, measure, and improve their workloads using environmental best practices for cloud computing. As part of this pillar, organizations answer questions aimed at evaluating the design, architecture, and implementation of their workloads in order to reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency. While AWS is responsible for the sustainability OF the cloud, customers are responsible for sustainability IN the cloud. Customers can reduce associated energy usage by up to 80% by implementing sustainability practices within the AWS cloud compared to a more standard on premises deployment.

Amazon Inspector is a service used by organizations of all sizes to automate security assessment and management at scale. Amazon Inspector helps organizations meet security and compliance requirements for workloads deployed to AWS, scanning for unintended network exposure, software vulnerabilities, and deviations from application security best practice. The original Inspector was released in 2015, and since then vulnerability management for organizations has changed considerably. While new features have been added over the years, there were still a number of requirements that were a bit lacking. AWS re:Invent announced a new and improved version of Amazon Inspector, capable of enabling frictionless deployment at scale, support for an expanded set of resource types needing assessment, and a critical need to detect and remediate at speed. There are continual, automated assessment scans, automated resource discovery, support for container-based workloads, improved risk scoring, along with integration into other tools such as AWS Organizations, Amazon EventBridge, and AWS Security Hub.

If your organization uses AWS Backup or was considering shifting some of your data to AWS Backup, things just got a bit easier with some big announcements at re:Invent. AWS Backup is a fully managed, policy-based service that lets you to centralize and automate the backup and restore of your applications spanning across 12 different AWS services. Unfortunately, those dozen AWS services did not include Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)...until now. Many AWS customers had requested centralized protection and provable compliance for application data stored in S3 alongside other AWS services for storage, compute, and databases. That has become available, allowing customers to centrally manage application backups, easily restore data, and improve overall backup compliance. AWS Backup support was also announced for VMware with a new capability that enables customers to centralize and automate data protection of virtual machines (VMs) running on VMware on premises and VMware Cloud on AWS. Customers can now use a single, centrally managed policy in AWS Backup to protect these VMware environments together with 12 AWS compute, storage, and database services already supported by AWS Backup. AWS Backup can then be used to restore VMware workloads to on-premises data centers and VMware Cloud on AWS.

These are just a few of the major announcements and highlights from this year's AWS re:Invent conference. There are many more exciting things on the horizon for the AWS cloud platform, and Sentinel is excited to share them with you to show the many ways they can improve your organization. We were thrilled to see so many of our customers also come out to our happy hour event during the conference, and had some great discussions related to security, governance, multi-account management, identity, Terraform, mainframe, machine learning, and S3. Please feel free to contact us to either start or continue the discussion of how we can help enhance and protect your business through innovative technology!