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AWS Summit 2013: Focus on Cost, Security, Big Data and DevOps

by Grischa Ekart on May 31, 2013 |

Last week Amazon published the slides for its free, one-day cloud community event in Germany that took place on May 2. Aimed at developers, technical and business leaders, the topics of the series increasingly focus on cost effectiveness, high availability, big data and security.

The keynote (available on video) was delivered by Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon.com. He talked of the transformational impact of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and stressed the absence of a long-term contract lock-in and the nine datacenter regions, enabling "going global in minutes". According to Werner, one of the principles of AWS is driving cost down to "a point where it is no longer a factor [...] so that you don't have to think about it, like switching on the lights." He supported this claim with examples of 31 price reductions established  over the last six years. Werner also briefly introduced a certification program for AWS. The AWS certification site announces certifications for three roles: Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator and Developer. Currently, only the "AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate Level" seems available as an exam.

Stephen Schmidt, Chief Information Security Officer of AWS, was holding an additional keynote on cloud security in AWS, apparently targeting security-sensitive enterprises. Apart from listing general security certifications and procedures, he detailed AWS CloudHSM, a recent Hardware Security Module (HSM) implementation in AWS. According to Stephen, CloudHSM which is currently available in US East and EU West regions, addresses cloud specific key management issues through a non-shared and temper-protected hardware appliance critical for enterprise-level cloud adoption.

A range of break-out sessions was visited by InfoQ:

Steffen Krause, Technology Evangelist at Amazon, showed how to optimize AWS for cost-reduction. Apart from right-sizing vertically and horizontally, he suggested combining available pricing models: reserved instances for base load, on-demand instances for peak coverage and spot instances for batch processing. Corresponding resource and cost monitoring and alerting should be pursued with AWS CloudWatch. Additionally, he suggested to use consolidated billing for organizations with multiple AWS accounts. Consolidation enables an overarching cost overview and the possibility to analyze cost drivers.

Amazon RedShift, a petabyte-scale SQL-based data warehouse solution with column-storage, compression and zone maps was announced to be available in the EU West region in addition to US East and West. It was claimed to be fast, cheap and simple to use and to support direct and parallel loading from S3 and DynamoDB as well as standard ETL software.

Amazon OpsWorks, a Chef-based DevOps software stack designed specifically for AWS was presented. According to Amazon it is designed to manage and automate the complete life-cycle of a project. The live demo showed how to import Git projects, run Jenkins, provision resources and deploy software. Announced recently, it is still beta and is available at no additional cost for AWS customers.

The summit was complemented with presentations from successful local AWS adopters such as 6wunderkinder, mytaxi and schnee von morgen webTV, amongst others, showing-off how they utilized Amazon's cloud.

The next AWS summit is scheduled to be held on June 5 and 6 in Tokio.

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