Brief notes from AWS Community Day Nordics

On last Wednesday the tradition began at Clarion Helsinki. Over 300 AWS enthusiastics witnessed the arrival of the AWS Community Days to Nordics. The structure of the one day event was following to the typical seminar day, with keynotes and multitrack sessions. Slides are expected to be available afterwards. Tracks were titled with ‘Main’, ‘Serverless’, and ‘Data + ML’ and for the two latter ones the content were pretty self-explanatory. I participated in Serverless track but unfortunately, I was not able stay for the whole day due to the other commitments. The serverless approach was also present in the first keynote where Martin Buberl from Trustpilot discussed the journey they have had towards serverless architecture. The number of EC2s has been decreased as tasks have been processed by Lambdas instead. And as a EC2 is typically replaced by more than single Lambda, it is expected that the number of Lambdas is growing faster than the number of EC2 is shrinking.

The first session at Serverless track was hosted by Paul Lyons from Nordcloud and it focussed on Serverless framework. The demo was about serverless backend but the content was not the most interesting element. The framework was somewhat familiar for me in advance but the discussions strengthened my understanding that for the serious serverless approach the Serverless framework is a great tool. Serverless Framework can be used with various plugins and the related community is active. For example there is plugin for a rather new service called AppSync (my personal favorite service currently). Paul mentioned during his show that S3 event trigger for Lambda is not working well at the moment with Serverless and one have to activate that in the console. Using console is something that is not preferred when using Serverless…

Fellows from Zalando, Uri Savelchev & Ruben Diaz, discussed about Kubernetes. They have built custom deployment tool as they had found all available tools cumbersome to some extent, at least out-of-the-box. Zalando has independent teams and these teams operate in various sites in Europe. As a result they have numerous AWS accounts. Zalando seems to utilize AWS a lot.

It was a great day and I got lots of new ideas. Hopefully the next Community day is not too far away.

-Tero

AWS DevDay Nordics 25.1.2018

Full house at Clarion

When I arrived at the scene the  further orienteering was simple. Just follow the queue. After registration, I wrapped some snacks and decided to reserve my seat in the containers session. The decision between tracks was not simple, though. There were three simultaneous sessions and two workshops… Lots of content for a single day!

The containers track was hosted by AWS gurus Abby Fuller and Paul Maddox. All the empty seats disappeared well before the official start.  The first  session included good insights to ECS, EKS and Fargate services. Especially EKS part was waited for as it includes some demonstration of the new service. Slides and recoded videostream will be available by AWS some day soon (link to Slides and Recordings). That enables not only a possibility to refresh own notes from all those sessions but provides also opportunity to get insights from interesting overlapping tracks that I was not able to attend.

ECS

ECS is the oldest service among these three, and unlike the new ones, it is used in production at the moment. The new insight was relating to Fargate, as new ECS clusters can be launched in Fargate mode (Fargate’s preview mode is only available in us-east-1). Fargate mode might be interesting option in those scenarios where there are no need to have SSH access to EC2.

Fargate

Fargate is, as previously indicated, managed service that relief some of the pain that relates to backend infrastructure configurations. Using Fargate, one really have only to define memory and cpu for the task. AWS will takes care of the rest. The default values (at the moment) for memory is 0,5G and CPU 0,25vCPU. And naturally define how many healthy tasks there have to be up and running at all the time. Fargate seems to be one of those services that I will look deeper. 

EKS

Kubernetes is will be integrated into AWS, at least for orchestrating perspective. EKS was and is one of the most waited for service, for me at least. Ramping up EKS with AWS Console is pretty quick and neat. The sneakpeak revealed that during the preview phase the process includes a couple of Cloudformation stacks but those are expected to be hided under the hood later on. After those initial setups, there is not much to do than a couple of clicks and kubernetes cluster is up and running. EKS provides a cluster endpoint, something like my-cluster.EKS.<region>.amazonaws.com. Behind that endpoint there is the kubernetes master and etcd. Migration to EKS seems to be piece of cake as kuberctl works as before.

I also attended AWS meet-up Finland at Siili Solutions. Nicely the event was on the same day than AWS DevDay Nordic. It was fully buuked event and there were also people on the wait list. I was expecting a full house but reason beyond my knowledge, for some reason a quite many people had faced force majeure that not only hindered them to participate but also to inform organizators about their absence. Hopefully people that were on the wait list don’t read this… Anyhow the panel discussion with the AWS gurus really wrapped up the AWS day.

-Tero