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What we learned from Werner Vogels’ AWS re:Invent keynote.

The universe is incredibly agile, fault tolerant, resilient and robust. It is also asynchronous.

- Dr. Werner Vogels

Each year, one of the most anticipated keynotes at AWS re:Invent is delivered by Dr. Werner Vogels, CTO of 

Watch the full Werner Vogels re:Invent keynote below, and read on for our take on some of the biggest announcements in his talk.



Into the Matrix with Werner Vogels

Opening with a characteristically hilarious Matrix spoof, the talk soon pivoted to the complex and asynchronous nature of daily life and why, as engineers, we should be aiming to replicate this asynchronicity in the systems we build.

His thesis is that synchronous, ordered, one-by-one systems (here applied to a restaurant setting) result in something as simple and harmonious as a bowl of fries reduced to each fry being individually sliced, fried and placed into a bowl. This, of course, is incredibly inefficient and leaves the consumer of said fries…underwhelmed by the cold and soggy results. 

And whilst it might seem like Vogels has got his fries and microchips mixed up, the point was that though asynchronous systems may look much more daunting and complex than ordered, synchronous systems; the end result is usually much more composable, resilient and robust because individual components can be changed without the whole system failing.

This theme of composability, asynchronicity and improved developer agility ran through the key product announcements during the keynote:  


1) AWS Application Composer

Like Step Functions Distributed Map, AWS Application Composer is currently focused on its serverless products. However, for those new to serverless it simplifies architecting, configuring and building Serverless applications on AWS. It uses a Visual Canvas for developers to not only architect but also maintain a visual model of the architecture that is easy to share and collaborate on with other team members. 

This call for improved collaboration was echoed throughout the talk, and the service announcements: “Talk to each other, learn from each other…it’s the best source of information that you can get”

Why is this important?

Serverless technologies enable you to build, integrate and run your applications without having to manage servers. AWS clearly wants to assist users to adopt serverless, and remove more the infrastructure management tasks like capacity provisioning and patching from developers’ plates.  

Application Composer will take the guesswork out of composing applications from serverless-ready AWS services, help users to generate deployment-ready configuration and Infrastructure-as-Code for each service in their architecture and to more easily troubleshoot and collaborate with teams utilising the visual model produced in Application Composer.

As architectures become more asynchronous and complex, the ability to model, share and collaborate visually is sure to be of huge benefit to development teams. 


2) AWS CodeCatalyst

AWS CodeCatalyst “takes away all the heavy-lifting that sits around development [and brings together]...all the tools needed to go from idea to production, faster”.

Aimed at speeding up developers by simplifying the development process, AWS CodeCatalyst is described as “a unified software development and delivery service”; essentially a developer platform for planning, developing, collaborating, building and delivering applications on AWS.

“I often hear [developers] express that they feel modern development has become even more complicated. This is due to having to select and configure a wider collection of modern frameworks and libraries, tools, cloud services, continuous integration and delivery pipelines, and many other choices that all need to work together to deliver the application experience. What was once manageable by one developer on one machine is now a sprawling, dynamic, complex net of decisions and tradeoffs, made even more challenging by the need to coordinate all this across dispersed teams.” - Steve Roberts, AWS

So how does CodeCatalyst do this?

  • Blueprints that set up the project’s resources—not just scaffolding for new projects, but also the resources needed to support software delivery and deployment.
  • On-demand cloud-based Dev Environments, to make it easy to replicate consistent development environments for you or your teams.
  • Issue management, enabling tracing of changes across commits, pull requests, and deployments.
  • Integrates with third party tools like Slack, Jira, GitHub, Cloud9 and more. 
  • Automated build and release (CI/CD) pipelines using flexible, managed build infrastructure.
  • Dashboards to surface a feed of project activities such as commits, pull requests, and test reporting.
  • The ability to invite others to collaborate on a project with just an email.
  • Unified search, making it easy to find what you’re looking for across users, issues, code and other project resources.

Why is this important?

Platform Engineering and Internal Developer Platforms have had something of a renaissance in the past couple of years so it should come as no surprise that AWS wants to bring the Golden Path to Production experience to its offering. 

AWS CodeStar, described as a ‘DevOps hub’, was a move in this direction, but CodeCatalyst is far richer in features and integrations and its blueprinting, automation and composability capabilities make it a superior product. 

However, CodeCatalyst is only for applications built and deployed on AWS. With 85% of businesses using 2 or more cloud platforms (Deloitte) and 45% of systems still residing on legacy mainframes, teams wanting these abstraction, blueprinting, automation, issue management and third party integration capabilities to build Golden Paths to Production across their cloud and on-prem environments need tools which work for all of them

Other product announcements of interest

This new service will enable users to orchestrate large scale parallel workloads in Serverless applications and to process huge data sets quickly using simple Lambda functions. 

This innovation enables users to more easily stitch AWS services together and build advanced integrations in minutes - all with in-built security, reliability and scalability. It is now easier to compose and manipulate events moving through Pipes.

All the Service Announcements at AWS re:Invent 2022

Arguably the biggest technology conference in the calendar, there were tonnes of new AWS services and features announced at AWS re:Invent 2022. 

Check out this handy cheat sheet to all the AWS services announced at AWS re:Invent 2022: 

AWS reInvent 2022 Customer Cheat Sheet


Download the cheat sheet


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