Key Learnings from the AWS Global Summit 2017

By Vishal Vazkar
July 18th 2017

6 minute read

A few weeks ago, I attended the AWS Global Summit at the ICC, ExCeL London. Aimed at new and existing AWS (Amazon Web Services) customers, the event delivered deep technical content to help them become more successful with AWS. 

What is AWS?

As described by Amazon themselves, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a secure cloud services platform. It provides a broad set of products and services that can be used as building blocks to run sophisticated and scalable applications. It offers compute power, database storage, content delivery and other functionality to help businesses scale and grow. At MMT Digital we have been working with AWS for two years and have used it to build several high-performance websites for our clients.

The Summit

When Amazon first hosted this event in the UK in 2016, it attracted 600 attendees. However, this year the event had scaled incredibly with 6,000 people in attendance, over 45 technical sessions and 74 partner solutions.

What Did I Learn?

There was a lot of emphasis given to serverless architecture and microservice architectures and how these are being used across the cloud industry. Both methods remove the need to maintain servers to host websites, reducing overheads and maintenance costs. This is something which I will be considering for the DevOps team at MMT Digital to determine whether it could help with:

  • Quicker developer on-boarding processes
  • Like-for-like environments all the way from local to production
  • Reducing maintenance for small to medium scale clients in terms of servers and backups

Monitoring Tools Are Being Taken Very Seriously

Until now, we had a standard set of tools such as Application Insights and New Relic which we use across projects at MMT Digital. However, there have been a lot of changes to the way we monitor our projects. We mainly focus on:

  • APM - application performance monitoring
  • PERFMON - system performance monitoring
  • SECMON  - security monitoring and custom alerts
  • Availability monitoring - using tools like Status Cake and Pingdom which are not always accurate

A range of tools were demonstrated at the summit which are a complete collaboration of the above tools with a very user friendly interface, including Kibana, Datadog and Dome9.

After hearing about these tools at the summit, I felt it important to consider them further as they will potentially help to streamline processes by providing a way to centralise the complete monitoring for all our clients under one roof.

As well as the insights on technology, there were some interesting case studies presented from companies such as Deliveroo, BP and Comic Relief. It was great to see how these organisations are utilising AWS. At the end of all the keynotes and breakout sessions, we got an opportunity to speak to some of the AWS Solution Architects. This was useful as it gave us a chance to discuss the services and get some suggestions on how we can improve our current approach towards hosting solutions in the cloud, as well as how to pursue certifications in AWS.

Hot Topics – My Picks from the Day

There were a few topics which I found particularly helpful and that I will be taking insights from to use in my role as DevOps Engineer. Here are my top picks: 

You can view the full list of topics and session slides here.

Overall, it was a brilliant summit with some great insights into the technology and some interesting case studies. I’m already starting to implement some of the things I’ve learnt at MMT Digital to ensure we are maximising the potential of AWS for our clients.