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AWS re:Invent 2022 day 1: Getting rid of Lambda cold starts, EBS improvements

AWS re:Invent 2022 is here! Here are our impressions from the first day of re:Invent and what you need to know, according to our team on the ground.

Jun 08, 2023 • 5 Minute Read

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AWS re:Invent 2022 is here! Here are our impressions from the first day of re:Invent and what you need to know, according to our team on the ground.

It’s all about optimizing performance

It’s unlikely you hear any of the big announcements during the day one keynote address at re:Invent, but there was still a lot of exciting stuff in Peter DeSantis’s presentation, the AWS senior VP of Utility Computing. The theme was all about infrastructure and improving the performance of existing services, but also explaining what was going on behind the scenes to make it happen.

“It was a really interesting keynote because it showed a lot about not just what they’re offering, but how they’re offering it,” said Mattias Andersson. “It helps people understand more about what the system does, so we can have more ideas on how not to trip over the system, and take advantage of these higher performance features.”

The show stealer? Practically eliminating Lambda cold starts

By far the biggest news was AWS doing this behind the scenes magic to eliminate the startup portion of Lambda booting, reducing it by 90 percent. This puts it almost on par with warm starts! 

“They nearly buried the lead on this one by leaving it to the end of the keynote,” said David Blocher. “This is extremely exciting, because it eliminates the biggest pain point and disincentive for people moving to Lambda.”

To do this, AWS uses Firecracker as the platform instead of normal VMs underneath, so they can start the instances super quickly. Not only does it start fast because of these smaller instances, it snapshots partway through the start of a Lambda instance. This means it does the stuff you’d usually do to get a Lambda running, remembering this for other Lambda starts. AWS calls this Lambda SnapStart, which is quite a snappy name (pun entirely intended).

“There’s a few things you need to do to make sure when you come back from a snapshot you don’t have any security issues in the software,” Mattias said. “But this is huge, because one of Lambda’s biggest advantages are spiky workloads, which Lambda really shines at but is dragged down by cold start impacts. Now with SnapStart, they can avoid that, making it the ideal use case for those workloads.”

AWS using SRD to improve EBS performance

“During the keynote, AWS announced it is using SRD (Scalable Reliable Datagram) to deliver significant performance boosts for EBS io2 volumes, and Elastic Network Adaptors,” said Faye Ellis

“It was all about achieving lower latency and higher throughput, and this is going to be pretty great for customers running latency sensitive workloads in the cloud.”

Best Breakout Sessions of Day one

There are tops of breakout sessions at re:Invent where you can deep dive with experts. Here are some of the standouts.

Aurora Serverless V2

“Aurora Serverless v2 is AWS’s premier relational database service, so it was cool to get a look behind the scenes on how they work. It’s still in development right now and serverless-ish, but it’s come a long way and it’s very exciting. For relational apps, it’s a very good option right now,” ~ David Blocher.

Cloud-based talent management strategies

Drew Firment’s session was really interesting. It talked about the cloud skills gap, but how the leadership gap is a more fundamental problem. People just don’t know their stuff, but leadership has the ability to address their own employee’s skill gap, so it’s a leadership issue foremost. ~ Mattias Andersson

“I was able to catch Drew Firment’s session, which was amazing.  The stats presented were pretty mind blowing regarding the amount of untrained employees within critical positions regarding cloud. It sort of solidified that cloud training is not going away anytime soon!” ~ Andru Estes

AWS Global Accelerator

“AWS Global Accelerator is a clever networking thing where you can essentially hop on to endpoints that are closer to the end user, and traverse the AWS intranet instead of the public intranet. There’s a lot of cool theory about how it’s got better uptime with long distances instead of staying on the traditional internet from end to end. The majority of the distance is on AWS’s super-optimized internet, and this is the session where I learned the most.” ~ David Blocher.

On the ground impressions of re:Invent

“Besides the really awesome booth setups — like the AMD VR booth that I need to try — it was honestly just amazing to see the massive amounts of people meeting and talking in person again. I am looking forward to a lot of the networking and security sessions that I am booked for! I definitely can’t wait to incorporate them into my training.” ~ Andru Estes

“I spent most of the day talking to people, catching up with old friends and new! An unexpected highlight was of course meeting the person dressed as a giant S3 bucket, just another one of those things that generally only happens at reInvent! I’m very much looking forward to Adam Selipsky’s keynote, and expecting plenty of surprises!” ~ Faye Ellis

“The best thing I saw today was all of the interactive and immersive doodads in the expo hall. Like Onica at Rackspace's booth has a green screen. There was a tunnel with mirrors at another booth. There are also VR games! And of course the deep racer area is awesome this year too. I think that the immersive effect will help attendees remember their experiences with each company, and will also provide a nice slice of AWS-some while we all nerd out.” ~ Jess Alvarez 

“I’d describe day one of re:Invent as foundational. I’m looking forward to bombshell announcements. Honestly, I have no idea what to expect, but I'm excited for whatever's next!” ~ David Blocher

“The whole day was full, just like every day at re:Invent, and it’s always awesome! I’m looking forward to everything, from keynotes to sessions, connecting with other people, replay parties, you name it.” ~ Mattias Andersson

Keep up with all things AWS re:Invent 2022

Check out the ACG and Pluralsight re:Invent content hub to keep up with all things re:Invent 2022.

You can also follow ACG on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to A Cloud Guru on YouTube for all the re:Invent 2022 updates you can handle!

And join our awesome Discord Community to rub digital elbows with AWS Training Architects and other like-minded cloudy people.