The 6 laws every cloud architect should know, according to Werner Vogels
Werner Vogel introducing the AWS IoT platform.
Image: Conner Forrest/TechRepublic
“Cloud is now the new normal.”
That’s how Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, Described the state of application development in the enterprise at his keynote address for the 2015 AWS re:Invent conference. Now that the constraints of hardware are dwindling, he said, we can build applications the way we want.
But, as we move into this new cloud-centric world, it can be difficult to determine best practices for development. In his keynote, Vogels discussed six laws that he thinks all cloud architects should know, and announced new AWS tools and features that speak to each one.
1. Lucas Critique
“It is naive to try to predict the effects of a change entirely on the basis of relationships observed in historical data.”
In the past, technology relied heavily on historical data, now it’s real-time streaming of data, and in the future it will be machine learning and predictive analytics. However, streaming data is still a challenge, Vogels said.
To address that challenge, Vogels announced the launch of Amazon Kinesis Analytics, a service that provides time stamping for real-time streaming data, to make it easier to glean insights.
2. Gall’s Law
“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.”
Vogels said that Amazon’s ultimate goal is to provide those simple systems to help developers build their complex systems on top of them.
To better power these systems, Amazon launched the X1 EC2 instance type with 2TB of memory and more than 100 cores to run on, which will be available in 2016. They will also make available t2.nano instances, which are some of the smallest available compute instances designed with burstable performance in mind.
Of course, containers are one of the biggest trends in application development and Amazon is speaking to this trend with the EC2 Container Registry, a new, fully managed secure repository for container images that developers can launch containers from.
AWS Lambda also received a host of new features including Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) support, long-running functions, scheduled functions, custom retry logic, and Python support for Lambda.
3. Law of Demeter
“Each unit should have only limited knowledge about other units—only units ‘closely’ related to the current unit. Each unit should only talk to its friends; don’t talk to strangers.”
The new AWS mobile hub, Vogels said, helps developers build mobile applications more quickly and easily. Users can choose and configure functionality, download source code, test, and monitor applications. So, developers can build apps by focusing only on the functionality they want to deliver.
4. Occam’s Razor
“The one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.”
Vogel used Occam’s Razor to open up the part of presentation that focused on the IoT and data-based decisions. Using data to build apps means you make fewer assumptions as you can leverage the data itself to build features and tools that are built on known trends in the data.
5. Reed’s Law
“The utility of large networks, particularly social networks, can scale exponentially with the size of the network.”
IoT networks are made up of a huge number of moving parts. A new platform called AWS IoT was announced to help developers build IoT apps. It allows organizations to securely connect and manage devices at any scale. Now in beta, it provides SDKs that developers can use on their devices, as well as network capabilities for communication.
The AWS IoT platform connects to existing AWS tools to help with data collection and analysis and can even trigger Lambda functions.
By making it easier to connect devices to AWS cloud, it makes it easier to scale your IoT networkl.
6. The Gestalt Principle
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Vogels used this principle to talk about the importance of partnerships and how “we couldn’t do this alone.” For example, the new X1 instance is based on the Intel Xeon E7 V3 and it came about through a partnership between AWS and Intel. Also, Intel’s Edison Kit is supported in the AWS IoT platform.
In closing, Vogels presented the seventh law to introduce the re:Invent after party — Beastie’s Law: “You’ve got to fight for your right to party.”
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