It’s Time to Build!

| By Walter Heck, CTO HeleCloud Netherlands |

Werner Vogels, CTO Amazon Web Services (AWS) did not deliver his keynote in the studio (as many of the re:Invent keynotes before), instead he opted to record his keynote in an old sugar factory (now known as Sugar City), located close to Amsterdam.

During the event Werner presented how AWS is solving today’s hardest technology problems sharing stories of yesterday, today and beyond.

Resilience in times of change 

Addressing the conference from the gigantic factory, Werner likens the sugar factory’s history to businesses challenges today; its need to scale down as it became less relevant, to be agile, diversify and adaptable to change as it was refactored into the retail and entertainment space it has become today ‘Sugar City’. Changing needs and changing situations, require us all to be resilient, to be flexible and to be able to change and diversify to withstand hardship.

Together with clients, AWS is responding to the changing world and changing constantly too.

CloudShell is launched for enhanced console management

AWS CloudShell is a customisable, up to date, browser-based shell that enables you to easily and securely manage, explore, and interact with your AWS resources.

CloudShell is an interesting product, fitting in nicely with Cloud9 IDE and AWS Workspaces for example. However, there’s some concern over it being browser-based and so time will need to tell how agreeable the user experience is. I am interested to see how people will customize their CloudShell to best serve their demands, and how far repeated scripts will be used each time you rebuild your CloudShell.

The Fault Injection Service is here

AWS Fault Injection Simulator (FIS) is a fully managed chaos engineering service that enables you to discover an application’s weaknesses at scale in order to improve performance, observability, and resiliency.

This service is interesting, and it takes the concept of chaos engineering to a more mature practice. For many years injecting faults into a system intentionally to test how it responds has been at the forefront of the engineering world, however at an Enterprise IT level this is rarely seen in the real world. And so, I look forward to seeing FIS’s attempt to change that.

Amazon Managed Service (AMS) announce improvements for cloud-native monitoring

AMS for Prometheus is a Prometheus-compatible monitoring and alerting service that allows you to monitor containerized applications at scale.

Prometheus is a technology that emerged around the time Kubernetes (K8s) hit mainstream, and whilst not directly tied to it, it’s most often found in the k8s context. Watching this service successfully grow will hopefully increase wider usage of Prometheus.

Graphical user interface, application

Description automatically generated


  • Unified container monitoring
  • Troubleshooting and root cause analysis of container-based workloads
  • Workload and application metrics monitoring
  • High-cardinality metrics monitoring

AMS for Grafana is a secure, managed and interactive data visualization service. And, as you would expect it is scalable, and highly available. Grafana has been the superior open-source graphing and dashboarding solution for quite a few years now. I personally started using Grafana in HeleCloud Netherlands around 2016 and didn’t anticipate at that time that AWS would pick it up years later as it’s a drive away from CloudWatch dashboards.

I particularly enjoyed seeing AWS’s collaboration with Grafana (by the way you can upgrade your licenses to Grafana enterprise which will directly benefit Grafana Inc).


Description automatically generated


  • Integration to visualize across AWS services and regions
  • Easily manage upgrades and administration
  • One dashboard for all across applications, infrastructure and workload monitoring
  • Ideally suited to Cloud Native monitoring.

AWS System Manager expands feature set

AWS System Manager expands its feature set with Fleet manager, Change Manager and Application Manager making the system administrator (SysOps) life easier. These new features will decrease the manual work and unify the way it is executed significantly.

The Fleet Manager allows you to view and administer your fleets of managed instances from a single location and provide an aggregated view no matter where the instances are based.

Change Manger simplifies the process where the ops team track, approve, and implement operational changes by reducing the risk of service disruptions and benefits from the native integration with other AWS services.

Application Manager is a single pane of glass for applications management across multiple AWS Services, allowing us to discover our applications, view their data and perform actions in the application context.

To find out more about this plus an opinionated review of AWS re:Invent 2020 head to the HeleCloud YouTube Channel.