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Mission Talks: AWS Containers Session Re:Invent 2020 Insights [Video]


Tim Banks

Hi everybody, I'm Tim Banks, consultant here at Mission. I'm here with Lance Allen. Lance is one of our solutions architects. Say hi to everybody, Lance.

Lance Allen

Hello everyone, how's it going? So we're going to talk to you guys about the container presentations at re:Invent and some of the things that we found interesting and things that we are super excited about. Tim, why don’t you take us away?

Tim Banks

Yeah. So, what we saw on this video again, we're talking about that theme that Andy brought up in the very beginning about reinvention and about doing things a new way. Not just reinventing services, but companies and businesses reinventing themselves. And they talked about moving away from what was legacy data center stuff or even when AWS first started, they tell a story about how “I'm going to swipe my credit card and I can get instances” and then I can deploy Linux on them and all these other things like that but traditionally what you would do in a data center except with instances instead of servers. But talking about moving away from that, that's still because of that now. It makes me feel old to say - that’s legacy now. Nobody does that. We don't do that anymore. Now we provision things automatically and we move towards something that looks a little bit more modern: splitting up services and deploying them across containers. So I thought it was interesting when he talked about moving away from those EC2 instances. 

One of the things that I thought was cool was they talked about specifically some of the various manners of compute and who's going to manage that aspect of it. Do we run it on regular EC2 instances? Do we let AWS manage the auto scaling using Fargate? What's the architecture we run it on? Are we going to run it on x86 kind of stuff? Are we going to run some of these Arm ones, the new Graviton2 processors coming out? We’ve got some options there that I think are kind of cool for some of the customers. So Lance, what do you think about some of the things he talked about, about moving things off the legacy systems and into more modern architecture?

Lance Allen

I think it makes a lot of sense. Right. With a lot of the organizations that we've been seeing lately,  containerization, modernization, is a huge theme. Companies really want to be able to take advantage of what the cloud offers. Being able to operate at scale and work efficiencies into development cycles makes it so that you're paying less for the services that you're consuming and the container model really helps that. So a lot of this work comes down to decomposing, decoupling, refactoring, replatforming. There's a lot of work that goes into this and it eventually comes down to writing code and architecting reliable, resilient infrastructure to back that code. These are all things that we talk about with customers regularly and things that we at Mission want to work through with our customers. So I'm definitely excited to hear these things being presented and talked about at re:Invent because that is kind of where we're trying to go at Mission as well.


Tim Banks

Yeah, it brings up a customer of ours that we had in the past that I just thought about, a security company that does cameras and things like that, where they were running everything in just one big legacy. Just one gigantic system. Everything. Everything from start to finish was checkouts all the way through to video streaming like that. And we sat down with them earlier in the year and we said “there's a better way to do this” and we talked about leveraging EKS and ECS.

But just moving on to containers and chipping away at this legacy system, whether it was an old CMS that where everything went in there like memcached and in Drupal, or I think whatever it was, and chipping some of these things away and moving some into managed services for databases. Moving stuff into managed services for caching and then putting stuff, everything else, into containers. So we helped them cycle through that and they did that work over the course of several months and it came down to when it was Black Friday, they were ready to go. They had everything containerized, they had stuff split off into managed services such that all the pieces of their applications still existed but now they exist in things that were individually scalable, cost optimized, performance optimized, and resilient, most of all, that you can lose a container just rescheduled somewhere else and pop in never know. So it was really cool to see that work get done and I was super excited to help them be able to do that. And not just me, but several other folks here at Mission - that's what we do. We're going to talk about the architecture, we bring in the right folks and the right experts - not only at Mission, but also AWS, to get them on the right track and set them up for success like this. 

We have another customer of ours that is in the gaming and advertising industry that they're able to leverage containers in spot instances and they're saving like 90% off of what they would do for on-demand to meet the spikes and to meet a really kind of hard to predict demand for their services. But because they are architecturally optimized for containers, they have a stateless workload and they keep state off of it, off of the container, and manage service in other places so that if spot instance goes away the containers get scheduled somewhere else and they pick right up where they left off. I thought it’s a brilliant way to do it and if you optimize for that kind of workload, you can save a ton of money. So, yeah. What were some of the other things that you saw that excited you there, Lance?


Lance Allen

So I was pretty stoked to see the public repositories. I'm a big Docker container nerd and I do a lot of, you know, kind of app/web service development in my off time and I use a lot of public container images from Docker Hub or Quay or wherever open source projects and teams have their images stored. So given that, that's something that I use often and I know a lot of people use often. How many organizations have you come across, Tim, where some part of the stack is using a public Docker image like a Redis cache? You know, some simple, common, off the shelf things. So, excited to see Amazon open that up and give developers and open source projects and teams the ability to provide public container images that anybody can go download without needing some credentials. So I was super stoked to see that one as well as ECS Anywhere. I like the idea of being able to run hybrid architectures that are container-based. You get the power of ECS or EKS behind it, you know, you can reuse a lot of your existing tooling but you can deploy it anywhere. Right. So those are the ones I'm most excited to see.

Tim Banks

You know, so that goes along with the theme without again from from the kickoff keynote about having the ability to go on a hybrid infrastructure where you have some stuff in the public cloud, you have some stuff on metal, but you don't have to have different tooling, you don’t have to have different monitoring. You have a single, unified control plane that can span all that. So having that whether you run AWS Outposts, whether you're running ECS or EKS anywhere, I think that's gonna be a game changer for some. 

But speaking of opening things, something I saw that I was super excited about is the EKS Distro: the open sourcing of the EKS control plane so that folks can run that anywhere, just EKS Anywhere. You know, there's a lot of potential for that for open source: people to contribute to it, for people to be able to utilize it in very various ways, whether they're going to utilize them on public cloud, whether they use it on prem, whether they just use it on development stuff across laptops or Raspberry Pi's or whatever. That's got a lot of potential. I'm super excited to see what folks do with that. I know that the AWS container team has been plugging away at EKS ever since it first came out, you know? They've got the open issues and GitHub, super responsive to the community, so I'm excited to see what they do with this. A couple other things they talked about were the integration of services using things like App Mesh using some of the cloud orchestration tools so that you can get everything to work together. What do you think about Proton?


Lance Allen

Sounds awesome, right? So one of the things that we've come across a lot of times, working with ECS and EKS is that they're pretty advanced systems and they enable teams to write a lot of their own custom integrations. But sometimes, t's too many options or sometimes it's too much work to go through the process of integrating and so I really like that not only is AWS coming out with these powerful tools that teams can use to build their own complex custom integrations, but they're offering more of a kind of simple straightforward path where you just show up with some app code and this orchestration service will take care of it. You know, do the processes, building the container images, shipping those, releasing those, and kind of streamlining the process for teams that don't want to make that time investment. So I was really excited to see that.


Tim Banks

Yeah. I think too one other thing I wanted to bring up from keynotes when they talked about being able to deploy Lambda services like use your container development kits for Lambda functions, right. So now you can treat a Lambda like a container and your tooling and automation. That opens up a lot of possibilities, too, because then you don't have to have a different control plane or different tool or different management interface for deploying Lambda. The fewer changes you have to make in order to be able to utilize some of these technologies, I think the better. So AWS is really, they're really pushing forward as a leader in containers and I'm super excited to see it. They really lit the fires under and it's great to see, having watched how that's progressed over the past few years. It's pretty awesome. Anything else you got on your mind there, Lance?


Lance Allen

That's it for me.


Tim Banks

Yeah, I think that's it for us too. I want to thank everyone for watching, you know, we have some other videos from re:Invent that you can please feel free to check out at We'll see y'all later.


Lance Allen

Thanks for watching.

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