AWS Open Source Blog

re:Invent open source highlights: Week 1

Over the past three weeks, re:Invent 2020 has had hundreds of sessions across many different topics and tracks. In this series of posts, I’ll share highlights from the open source track and sessions. This article covers the first week, so make sure you check out week two and three highlights.

re:Invent is back for the second wave of content on January 11th, 2021, so the final post will finish by letting you know what you can expect.

Andy Jassy on stage during re:Invent week 1, introducing Babelfish for Aurora Postgresql

Announcements and launches

Although Andy Jassy’s keynote was not exclusively open source, there were plenty of open source-related launches during the first week. Here is a summary of the highlights, including links to blog posts supporting the launches.

Amazon EKS anywhere

Amazon EKS Distro is a distribution of the same version of Kubernetes deployed by Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), which you can use to create your own Kubernetes clusters anywhere you choose. This announcement generated a lot of buzz, so here’s a layout of some of the content that covers the launch. No doubt there’s more to come in the next few weeks.

Amazon EKS Distro: The Kubernetes Distribution used by Amazon EKS, by Martin Beeby, is an introduction of how to get started with Amazon EKS Distro. Beeby lays out the basics of what you need to know, pricing and support, and updates to come. Allan Naim, Chandler Hoisington, Raja Jadeja, Micah Hausler, and Michael Hausenblas collaborate on Introducing Amazon EKS Distro (EKS-D), explaining what EKS Distro really is, showing different ways to get started with EKS Distro, and taking a look at the partner ecosystem you can already work with as part of the launch.

In Introducing Amazon EKS add-ons: lifecycle management for Kubernetes operational software, Nathan Taber and Jesse Butler share how to utilize new add-ons within your Amazon EKS clusters that provide key functionality to support your Kubernetes applications. These add-ons include critical tools for cluster networking, like the Amazon VPC CNI, in addition to operational software for observability, management, scaling, and security. The article details these add-ons, how to set them up, and how they work. Taber and Butler also share what kinds of supported add-ons you can expect early next year.

Security best practices is an important topic for folks running Amazon EKS. In the Securing your Amazon EKS applications: Best practices session, Jeremy Cowan details defense in-depth through the container security onion model. This session is a great resource for anyone using containers.

With EKS Anywhere, the containers team shared an update to the Amazon EKS console. In the post, Introducing the new Amazon EKS console, Nathan Taber and Jesse Butler provide a breakdown of what the new experience in the console looks like, which is compatible with your EKS clusters whether they are in the cloud or you are deploying them somewhere else as part of the Amazon EKS Distro.

AWS Partner keynote

Doug Yeum announced the launch of the open source AWS SaaS Boost during the AWS Partner keynote. AWS SaaS Boost provides a prescriptive framework to help you build your own SaaS-based solutions. If you want to know more about SaaS Boost, you can check out the re:Invent session, Open source meets SaaS: Accelerating the path to SaaS adoption, where Tod Golding highlights how this open source solution can jump-start your path to SaaS.

To learn more, you can check out the AWS SaaS Boost homepage and Golding’s super-deep dive on Transforming Your Monolith to SaaS with AWS SaaS Boost on the AWS Partner Network Blog.

Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL

How do you help shift the inertia when it comes to moving from proprietary to open source databases? When enterprises have spent years building data models in something like Microsoft SQL Server, that change can feel hard. Matt Asay’s post, Want more PostgreSQL? You just might like Babelfish, offers a ray of hope and might be the catalyst you are looking for.

Make sure you check out the sessions section for a more in-depth look and a demo of this in action.

AWS Amplify

In New AWS Amplify Admin UI helps you develop app backends, no cloud experience required, Marcia Villalba highlights a new feature for AWS Amplify developers. The new feature provides developers with an admin screen/section feature to the applications. Villalba uses an example of a restaurant app to demonstrate the UI capabilities. When developing a restaurant app, you want to give the restaurant owner the ability to add or change new items to the menu. Although there are many ways you can achieve this, you can utilize the Admin UI in AWS Amplify to incorporate this functionality, without the need to give non-technical users access to the AWS console.

.NET Core

.NET 5 AWS Lambda Support with Container Images, by Norm Johanson, details the announced support for publishing AWS Lambda functions as container images. As part of this release, the AWS Lambda .NET tooling to support building Lambda functions as container images for .NET Core 2.1 and 3.1, and full support for .NET 5, have been updated. This article brings you up to speed about how to package your .NET Core applications using this new container packaging format, either from Visual Studio with the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio or the .NET CLI using Amazon.Lambda.Tools.


You can watch the sessions from re:Invent via the on-demand portal. Here is a handy list of some of the highlights of the sessions from week one.

Data Pipelines with Amazon Workflows for Apache Airflow from John Jackson introduces the recently launched service, starting with some of the typical use cases before walking you through the AWS console experience, a demo of Amazon Managed Workflows for Apache Airflow.

In the Developer Lounge, AWS Data Hero Manrique Lopez presented Using Open Distro for Elasticsearch for developer analytics, in which he looks under the covers of and how it uses open source projects such as Open Distro for Elasticsearch. This session includes a nice demo, too, with a quick look at the dashboard and some of the visualizations available.

For the Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS session, Jeremy Eder, Distinguished Engineer at Red Hat, and Ike Arias from AWS jointly present to share an overview of Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat OpenShift on AWS (ROSA). They offer insight into some of the ways that make this a great way to run OpenShift on AWS. Eder then shows what this looks like in practice, including a look at the command-line interface, rosa.

The database leadership session, Building for the future with AWS databases, is for those that want to know more about Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL. In this session, Tobias Ternström provides a demo of some of the capabilities of Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL, sticking with the tooling that many Microsoft SQL developers use regularly. Ternström also presented another session, Introducing Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL, where he expanded upon the demo with a deeper look at exactly what Babelfish is, including a look at the open source perspective and design tenets, such as the no compromises to correctness, wire protocol compatibility, and interoperability tenets.

Rust is a popular language that is increasingly being used within AWS and Amazon. Last week, Matt Asay wrote an article on Rust at AWS: Why AWS loves Rust, and how we’d like to help. If you want more on Rust, Building technology standards at Amazon scale by Marc Brooker walks you through the ways to approach moving to a new language like Rust. In the session, Brooker covers the tenets and thought process of how teams at AWS would approach this kind of move. It is definitely a session to bookmark and watch.

Nader Dabit’s session Accelerate that app with AWS Amplify open-source framework provides an introduction into AWS Amplify for developing web and mobile applications. AWS on Air also featured the team behind the AWS Amplify UI with a demo of its capabilities.

Kai Waehner from Confluent presented the session App modernization on AWS with Apache Kafka and Confluent Cloud for Apache Kafka enthusiasts and newbies alike. In this session, you can learn more about Kafka and how it can help you toward application modernization. This session covers the benefits of the open source Apache Kafka ecosystem by connecting your legacy, on-premises systems to the cloud. He also walks you through real customer stories about timely insights gained from event-driven applications built on an event streaming platform from Confluent Cloud running on AWS.

Yossi Gottlieb and Madelyn Olson take a look at the Redis timeline and road map in their session, Redis 2020: Creating a community-driven project. They also dive into an update on the new Redis governance model that is shaping the future of the open source database technology. Watch their session for more.

Raja Jadeja and Allan Naim, product managers for Amazon EKS, hosted a session for AWS on Air covering the Amazon EKS Anywhere launch announcement. Allan Naim also covered the announcement in the session Amazon EKS Anywhere: Manage your Kubernetes clusters on premises. Here, he provided the first look at what Amazon EKS Anywhere looks like, covering the current “as is” and the ways that Amazon EKS Anywhere can support you in reducing complexity, while providing a consistent experience for managing and deploying your Kubernetes clusters. Although Naim did cover the Amazon EKS Distro during this talk, for a more comprehensive look at Amazon EKS Distro, you can check out Raja Jadeja’s session Amazon EKS Distro: An open-source distribution of Kubernetes. From what EKS means to us at AWS, to how it fits in with Amazon EKS, and how we approach building the Amazon EKS Distro, this session is packed with essential information to help inform your decision making.

To learn more about the RabbitMQ capabilities added to Active MQ, you can watch Sam Dengler’s session, Application migration & hybrid cloud with RabbitMQ. Dengler takes you through the history of Active MQ, the reasons businesses are increasingly looking for message brokers as part of application modernization, and exactly what comes with the ActiveMQ for RabbitMQ service. This session is a primer for RabbitMQ, covering the core concepts and components. This session teaches you more about migration and hybrid architectures that are supported, and that you can build.

Michael Hausenblas’ session on Open-source observability at AWS is a primer for observability and the important open source projects that you need to know about. Hausenblas looks at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) landscape around this space. Find out more about some of the challenges around this space and how the OpenTelemetry set of standards is your first step in addressing your observability needs.

Other highlights

Be sure to check out week two and three highlights as well.

Ricardo Sueiras

Ricardo Sueiras

Cloud Evangelist at AWS. Enjoy most things where technology, innovation and culture collide into sometimes brilliant outcomes. Passionate about diversity and education and helping to inspire the next generation of builders and inventors with Open Source.