AWS Launches re:Invent 2020 with new MacOS Support

Starting on Monday, November 30th, and running for the next three weeks, Amazon has launched its annual AWS re:Invent conference. In most years the conference spans several different properties in Las Vegas and runs over the course of a few days. Last year’s re:Invent conference had over 60,000 attendees. This year, like all of the other big tech conferences, the event was 100% virtual. However, unlike those other conferences, this year’s re:Invent was completely free and it will be held over the course of three weeks.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy kicked off this year’s keynote on December 1st.  Andy stressed the need for constant reinvention in his keynote as he stated that “You want to be reinventing all the time. Some of it is building the right reinvention culture, and some of it is knowing what technology is available to you and jumping on it to make that reinvention happen.” He covered a number of topics — not all of them technical. He addressed the issue of racism in America and how Amazon is working to rectify the problem in their own organization. He covered how the cloud has enabled businesses to keep working during the ongoing pandemic. And he emphasized that Amazon is customer-focused and that the technology and services that they develop are all about addressing customer needs.

The AWS Partner keynote with Doug Yeum, head of Worldwide Channels and Alliances; Sandy Carter, vice president, Global Public Sector Partners and Programs; and Dave McCann, vice president, AWS Migration, Marketplace, and Control Service is scheduled for Thursday, December 3rd at 8am PST.

AWS now supports the MacOS

One welcome announcement that came right at the beginning of AWS reinvent was the new support AWS has for the MacOS. Amazon announced that it will offer EC2 instances that can run on demand macOS workloads. The EC2 Mac instances are based on Mac Mini devices. They can be used to create apps for all types of Apple devices including the Mac, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

The instances use a combination of Mac mini hardware and the AWS Nitro abstraction layer which enables macOS 10.14 Mojave and 10.15 Catalina instances to consume AWS services like S3, EBS, and EFS. The instances provide a 6-core Intel Core i7 processor running at 3.2 GHz and 32GB of RAM. The instances are EC2 Dedicated Hosts and have a minimum tenancy of 24 hours. You can access the Mac EC2 instances using SSH or VNC. In the future, versions based on Apple’s M1 processor are planned for 2021. The macOS instances are available today in US East in North Virginia and Ohio, US West in Oregon, Europe in Ireland, and Asia Pacific in Singapore.

You can find out more about this year’s AWS re:Invent conference at AWS re:Invent. If you’re interested in learning more about running the MacOS on AWS you can check out the AWS News Blog at New – Use Amazon EC2 Mac Instances to Build & Test macOS, iOS, ipadOS, tvOS, and watchOS Apps.

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Michael Otey is president of TECA, a technical content production, consulting and software development company in Portland,