Innovation, Thy Name is AWS – Recap of AWS Summit, San Francisco 2017

Innovation, Thy Name is AWS – Recap of AWS Summit, San Francisco 2017

You’d be excused for thinking Christmas came in April! Yesterday saw a number of bombshell announcements from AWS at their AWS Summit in San Francisco. Let’s review what was announced that could help you build, have fun and make history!

Amazon Marketplace: SaaS Contracts

First up we have new options for purchasing SaaS from the Amazon Marketplace. You can now purchase SaaS in 1 to 3 year terms for immediate discounts. Not sure how many users you will need to add over the years? No problem! You can increase the size of your contract at any time and can upgrade from smaller commitments to gain long term discounts.

See here for more details.

AWS Codestar

Codestar provides a unified interface to help you quickly develop, build and deploy applications onto AWS. By integrating with CodeCommit, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy, CodePipeline, Atlassian’s JIRA and other AWS services it strives to be the simplest way to set up a continuous delivery toolchain.

Codestar is available in limited regions. See here for more details.

F1 Instances

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) instances (F1) are now generally available in the Northern Virginia Region. For specially written code FPGAs can offer a 30x speed increase over normal CPUs. FPGAs are already powering some of the most powerful machine learning algorithms while also promising to allow real time holistic genome sequencing. By coupling pay as you go and the elastic capabilities we’ve come to expect, AWS is enabling whole fields of innovation using FPGAs.

F1 instances are available in limited regions. See here for more details.

Amazon DynamoDB Accelerator (DAX)

DAX or DynamoDB Accelerator is a highly available, in memory cache that fronts your existing DynamoDB tables promising up to a 10x improvement on read latency. DAX is completely compatible with existing DynamoDB calls (it acts as a proxy) so cutting over existing applications is as easy as changing an endpoint.

DAX is currently in preview and available in limited regions. See here for more details.

Redshift Spectrum

Continuing the theme of decoupling storage and compute, Amazon announced Redshift Spectrum. Redshift Spectrum allows you to run redshift queries directly against data residing in an S3 data lake all while maintaining the same SQL interface. The performance is mind boggling. Amazon has claimed they were able to process a complex query over an Exabyte (1,000,000TB) of data in as little as 155 seconds. Existing solutions (a 1000 node Hive cluster) would need 5 years to complete the same query.

Redshift Spectrum is available in limited regions. See here for more details.

Amazon Rekognition: Content Moderation

Amazon Rekognition now has a new feature to add to its arsenal. Joining the growing list of supported data types is Content Moderation. Content Moderation can detect explicit or suggestive adult content to allow developers to incorporate new filtering methods to their applications.

Rekognition is available in limited regions. See here for more details.

Amazon Polly

Polly, the service that enables text to lifelike speech has added two new features. Whispered Voice adds a softer tone effect to generated speech files to the wide selection of voices and languages already available. Speech Marks offers additional metadata which details information on timing of sentences and words, SSML tags and visemes (facial cues). This metadata can be used to generate realistic visual animations that are synchronized with the output from Polly.

Amazon Lex

Amazon Lex, the speech recognition service, has also entered general availability. Lex can identify either voice or text based communications and has the ability to understand human intent and adjust the response accordingly.

Lex is available in limited regions.

AWS X-Ray

Amazon X-Ray, a tool allowing you to trace requests between components of a distributed application, has also entered general availability. Additionally AWS Lambda support has been added as a preview feature. X-Ray now allows for simple tracing of your serverless applications which removes the cumbersome custom logging and performance analysis of the past.

See here for more details.

DynamoDB VPC Endpoints

Last, but certainly not least, we are pleased that DynamoDB joins S3 in offering services direct to the VPC. VPC endpoints attach to route tables which cause traffic bound to a service to not traverse an Internet Gateway. While being a welcome more secure way to access DynamoDB,  it is also able to claim to reduce costs by removing NAT Gateways transfer charges. DynamoDB VPC Endpoints are available in limited regions and are currently offered as a public preview. See here for more details.

Conclusion

Amazon continues to lead the industry and maintain its consistent pace of innovation. I continue to be pleasantly surprised each time I open the AWS console and yet another quality service has appeared.  

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