The numerous product announcements made at the most amazing AWS re:Invent ever, 2016, are all over the internet. However, they’re so exciting I can’t help but do my own version.
There were ~32,000 attendees this year at re:Invent. It was crazy, but it was living proof of AWS Cloud superiority. And the keynotes delivered exciting announcements after announcements after announcements – keeping all these attendees not only happy but in awe. The picture below was from the first day; hallways thinned out a bit as the week progressed because of the incredible job AWS did with crowd control:
There was a big emphasis on “metrics” from every definition of the word applied to seemingly every Amazon Service.
So let me summarize for you the main AWS Product Announcements for you, alphabetically by product type.
- Amazon Athena is a new interactive query service that makes it easy to analyze data in Amazon S3 using Standard SQL!!!!!!
Athena is serverless, thus having no infrastructure to manage. You pay only for the queries run. You point Athena at some data stored in Amazon S3, identify your fields, run your queries & get results in seconds!
You can read Jeff Barr’s blog post on Athena here.
2. New feature for Amazon EMR: you can now use Amazon S3 as a data store for Apache HBase on Amazon EMR, separating your cluster’s storage & compute nodes = the new “data lake”!!!
Bye, bye, HDFS! You can scale in compute nodes without impacting your underlying storage. You can read more about it here.
3. Amazon QuickSight is now generally available for all customers.
QuickSight is Amazon’s own fast, cloud-powered business analytics service that makes it easy to build visualizations & perform ad-hoc analytics for Big Data. Read Jeff’s blog post here.
4. Amazon Redshift announced four new features that improve data compression, connection management, and data loading:
- Estimate storage space savings with compression with the ANALYZE COMPRESSION command for each suggested column encoding so you can easily choose the best compression option
- Automate compression when you create tables using CREATE TABLE AS command. This automatically compresses all columns except for sort key columns & those with boolean, real, & double precision types using LZO as the default compression type. This reduces storage space for your clusters and saves costs
- You can now control/limit the number of database connections a user can open concurrently and the number of concurrent connections that can be made to a database using the CONNECTION LIMIT parameter when creating a user, a database, or altering a user or a database
- When you use the COPY command for tables with a single sort key column and you insert data in sort key order, the command automatically adds new rows to the table’s sorted region, which eliminates or reduces the need to vacuum
5. AWS Glue is a new fully managed ETL service that makes it easy to understand your data sources, prepare the data, and load it reliably to data stores.
It simplifies and automates data discovery, transformation, and job scheduling tasks. You can read more about it by clicking the link above.
- New features were introduced for Amazon API Gateway:
- Amazon API Gateway now integrates with the AWS Marketplace to help API owners monetize their API and meter usage for their API products, without writing any code. You can learn more about it here
- You now can add documentation to your methods & resources for your APIs built using Amazon API Gateway, making it easy for your API consumers to understand your API (pretty cool, right?). You can read more about it here
- Custom authorizers on Amazon API Gateway can now return additional fields in their authorization response. You can read more about it here
2. AWS Step Functions is a new service that makes it easy to coordinate the components of distributed applications and microservices using visual workflows.
You can read more about it on Jeff’s blog here.
- Amazon Lex is a new service for building conversational interfaces using voice & text:
With Lex, the same deep learning engine that powers Alexa is now available to any developer, enabling you to bring sophisticated, natural language chatbots to new & existing applications.
You can read Jeff’s blog post about Amazon Lex here.
2. Amazon Polly is a new service that turns text into lifelike speech. It supports 24 languages & 47 lifelike voices.
You can create apps that talk, allowing you to build entirely new categories of speech-enabled products.
You can read more about Amazon Polly in Jeff’s blog here
3. Amazon Rekognition is a new service that makes it easy to add image analysis to your applications.
With Rekognition, you can detect objects, scenes, and faces in images. You can also search & compare faces.
You can read more about Rekognition in Jeff’s blog post here.
4. My favorite in this category is MXNet – Deep Learning Framework of Choice at AWS.
MXNet is an open source, fully featured, flexibly programmable and ultra-scalable deep learning framework supporting deep learning models including convolutional neural networks (CNNs) & long short-term memory networks (LSTMs). Running MXnet on AWS provides a highly scalable, flexible and fast model training experience for developers using deep learning on CPUs or GPUs, on clusters, servers, desktops, or mobile phones. It’s available on AWS Marketplace here.
For those interested in how “we” got to this level of “deep learning”, refer to my article on my blog https://kimschmidtsbrain.com/ entitled “Updated with Google’s TensorFlow: Artificial Intelligence, Neural Networks, and Deep Learning”, https://kimschmidtsbrain.com/2015/10/29/artificial-intelligence-neural-networks-and-deep-learning/ written a little over a year ago. LOVE THIS TOPIC!
- Amazon EC2 instances in a VPC now offer native support for the IPv6 protocol. This protocol can be enabled for existing & new VPCs through the AWS Management console, API/SDK, and CLI
- They introduced the new instance type for EC2, C5 instances. They’re the most powerful Compute Optimized instances, having the highest performing processors with the lowest price/compute performance in EC2. You can read Jeff’s blog post about it here
- You can now add more GPU to your existing EC2 instances with Amazon EC2 Elastic GPUs. They are the most cost effective way to add graphics acceleration to Amazon EC2 instances.
They’ll help applications that use machine learning, high performance databases, and genomics, for example. They’re attached similar to how EBS volumes are attached to EC2 instances.
You can read Jeff’s blog post here. This is one of my favorite new features!
4. A new instance type, Amazon EC2 F1 is a new compute instance with programmable hardware for application acceleration.
With F1, you can directly access custom field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) hardware on the instance with a few clicks. These instance types can be used to speed up big data search, financial risk analysis, and genomics applications.
You can read Jeff’s blog here
5. Amazon also announced another new instance type (no wonder they have more compute power in use than the other 16 cloud providers in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant combined!) Amazon Ec2 I3. I3 instances are the latest generation of Storage Optimized High I/O instances. They have low latency Non-Volatile Memory Express(NVMe)-based SSDs for the most demanding I/O intensive relational, NoSQL, transactional, and analytics workloads.
You can read Jeff’s blog post here
6. Amazon EC2 new instance type R4 are the latest generation of Memory Optimized instances that are 20% more price performant than R3 instances. They’re designed for today’s memory-intensive Business Intelligence, in-memory caching, and database applications, offering up to 488 GB of memory!
You can read Jeff’s blog post here
7. Amazon EC2 announced new instance types t2.xlarge & t2.2xlarge. They’re the newest burstable-performance instances. The t2.xlarge has 16 GB of memory & 4 vCPUs, and t2.2xlarge has 32 GB of memory & 8 vCPUs. These instances provide a baseline level of CPU performance with the ability to burst above the baseline.
The baseline performance and the ability to burst are governed by “CPU Credits”, which to me is an interesting read on how they work this out. You can read more about this here.
You can read Jeff’s blog post about this here.
8. Amazon Lightsail is a new service that offers the easiest way to launch & manage a virtual private server with AWS. This helps you jumpstart your project with compute, storage, & networking starting at $5/mo.
You can read Jeff’s blog post about Amazon Lightsail here.
9. The new service AWS Batch enables developers, scientists, and engineers to easily & efficiently run hundreds of thousands of batch computing jobs on AWS.
Use cases for AWS Batch include Financial Services (such as Post-Trade Analytics), Digital Media (such as Visual Effects Rendering), and Life Sciences (such as Drug Screening for Biopharma). Just like AWS: always on the cutting-edge of technology!
You can read Jeff’s blog post here.
10. There are new features for AWS Lambda:
- You can now configure a dead letter queue (DLQ) on AWS Lambda to give you more control over message handling for all asynchronous invocations, including those delivered via AWS events (S3, SNS, IoT, etc)
- You can now develop your AWS Lambda functions in C# using the .NET Core 1.0 runtime (a big deal for C#-ers like me!)
11. This is a very promising new feature: Lambda@Edge! Lambda@Edge lets you run code at CloudFront edge locations without provisioning or managing servers! This allows developers to deliver a low latency user experience for customized web apps.
You can read more at Jeff’s blog here.
- They announced Blox, a collection of open source software that enables customers to build custom schedulers & integrate 3rd-party schedulers on top of ECS
You can read more about Blox on Jeff’s blog here.
- There were two new features announced for Amazon Aurora:
- This one is phenomenal! Amazon Aurora is now PostgreSQL compatible!!! You can get up to twice the performance of the typical PostgreSQL database along with all the awesome features of Amazon Aurora (if you haven’t seen my “in-progress” video series on Amazon Aurora, the first 25 videos can be found here). This adds more performance benefits and the geospatial objects associated with PostgreSQL, among other things.
You can read more about this exciting new feature on Jeff’s blog here.
- AWS has expanded its HIPAA compliance program to include Amazon Aurora for RDS for PostgreSQL.
2. AWS Schema Conversion Tool added two more data warehouses as sources for schema conversion: Netzetta and Greenplum. It’s getting easier every day to consume data on AWS!
DESKTOP & APP STREAMING
- AWS announced a new service, Amazon AppStream 2.0. This service allows you to stream desktop apps securely from the AWS cloud directly to users on the device of their choice, eliminating the need to rewrite desktop apps for the cloud. Cool.
2. There were three new features announced for Amazon Workspaces:
- Amazon WorkSpaces Graphics bundles offer a virtual cloud desktop which includes a high-end GPU that supports engineering, design, and architectural applications
- You can now access your Amazon WorkSpaces through Chrome & Firefox web browsers, using a new feature called Amazon WorkSpaces Web Access
- Amazon WorkSpaces now offers bundles that come with a Windows 10 desktop experience, powered by Windows Server 2016. This bundle provides an easy way to move users to a modern OS while simplifying licensing
1. AWS announced a new service called AWS CodeBuild that builds and tests code in the cloud. CodeBuild scales continuously.
You’re charged by the minute for the compute resources you use.
You can use CodeBuild with other AWS services such as AWS Code Pipeline, which automates building and testing code in CodeBuild each time you commit a change to your repository. These announcements just keep blowing my mind!
You can read Jeff’s blog post on this here.
2. Another new service announced is AWS X-Ray – I JUST LOVE THIS ONE!
AWS X-Ray helps developers analyze and debug production, distributed applications such as those built using a microservices architecture.
With X-Ray, you can understand how your application and its underlying services are performing to identify and troubleshoot the root cause of performance issues and errors – even services that run for milliseconds!!!
You can read more about this awesome new service in Jeff’s blog post here.
1. AWS announced a new service called VMware Cloud on AWS.
This makes it easy for customers to run VMware workloads on the AWS cloud, which I think is an ingenious move for Enterprise adoption!
INTERNET OF THINGS
1. AWS Greengrass is a new service that’s software that allows you to run local compute, messaging & data caching for connected devices in a secure way.
You can run IoT applications seamlessly across the AWS Cloud + local devices using AWS Lambda to keep device data in sync & communicate between devices securely, even when not connected. Data is never exchanged between devices when they communicate with each other without proven identity. AWS IoT devices can be configured to communicate with one another in a Greengrass Group.
You can read Jeff’s blog post on AWS Greengrass here.
2. Three new features were released about AWS IoT:
- I’ve heard nothing but accolades about the new, redesigned AWS IoT console. It’s very slick and is easier to use. This includes connecting devices, diving into details, finding key resources, and testing with the MQTT client. I don’t have any IoT devices configured, but here’s a peek at the bare console 😉
- AWS announced the AWS IoT Button Enterprise Program is in limited preview.
This program helps businesses expand existing applications or build new applications that connect to a simple IoT button device:
Using the Button, businesses can offer services or improve existing products using the click of the physical button seen above, & custom logic in the cloud triggers services in the cloud. Beyond cool!
- AWS has improved the developer experience by offering as pre-order, the 2nd generation AWS IoT Button with 2x the battery life, & a new mobile app on iOS and Android for easy configuration, called the Amazon Dash Button.
As examples, you can program the button’s logic to unlock or start a car, call Uber, track medications, household appliances and more. The button connects to a WiFi network then links straight to AWS cloud.
1. Amazon CloudWatch Metrics has a price reduction from $0.50/metric/month to $0.30/metric/month, and a 40% reduction in New Volume-Based Pricing Tiers
2. Amazon EC2 Systems Manager is a new AMAZING service that’s a management service to help you automatically collect software inventory, apply Windows OS patches, create system images, and configure Windows & Linux OS’s.
This is what the “Systems Manager Services” area looks like in the Amazon EC2 Dashboard:
3. There’s a new feature for AWS Cloudformation that lets you provision & manage resources for AWS Lambda-based applications using AWS CloudFormation & the AWS Serverless Application Model (AWS SAM).
4. AWS CloudTrail now supports Amazon S3 Data Events. You can now record all API actions on S3 Objects and receive detailed information such as the AWS account of the caller, IAM user role of the caller, time of the API call, Ip address of the API & more! Considering Amazon Athena, this is a natural new feature that’ll greatly benefit customers.
5. A new service called AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate provides a fully managed Chef server & suite of automation tools for continuous deployment, automated testing for compliance, & a user interface for visibility into your nodes.
This automation platform treats server configurations as code. ULTRA COOL.
6. AWS announced a new service called AWS Personal Health Dashboard, that gives you a personalized view of AWS service health.
You’ll get alerts when services you’re using are impacted with guidance to help keep your AWS resources healthy. You can read more in Jeff’s blog post here.
1. You can now use Amazon SQS for applications that require strict sequence using “First-in, First-out” (FIFO) queues. In addition, the price for Amazon SQS standard queues has been reduced by up to 20%.
1. Are you ready for this? AWS announced a new service called AWS Snowmobile. AWS Snowmobile is an exabyte-scale data transfer service that builds upon AWS Snowball (haha) to move extremely large amounts of data securely. As Andy Jassy stated on the keynote stage, compared to AWS Snowball, “We’re going to need a bigger box!” So they made one!
You can read Jeff’s blog post on AWS Snowmobile here.
1. AWS announced a new service called Amazon Pinpoint. Amazon Pinpoint makes it easy to run targeted push notification campaigns to improve user engagement in mobile apps.
You can use Pinpoint to define your target segments, run your campaign, and measure results.
2. There were 2 announcements in regard to AWS Mobile Hub:
- AWS announced SaaS Connectors feature for AWS Mobile Hub. These connectors make it easy to securely access data in 3rd-party enterprise SaaS applications from your mobile app
- AWS Mobile Hub now includes an integration with Amazon Lex so you can build mobile apps that use speech and text, in addition to touch to your mobile app
NETWORKING & CONTENT DELIVERY
1. Amazon CloudFront has a new feature called CloudFront Regional Edge Caches that improves performance for your viewers while lowering the load on your origin resources. BONUS: There’s no additional charge for using this feature!
SECURITY, IDENTITY & COMPLIANCE
1. AWS announced a new service called AWS Artifact that provides on-demand access to AWS compliance reports to verify & demonstrate security and compliance of the cloud.
There are many audit artifacts to choose from. I’ve shrunk the page down that I took a screenshot of below to fit in as many as I could, but there’s many more:
2. A new service called AWS Organizations allows you to create groups of AWS accounts that you can use to more easily manage security and automation settings.
3. An awesome new service called AWS Shield is a managed DDoS protection service that safeguards your web apps using ELB, Amazon CloudFront, & Amazon Route 53.
There are two tiers of AWS Shield – Standard & Advanced – as you can see in the screenshot above.
You can read Jeff’s blog post on AWS Shield here.
1. Amazon EFS has a new feature that now allows access from on-prem servers.
This simplifies migration of file data from on-prem into Amazon EFS file systems and enables support for cloud bursting workloads.
2. Amazon Glacier announced a new feature that allows customers to use Expedited retrievals to access data in 1-5 minutes for a flat fee of $0.03/GB retrieved! Awesome!
3. Amazon announced new features to the growing portfolio of Amazon S3 Storage Management capabilities to help you better analyze & manage your storage ! YEAH! There’s 4 new features that can be further explained by clicking the link in this paragraph:
- S3 Object Targeting
- S3 Analytics, Storage Class Analytics
- S3 Inventory
- S3 CloudWatch Metrics
4. AWS collapsed the number of Amazon S3 price tiers from six to three making it easier to understand your bill and project future costs. AWS also reduced Amazon S3 & Amazon Glacier storage prices by more than 20% in most regions
5. AWS Snowball has a new feature whereby it expanded its HIPAA compliance program to include AWS Snowball so you can now transfer large amounts of Protected Health Information (PIH) into & out of AWS securely & cost effectively.
6. AWS Snowball Edge is a new service that’s a petabyte-scale data transfer service with on-board storage and compute!!! WOW!
Below is an image of AWS Snowball Edge:
You can read more about AWS Snowball Edge in Jeff’s blog post here.
7. AWS announced a new feature for AWS Storage Gateway, providing a virtual on-prem file server, enabling you to store & retrieve Amazon S3 objects through standard file-like storage protocols
WOW! I’m sure as impressed as I am! AWS just keeps getting better, & better, & better!