Keep up, won’t you?
“I want it all” sang AWS’s house band shortly after CEO Andy Jassy took to the stage in Las Vegas to deliver a keynote for the cloud juggernaut. (Queues for his speech had started at 6.30am at the annual re:Invent conference, attended by over 50,000).
“Who doesn’t want it all?” he riffed on stage at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, and in a three-hour presentation set out to prove that AWS does; reeling off a ever-growing array of new tools for the cloud provider’s users.
AWS, worth $27 billion and expanding at 46 percent yearly, now offers 140 services with thousands of secondary features, but it is just getting warmed up: the company has added 239 new security tools alone in 2018, with a similar number of new machine learning and AI capabilities rolled out over the past 12 months.
As Jassy paced the stage, new AWS services announcements flowed thick and fast.
One dazed IT architect on the conference floor told Computer Business Review: “I just don’t know how to keep up with all the offerings”.
They weren’t alone. In a press Q&A later AWS CISO Steve Schmidt said, half-joking, half-not, that even keeping AWS employees internally apprised of the tools at their disposal is hard work. Here’s a quick overview from Computer Business Review of some of the new AWS services announced at re:Invent that may be of interest to our readers.
New AWS Services: A Snapshot*
*All titles are hyperlinked
One of the new tools Jassy mentioned first was Amazon FSx for Windows File Server. Windows File Server usage is losing share to Linux, but there is still demand in the market and the new offering allows users to lift-and-shift Windows workloads to AWS. The system is accessible via the SMB (Server Message Block) protocol. It’s built on SSD storage, and, AWS said, “delivers consistent sub-millisecond performance”.
This is flexible new billing option for DynamoDB, AWS’s NoSQL database service. It offers pay-per-request pricing for read and write requests and “instantly accommodates customers’ workloads as they ramp up or down”. Useful if your application traffic is difficult to predict and control, your workload has large spikes of short duration, or if your average table utilisation is well below the peak.
Currently in preview, this aims to give you a birds-eye view of your AWS security and compliance with the security industry standards. It gathers security data from across AWS accounts, services, and supported third-party partners and helps users analyse security trends and automatically identify the highest priority security issues. (AWS itself now automates over 90 percent of its security tickets).
Using AWS a lot? Large numbers of its services create logs: these contain data points, patterns, trends, and insights into how your applications and AWS resources are behaving. It can get messy though, owing to the sheer volumes of data created. This new managed service crunches through logs to provide insight for users. It can handle any log format, and auto-discovers fields from JSON logs. It comes with what AWS describes as a “sophisticated ad-hoc query language”. Data visualisation too…
Machine learning made easy? It’s never easy, but AWS aims to make it easier for customers to to efficiently and accurately label the datasets required for training machine learning systems, incuding by automating the labeling of your input data. This new tool helps users build datasets for text classification; image classification, i.e categorizing images in specific classes; object detection, i.e. locating objects in images with bounding boxes; semantic segmentation, i.e. locating objects in images “with pixel-level precision” and also custom user-defined tasks.
AWS described this as a fully managed service that allows you to “set up and manage a scalable blockchain network with just a few clicks.” The solution manages your certificates, lets you invite new members to join the network, and tracks operational metrics such as usage of compute, memory, and storage resources. It can also replicate an immutable copy of your blockchain network activity into Amazon QLDB.
Think blockchain, without the hassle. QLDB is fully managed ledger database that provides an immutable, and cryptographically verifiable transaction log owned by a central trusted authority. Useful for tracking application data changes… It comes with a “familiar SQL-like API, a flexible document data model, and full support for transactions”. It’s also serverless and scalable.
This machine learning-powered service automatically extracts text and data from scanned documents. AWS said it will identify bounding boxes, detect key-value pairs, and make sense of tables, while eliminating manual effort and lowering your document-processing costs. Speed? “Millions of document pages in hours…”
This a fully managed time-series database that users can use to store and analyse “trillions of events per day at 1/10th the cost of a relational database.” AWS described it as a “great fit for IoT, industrial telemetry, app monitoring, and DevOps data.” It automates rollups, retention, tiering, and compression so time-series data can be efficiently stored and processed.
AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr has a comprehensive list here.