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AWS re:Invent 2019

Well, it’s Friday, December 6th 2019 and we’ve just seen the end of the latest re:Invent 2019 conference – an event put on by Amazon to showcase all of their latest products.  As per usual, the event has seen record-breaking attendance with this years estimate put at around 65,000 people spread across 6 days in sunny Las Vegas.

And Amazon hasn’t disappointed with a whole raft of new features and services, some evolutionary…some revolutionary.  Amazon is now producing new services at a rate that is greatly outpacing their closest competitor Microsoft while leaving the third player in the market, Google – well behind.  It is this rate of change that Amazon is hoping keeps customer flocking to their Public Cloud Platform and increasing their 70% share in the market.

So is there any insight we can glean from Amazons recent product announcements about their strategy for the future?  In short, absolutely…just look at these recent product announcements…

  • AWS Local Zones – Placing AWS Infrastructure close to large populations where current regions don’t exist.
  • AWS Wavelength – AWS infrastructure deployments within telecommunications datacentres.
  • AWS Outpost – AWS hardware that sits in your on-premise data centre to mimic AWS Cloud Services.

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You can see the pattern here…AWS, AWS and more AWS.  Where you may hear other Public Cloud providers like Google touting multi/hybrid cloud with their Anthos service, AWS makes no mention…focused solely on growing their own business.  Amazon is betting on the fact that businesses will go all-in with a single cloud provider.  This is down to the fact that currently, cloud providers offerings are so different that to go multi/hybrid cloud requires a tremendous amount of effort and resource on the customers’ side.  Businesses are now starting to adopt a single cloud provider for this reason, with a good exit strategy in their back pocket should they need to migrate.  With this in mind, Amazon is attempting to make its cloud service the most compelling by supercharging it with products and services.

So what are the highlights from the new announcements from this year re:Invent?

Development

  • Amazon CodeGuru“Amazon CodeGuru is a new machine learning service for development teams who want to automate code reviews, identify the most expensive lines of code in their applications, and receive intelligent recommendations on how to fix or improve their code.”  Amazon has designed a product that acts like an extra developer peer-reviewing your code, highlighting potential fixes and more importantly performance improvements.  This could be a great tool to screen code before it is peer-reviewed by your peers – saving engineering time.  This service is priced per line reviewed, so you may want to shrink those comments and line breaks down!

Machine Learning

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  • Fraud Detector (Preview) – “Amazon Fraud Detector is a fully managed service that makes it easy to identify potentially fraudulent online activities such as online payment fraud and the creation of fake accounts.” Using machine learning and a bucket load of historical AWS data, Amazon promises to help you detect fraud a whole lot easier.
  • Amazon SageMaker Studio – “an integrated development environment (IDE) for machine learning (ML) that lets you easily build, train, debug, deploy and monitor your machine learning models.” Amazon has designed a tool to bring together all of the components of machine learning into one place with a single view of the ecosystem.
  • New Amazon SageMaker Notebook Experience (Preview) – “a new notebook experience that allows developers to spin up machine learning notebooks in seconds, and enables sharing of notebooks with just a single click.”  You’re now able to quickly launch notebook environments without waiting for instances to load and use AWS Single Sign-On for easier, faster access.
  • SageMaker Autopilot – a service designed to make machine learning more accessible to those without a data scientist degree.  You can use this service to automatically find the best training model, by experimenting with AWS suggested methods.
  • Amazon Kendra – “a new highly accurate and easy to use enterprise search service powered by machine learning. Kendra provides a more intuitive way to search, using natural language, and returns more accurate answers so your end users can discover information stored within the vast amount of content spread across your company.”  Think intranet searching on steroids!  You’re able to scan in vast amounts of information such as FAQ’s and then ask simple questions like – “How long is maternity leave?” and get a simple answer back…”14 weeks”.
  • Amazon SageMaker Debugger – “Amazon SageMaker Debugger is a new capability of Amazon SageMaker that provides complete insights into the training process of machine learning (ML) models by automating the capture and analysis of data from training runs at real-time, with no code changes.”
  • AWS DeepComposer – This one seems like a bit of a gimmick, but is intended to provide an easier, more interesting path into machine learning for those with limited experience.  With a musical keyboard ($99) you too can become an overnight musical sensation*. *with the help of incredible number crunching in the cloud
  • Contact Lens – A new service for Amazon Connect that aims to bring together several other services into one new product, enabling businesses to analyse attributes such as customer sentiment, trends and compliance.

Hardware

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  • Amazon Braket“Amazon Braket is a fully managed service that makes it easy for scientists, researchers, and developers to build, test, and run quantum computing algorithms.”  Designed to give folks an insight into quantum computing and make it accessible for the masses.  You can now generate quantum algorithms, run them on standard simulated quantum environments before running them on the real deal hardware!
  • Outpost – As mentioned earlier, Outpost – the services that put AWS services inside your datacentre is now generally available, albeit with limited services.
  • AWS Wavelength – Delivering 5G edge cloud computing, providing single-digit millisecond latency over a 5G network!
  • AWS Compute Optimizer – a machine learning-powered tool for analysing and recommending the correct size for your instances!
  • Transit Gateway Improvements – inter-region connectivity now possible, and with the help of a shiny dashboard helping you visualise your network.

Security

  • IAM Access Analyzer –  “a new feature that makes it simple for security teams and administrators to check that their policies provide only the intended access to resources” Evaluate thousands of policies across your accounts in a matter of seconds to make sure you’re compliant.
  • Amazon Detective (preview) – “analyse, investigate, and quickly identify the root cause of potential security issues or suspicious activities”.  Taking input from other AWS services such as flow logs and CloudTrail, Amazon Detective provides a single pane of glass to analyse all of your events and glean insights by correlating suspicious activities.

Analytics

  • Amazon Redshift Federate Query (preview) – “query and analyse data across operational databases, data warehouses, and data lakes.”  Where RedShift Spectrum joined your S3 data with Redshift, Federate Query takes analytics a step further and brings your operational RDS databases into the mix – making one big happy queryable family.
  • AWS UltraWarm (preview) – “UltraWarm lets you store and interactively analyse your data using Elasticsearch and Kibana while reducing your cost per GB by up to 90% over existing Amazon Elasticsearch Service hot storage options.”  Using a clever mix of S3 storage to store older queries and lighting fast AWS Nitro systems to store recent data, ElasticSearch now offers a quicker, more durable service at a cheaper price.
  • Advanced Query Accelerator for Amazon Redshift (AQUA) – what happens when you take one of the fastest performing data warehouse technologies and add hardware-accelerated cache?  You get 10 times better query performance!

The new services/features listed above are just the tip of the iceberg, leading up to re:Invent there have been a ton of announcements focusing on making incremental improvements to existing services.  All in all, Amazon have been extremely busy over the last year and show no signs in slowing up!