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AWS re:Invent 2016: Day one recap

AWS re:Invent 2016 is officially under way! James Hamilton, AWS VP & Distinguished Engineer, led the preliminary re:Invent keynote and 6 new product features and improvements were announced. Two more keynotes are scheduled for later in the week, in addition to the ongoing 280 conference sessions. Let’s take a closer look at these updates. (See the recorded keynote here)
james-hamilton-reinvent-2016
1. AWS Storage Gateway Price reductions
AWS is updating pricing for its AWS Storage Gateway to allow enterprises to easily move their data storage to the cloud, replacing on-premise file servers, SANs, and backup solutions. Yesterday, AWS announced that the Storage Gateway service now provides support for a virtual on-premises file server and that pricing would be reduced and simplified.
There will be 3 changes to pricing (following the announcement from Jeff Barr last week):

  1. Storage prices for volume and virtual tapes will be reduced (up to 28% for volume and virtual tapes, and up to 43% for archived virtual tapes).
  2. The monthly gateway fee will be replaced with pricing based on the amount of data you write to AWS. (In all regions, you will pay $0.01 per GB up to a monthly maximum of no more than $125 per gateway. AWS is offering the first 100 GB free for new customers to allow them to set up and try the service.)
  3. Virtual tape retrieval will move from rate-based fees to per GB pricing. (In all regions, you will pay $0.01 per GB of data retrieved.)

2. AWS Organizations: Centrally Manage Multiple AWS Accounts
AWS launched  a new feature that will allow you centrally manage all of your organization’s AWS accounts: AWS Organizations.
Especially for teams, this is a welcome, practical improvement for managing such an important resource.
According to the feature details, you will be able to arrange your AWS accounts into groups called organizational units (OUs) and apply policies to OUs or directly to accounts. It allows you to organize your accounts by application, environment, team, or any other grouping that makes sense for your business.
For more details, check out this thread on Hacker News.

3. AWS Storage Gateway provides a file interface to objects in your Amazon S3 buckets
Until now, customers using the AWS Storage Gateway could access data stored in their S3 buckets by connecting as a local disk or by accessing a Virtual Tape Library. AWS now provides a virtual on-premises file server that allows you to store and retrieve Amazon S3 objects through standard file storage protocols.
The new file gateway interface offers several benefits: It makes it easier to move data into S3 for in-cloud workloads, offers cost-effective backup and archive storage, and it expands your on-premises cloud storage.

4. Amazon Aurora and Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL are now HIPAA-eligible services
Amazon Aurora and Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL are now included in AWS’ HIPAA compliance program. This means that you can use them to build HIPAA-compliant applications and store healthcare-related information across the healthcare analytics pipeline.

5. Revolutionizing S3 Storage Management with 4 new features
AWS announced new features that help users better manage and analyze their storage. They include:

  1. S3 Object Tagging – This feature allows users to  manage and control access for Amazon S3 objects. S3 Object Tags are key-value pairs applied to S3 objects that can be created, updated, or deleted at any time during the object’s lifetime. With S3 Object Tags, users can create Identity and Access Management (IAM) and S3 lifecycle policies and customize storage metrics.
  2. S3 Analytics, Storage Class Analysis – This feature allows users to analyze storage access patterns for an entire bucket, prefix, or object tag. S3 Analytics automatically identifies the optimal lifecycle policy to transition less frequently accessed storage to SIA. Daily visualizations of storage usage can be exported to an S3 bucket for further analysis using your business intelligence tools, including Amazon QuickSight.
  3. S3 Inventory – S3 Inventory is an alternative to Amazon’s S3 synchronous List API that can help users simplify and speed up business workflows and big data jobs. Output of your objects and their metadata comes in a CSV (Comma Separated Values) flat-file on a daily or weekly basis.
  4. S3 CloudWatch Metrics – View real-time operations and performance to quickly identify and act on operational issues using CloudWatch alarms. This feature offers great flexibility for defining filters for metrics in order to align them with specific business applications, workflows, or internal organizations.

6. Amazon WorkSpaces introduces Windows 10 desktop experience
Amazon’s virtual desktop solution Amazon WorkSpaces now includes bundles with a Windows 10 desktop experience, powered by Windows Server 2016. The Windows 10 bundles are in addition to the Windows 7 desktop experience, and are geared toward simplifying licensing while moving users to a modern operating system.

Helpful links

Here are a few links that you might find useful, including videos of some of yesterday’s sessions and other interesting information:
Scalability Comparison Scripts for Deep Learning Frameworks
AWS re:Invent 2016: Tuesday Night Live with James Hamilton
Tom Soderstrom of NASA JPL Discusses How the Cloud Is Helping Answer Cosmic Questions
AWS re:Invent 2016: Large-Scale, Cloud-Based Analysis of Cancer Genomes (LFS304)
AWS re:Invent 2016: How to Build a Big Data Analytics Data Lake (LFS303)
AWS re:Invent 2016: Continuous Compliance in the AWS Cloud (LFS302)
AWS re:Invent 2016: Building a Platform for Collaborative Scientific Research on AWS (LFS301)
AWS re:Invent 2016: AWS GovCloud (US) for Highly Regulated Workloads (WWPS301)
AWS re:Invent 2016: Governance Strategies for Cloud Transformation (WWPS302)
AWS re:Invent 2016: How EA Leveraged Redshift & 47Lining to Gather Player Insights (GAM301)
AWS re:Invent 2016: Use AWS to Secure Your DevOps Pipeline Like a Bank (FIN303)
AWS re:Invent 2016: Open-Source Resources (DCS201)

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