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AWS re:Invent 2016 keynote

AWS re:Invent 2016 keynote: Andy Jassy announced more than 10 new services in less than 2 hours!

The first AWS re:Invent 2016 keynote here at was an endless series of exciting announcements. Andy Jassy kept astonishing the crowd for more than two hours straight. In addition to the nearly 32,000 attendees this year, re:Invent is hosting more than 50,000 live streams spread across more than 400 technical sessions.
During his AWS re:Invent 2016 keynote, Jassy also invited special guests to showcase new projects and partnerships, including the CTO of McDonald’s, the CEO of VMWare, and the CEO of Workday.
Here is a quick recap of the services announced today (most of these are already available for you to experiment with):

AWS re:Invent 2016 News

In 2014, AWS announced the Cloud as “the new normal.” Last year, the focus was on “taking control over your own destiny“. In 2016 and 2017, using AWS will make you feel like you have been given Super Powers.
But which super powers?

  • Supersonic Speed: With AWS, you can move from idea to implementation faster than ever before.
  • X-ray vision: With such power, you can understand your customers and your business better through Analytics, and eventually see the meaning inside your Data.
  • Immortality: If you want your business to be around for the long haul, you won’t be able to do it without evolving technologies.
  • Flight: The freedom to fly, to build fast, and to better understand your data.
  • Shapeshifting: It’s no longer just a choice between on-premises and the Cloud; you can also go Hybrid.

Computing News

Andy announced six new EC2 instance types:

  • T2.xlarge: 16GB of memory, twice as much as T2.large.
  • T2.2xlarge: 32GB of memory, twice as much as T2.xlarge.
  • R4: The new memory-optimized instance type. R4 has twice as much memory size and speed, and twice as many vCPUs.
  • I3: The new I/O intensive instance type, with 9x IOPS and twice as much memory, storage, and vCPUs. Available in Q1 2017.
  • C5: The new compute-optimized instance type, with twice as many vCPUs, 3x throughput, and 2.4x memory. Available in Q1 2017.
  • F1: Still in preview, F1 is a new instance type with customizable FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) for running custom logics with hardware acceleration on EC2.

And brand new compute services:

  • Amazon Lightsail: It’s essentially Virtual Private Servers made easy. Amazon Lightsail allows you to launch a new EC2 instance in three simple steps (choose an image, choose a size, and give it a name). Of course, EC2 is used under the hood, as Lightsail will create a new VM, SSD storage, IAM, Security Groups, DNS, Static, IP, etc. for you. All of this, starting at $5 per month.
  • Elastic GPUs for EC2: You can now attach GPUs to your EC2 instances as if they were EBS Volumes.
  • Amazon Athena: Allows you to run ad-hoc queries against S3 with standard SQL. You won’t manage any infrastructure, and you pay only for the queries you run.

I think Athena is probably the most interesting service among the ones mentioned above; we will find out more tomorrow here at re:Invent.

Artificial Intelligence News

Amazon has been working on Machine Learning and AI for years, under the hood. Today, AWS has finally released a bit of that technology as a triplet of services powered by Deep Learning:

  • Amazon Rekognition: A managed Image Recognition service that offers powerful features such as object & scene detection, face analysis, comparison, and recognition. It supports both real-time and batch analysis.
  • Amazon Polly: Provides text-to-speech powered by Deep Learning. Given a textual input, it will return an MP3 audio stream. It already supports more than 70 languages.
  • Amazon Lex: Basically, it’s what’s inside Alexa. Amazon Lex represents the NLU and ASR components, respectively, Natural Language Understanding and Automatic Speech Recognition. It will allow you to trigger Lambda functions and manage multi-step conversations to build conversational and intuitive interfaces.

Of course, these new services are well integrated with one other, and you can build powerful user interfaces by combining face recognition, language understanding, and speech rendering.

Database News

After the amazing success of Amazon Aurora that was announced last year, AWS made it compatible with PostgreSQL as well.
Aurora is now fully compatible with both MySQL and PostgreSQL, and it provides much better performance with respect to the corresponding traditional version. Furthermore, it’s pretty easy to migrate your PostgreSQL databases from RDS to Aurora.

IoT News

Andy asked a very interesting question:

What constitutes on-premises infrastructure? And what will it be in the future?

Today, we consider on-premises to be only physical servers in data centers. However, we’re already looking forward to a future where sensors and IoT devices will be everywhere. And, they will be the new on-premises, as you will be limited to what’s on the device unless you rewrite or reprogram it.
Unfortunately, programming and updating embedded software requires very specialized skills and here is where a whole new service comes in AWS Greengrass.
AWS Greengrass will let you embed Lambda Compute in connected devices, plus secure messaging and data caching as well. You will be able to define Lambda Functions directly in the AWS Console with the same programming model and deploy them into your IoT devices.

Storage News

Last but not least, Andy highlighted the huge success of AWS Snowball.
Given the high demand and the even higher demand for exabyte-scale transfers, AWS announced two new devices:

  • Snowball Edge: The new generation of AWS Snowball. Snowball Edge provides double capacity (100TB), on-device encryption, clustering, custom S3 endpoints and a touchscreen. And, it allows you to compute and analyse your data. Indeed, it already comes with AWS Greengrass inside.
  • Snowmobile: A 45-foot long truck, able to transport up to 100PB. With Snowmobile, you will be able to transfer an exabyte worth of data in less than six months, which is not bad compared to the 26 years you’d need with a direct 10Gbps connection.

What’s coming next?

We can’t even imagine what Werner Vogels will announce tomorrow at the second AWS re:Invent 2016 keynote !
Stay tuned. In the meantime, we’d love to know which of the new services is your favourite? Which one will you try first? And, had you guessed any of the news above?
Also, don’t forget to come and say hi to our team in Vegas, we have some swag for everyone.

Written by

Alex is a Software Engineer with a great passion for music and web technologies. He's experienced in web development and software design, with a particular focus on frontend and UX.

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