AWS, reInvent

When the leading cloud vendor hosts its annual event, we’re all ears to know what they’ve had cooking over the past year. The latest instalment of re:Invent had no shortage of product updates and, in this post, I’ve compressed all the announcements into an easy-to-read cheat sheet to help you get an overview of AWS’s new capabilities. I’ve also included links to resources for further reading. I hope you’ll find this a useful resource to catch up on all that went down at AWS re:Invent!

New instances

Before we cover the completely new services, let’s look at the laundry list of new instances that AWS releases each year. This year saw a wide range of more powerful and GPU-centric instances being launched.

New service

What’s new

Learn more

New instances

With more powerful Intel processors come more powerful instances. This year, the new instances are F1, R4, T2, C5, I3, and Elastic GPUs.

Announcement

Development

Two new services from AWS promise to make development easier. Often, managing infrastructure takes time away from building your app. With these new services, AWS hopes to give developers tools to go from code to launch much quicker.

New service

What’s new

Learn more

Lightsail

A Digital Ocean competitor, Lightsail is a much simpler way to jumpstart your AWS experience. It removes complex options, and gets you up and running with a virtual private server for as low as $5 per month.

Announcement

Product page

CodeBuild

A cloud build server for your development team so you don’t have to maintain build server farms on your own. This would be of interest to you if you use CI servers like Jenkins.

Announcement

Product page

Infrastructure & monitoring

From infrastructure automation using the commercial version of Chef to a slew of monitoring services, AWS strengthened its toolset for Ops teams.

New service

What’s new

Learn more

OpsWorks for Chef Automate

AWS OpsWorks is a service for infrastructure automation that was previously powered by open-source Chef. Now, OpsWorks has added a fully managed service using the commercial version—Chef Automate.

Announcement

Product page

X-Ray

Monitor events in microservices. Visualise requests across your application, and deep dive to perform root cause analysis.

Announcement

Product page

Personal Health Dashboard

A dashboard to monitor issues with the AWS services you use. You can be aware of scheduled system maintenance, or hardware failures that affect your AWS resources.

Announcement

Product page

Shield

A DDoS protection service that is activated for all AWS users by default. It also features a paid advanced version for more robust DDoS protection.

Announcement

Data management

Snowmobile is an exciting new service that shows just how far ahead AWS is from the competition. That, and other announcements, will go a long way to ensure large enterprises continue with AWS despite the fierce competition among cloud vendors.

New service

What’s new

Learn more

Snowmobile

An real-world container on a data truck that hauls 100PB of data to AWS data centers.

Announcement

Product page

Snowball Edge

Snowball Edge is a device that physically migrates bulk data to the AWS cloud. It includes more connectivity protocols than the previous version, and supports AWS Lambda for data processing.

Announcement

Product page

Batch

A cloud-based batch processing cluster that processes jobs on dynamically scaled EC2 instances.

Announcement

Product page

Athena

A cloud-based serverless SQL query service to analyse data stored in S3. You can use standard SQL syntax to query data. It works with CSV, JSON, log files, delimited files, and more.

Announcement

Product page

Glue (Yet to launch)

A cloud-based ETL service that transfers data between any data store—these could be Amazon data stores, or other JDBC-compliant databases. It assists with data transformation, job scheduling, and execution history.

Product page

PostgreSQL support for Aurora

Aurora is AWS’s proprietary relational database that previously supported only MySQL. Now, it supports PostgreSQL as well. It claims to deliver a 2x performance boost over standard PostgreSQL.

Announcement

AWS Lambda

Lambda is one of the hottest AWS products today, and it had the most announcements at this year’s re:Invent. Lambda is clearly central to AWS’s strategy for the next few years.

New service

What’s new

Learn more

Lambda functions can now be written in C#

So far, Lambda has supported Node.js, Python, and Java. Now it adds C# to the list. This opens up Lambda to a big group of .NET developers in the enterprise.

Announcement

Lambda@Edge

Run Lambda functions at AWS Edge locations. This speeds up application performance at global locations.

Announcement

Step Functions

Manage distributed apps and microservices using a visual workflow. You can visualise processes as steps, and make changes to them visually through a console. Lambda handles the infrastructure and execution of these changes.

Announcement

Product page

Greengrass

AWS IoT platform that uses Lambda and other AWS services locally on connected IoT devices. It works even when the devices are offline.

Announcement

Product page

Artificial intelligence

If you need to convert text to speech, speech to text, or label images, and you don’t have the luxury of a large data science team, there was plenty at this year’s re:Invent. AWS wants to democratise AI, and these updates do just that.

New service

What’s new

Learn more

Polly

A cloud-based text-to-speech conversion that features 47 voices and 24 languages. Pricing is per text character converted, and the converted audio can be reused without restriction.

Announcement

Product page

Rekognition

An image recognition service that’s built for scale. When fed with an image file, it returns labels that describe the image, or boxes that identify the number of human faces in the image. It’s a great way for resource-constrained startups to leverage AI for their apps.

Announcement

Product page

Lex

Based on Alexa, Lex is a speech recognition engine that understands the intent of voice commands, and translates it to actionable text so it can be used by applications.

Announcement Product page

Misc. announcements

From the expected IPv6 support, to the interesting Pinpoint, and the confusing Blox, these announcements didn’t fit neatly into the other categories, so I gave them one of their own.

New service

What’s new

Learn more

Blox

An open source container orchestration tool that enables users to build custom schedulers and other tooling on top of ECS.

Announcement

Open source project page

Pinpoint

Send targeted push notifications to users of your mobile app using Amazon’s Mobile SDK. You can send personalised messages to users based on custom attributes such as game level, favorite team, and news preferences. Pricing depends on the number of users targeted.

Announcement

Product page

IPv6 network addresses

Amazon S3 gets IPv6 support, which features IP addresses that are 128 bits long.

Announcement

I hope you found this cheat sheet useful. If you want to learn more about what we think these new services mean for AWS in the enterprise, check out our AWS re:Invent coverage:The AWS snowball gets bigger: why enterprises are better off after re:Invent.

  • Dominic Ayres

    Partner Manager

    Dominic is Partner Manager at Contino, managing our relationship with key strategic partners AWS, Docker and Hashicorp. Previously at Gartner, Dominic brings experience of working with IT leaders from both public and private sectors; from mid-market to large enterprises.

      More Articles by Dominic