5 new products that supercharge Amazon Web Services

AWS SuperchargeAmazon held its annual Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last week, and as in previous years, it rolled out a number of new capabilities, tweaked existing services, and introduced new tools for AWS and its partner ecosystem that could shake the foundations of other businesses.

The stories coming out of re:Invent fit several broad themes. Amazon emphasized its readiness to support large enterprises, improve integration among its many offerings, deploy secure platforms and environments, deliver significant performance, and still stick to its successful “pay for what you use” model to help manage and reduce costs.

Here are the five most promising new Amazon offerings, and how each can reshape or enhance your business performance with AWS.

1. Aurora: At the top of the list is Aurora, a new relational database. While Amazon has offered database solutions for some time, both in the NoSQL space with Dynamo DB and in the relational space with its Relational Database Service (RDS) platform, Aurora looks to be a disruptive offering in that space. Aurora is designed to be a drop-in replacement for the popular MySQL 5.6 database, but with significantly better performance, impressive resiliency and recovery characteristics, Amazon’s usual “pay for what you need” pricing, and integration with the rest of the AWS ecosystem.

While Aurora may not offer all of the capabilities and extensions in enterprise databases such as SQL Server or Oracle, it’s a capable solution for organizations that want to stay in the relational world, but need performance, scalability, and resiliency.

2. The Amazon Service Catalog: Service catalogs, in a variety of sizes, shapes, and flavors, are an important trend in modern enterprise IT, making Amazon’s release of the first AWS service catalog a welcome announcement. IT will now have a way to support developers and line of business (LOB) application owners, enabling provision and management of complex stacks within the AWS ecosystem. The Service Catalog is a simple solution that doesn’t open the flood gates to everything in AWS.

Though Service Catalog is in its infancy, Amazon showed it’s already thinking about the product’s future. I’m looking forward to using it to streamline our own developers’ move into the AWS ecosystem. If I were another service catalog vendor, I’d be nervous.

3. Amazon EC2 Container Service: Docker’s container-based deployment model is a hit among developers, so it’s no surprise that Amazon’s announcement of full support for Docker was popular with re:Invent attendees. This offering provides managed containers to help with deployment, resource management, and scheduling, letting you easily manage a cluster of EC2 instances to support complex loads at cloud scale. This lets you define the required resources for a set of tasks and the relationship between the containers you’ll be running them in, and let the scheduler find the optimum placement of those containers across the virtual machine instances you’ve provided.

4. Lamba: Lamba is one of the most interesting new offerings from Amazon. An event-driven execution service, Lamba runs code in response to user events such as a website click, a file upload, or an event fired from external devices (think internet of things). The processing runs outside of the normal environment of EC2 IaaS instances, and billing is metered in increments of 100 milliseconds.

I’m intrigued by this model, which provides a different approach to processing these sorts of events. The ability to handle the large number of incoming events with an efficient, cost-effective process, without needing to provision load balancers or dynamic scaling, is impressive. Like other offerings, Lamba uses the “pay for what you need” model, with organizations paying for the time needed to process the events.

5. New tools in Amazon’s developer ecosystem: Finally, Amazon announced three new developer tools — Amazon CodeCommit, Amazon Code PipeLine, and Amazon Code Deploy — which, taken together, will simplify the process of building, managing, and delivering new projects to the AWS platform. It also appears that Amazon has integrated these three new tools into some of the more popular tools and platforms developers are already using in this space.

Everything Amazon rolled out came with an API; virtually every program is capable of talking to others, and the new offerings can be integrated with other best-of-breed tools in complementary spaces. From this kind of integration to renewed support for enterprises to its security, performance, and cost management, Amazon’s announcements present intriguing new possibilities for a variety of organizations.

For more about these new offerings or how they might fit your organization, contact your SHI Account Team to get started.

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