Artificial intelligence and new instances dominate headlines at AWS re:Invent

aws-reinventMore than 32,000 IT pros gathered in Las Vegas this week for Amazon’s AWS re:Invent 2016 and a look at what’s new with the cloud platform. Each day is a firehose of new announcements, ranging from minor updates to major upheavals.

Here are some of the most interesting announcements from the conference so far:

New instances. The first wave of announcements centered on AWS’ bread-and-butter IaaS offerings, with CEO Andy Jassy unveiling new instance families and capabilities during his keynote earlier today. These range from fairly straightforward new generations of the Compute, IO, and memory optimized instances, to some more dramatic announcements, including:

  • GPU-as-a-service – Businesses can now attach “elastic” GPUs to any AWS Cloud instance.
  • Amazon Lightsail – A lower complexity virtual private server offering that lets you very quickly and easily set up simple servers, without the need for deep knowledge of the plumbing of AWS.
  • New F1 – FPGA instances — These deliver the ability to do hardware acceleration through field programmable gate arrays. This will open the door to some interesting new classes of problems moving to AWS where performance is absolutely critical.

Amazon Artificial Intelligence. Some of the biggest announcements today were related to the introduction of three new AI services:

  • Amazon Rekognition — Image recognition-as-a-service that enables you to detect who’s in a picture, what’s going on, and even what emotions are being expressed.
  • Amazon Polly — A text-to-speech engine with a healthy sprinkling of AI. It takes text in and produces naturally phrased speech out.
  • Amazon Lex — The brains behind Amazon’s Alexa, now offered as a service for businesses to build interactive experiences for customers. Even more intriguing, Amazon announced canned connectors between this and a number of enterprise applications, including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and others.

Follow me on Twitter and check back here later this week for more news, products, and reactions coming out of AWS re:Invent.

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