AWS Announcements at a Glance: The Highlights from AWS in January 2021

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It’s the start of a new year! AWS is continuing to release new enhancements and additions to its well-developed suite of services. This month, we will look into compliance enhancements for Amazon Kendra, Amazon CloudWatch support for macOS, the support of EFS from the AWS Transfer Family, Federated EKS clusters, and the implementation of new streaming conversation APIs for Amazon Lex.

This blog is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all January announcements from AWS, but rather a curation of a few announcements we feel could benefit the enterprise thought leaders working to drive cloud adoption and efficiency within their organizations.

Amazon Kendra achieves ISO and PCI compliance 

Amazon Kendra is an intelligent search service that is powered by machine learning. This service enhances an enterprise’s ability for search within their applications and websites, which in turn allows customers to more easily find relevant information and content they are looking for.  For instance, a search for “When will the help desk open” will more accurately give a direct and relevant answer in comparison to keyword searches across siloed and desperate data sources. 

AWS has added ISO and PCI DSS compliance standards into Amazon Kendra. 

The following ISO certifications are now included: 

  • ISO 9001 
  • ISO 27001 
  • ISO 27017 
  • ISO 27018 

The inclusion of PCI DSS compliance also allows businesses to search critical workloads relating to card payment information. 

For more information on this announcement, click here. 

Amazon CloudWatch Agent now supports macOS on Amazon EC2 Mac instances 

AWS recently announced the ability to create macOS instances on EC2.  It is now possible to gather monitoring and operational data from these EC2 instances via Amazon CloudWatch.  These monitoring capabilities include both AWS and on-premise hosts. 

By collecting data via Amazon CloudWatch on macOS EC2 instances organizations are able to gain the same insights and take the same actions as they would on other EC2 instances: 

  • Anomalous behavior detection 
  • Alarm creation 
  • Metric visualization on custom dashboards 
  • Automate actions 
  • Troubleshooting
  • Discovery Insights

For more details on the documentation for installing and configuring Amazon CloudWatch for macOS, click here. 

AWS Transfer Family now Supports Elastic File System 

The AWS Transfer Family has now extended its offering of transfer services to support for Elastic File System (EFS). This new integration will now allow customers to access their files stored in EFS via one of the AWS Transfer Family protocols: 

  • SFTP
  • FTP over TLS 
  • FTP   

Being able to utilize a fully managed service for file transfer brings the benefit of reducing reduces operational burden and preserves your existing workflows that use supported protocols. The additional benefit of including the ability to integrate directly with EFS within your VPC is that it removes the need to manage additional infrastructure and scale globally. 

For more information on the AWS Transfer Family, click here. 

Federated Amazon EKS Clusters 

AWS has introduced Federated EKS clusters on AWS.  Amazon EKS has gained tremendous traction and popularity for automating application deployment, scaling, and management.   However, EKS has been difficult to configure to deploy applications globally.  You can now create highly available, scalable, and low latency applications via Amazon EKS across multiple regions. 

The new solution takes advantage of KubeFed (Kubernetes Cluster Federation).  KubeFed, an open-sourced project, helps to automate the deployment and federation of multiple EKS clusters across AWS regions. 

  • Using Federated Amazon EKS Clusters with KubeFed allows organizations to better manage their failover and HA plans by allowing Kubernetes artifacts to be synchronized between EKS clusters, automating failover events, manage and deploy clusters closer to end users, and capture localized compliance requirements for private data management. 

For more information on federating AWS EKS clusters, click here. 

Launching Amazon Lex streaming conversation APIs for improved virtual agent conversational experiences 

Pauses and interruptions in conversations, while something we humans are able to accommodate with little effort are typically very difficult behaviors for chatbots to handle.  With the launch of Amazon Lex streaming conversation APIs, the functionality to handle those conversational challenges now exists. 

With this streaming API, all user inputs across multiple turns are processed as one API call.   You can now add a wait and continue response if for example, the user asks a bot to hold while looking for information the bot may be requesting.  Interruptions can now also be set up as attributes to a prompt. 

To learn more about the announcement, check out the link here.

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