Tech Team Highlights from AWS re:Invent 2016

We had a great time at re:Invent 2016 sending nearly half of our AWS cloud services team to take part in the action. From new AWS releases to our favorite educational sessions, here are our tech team’s AWS re:Invent 2016 highlights.

Senior Cloud Engineer: I was excited about the announcement of Athena – postgreSQL support for Amazon Aurora. I have implemented similar solutions as Athena by storing the S3 metadata in Dynamo DB and querying them. AWS’ new Athena solution will be a better and faster solution to replace that. I have already shared the news about Athena with many of my customers and they are excited about the product and might be implementing it in their development environment soon. However, my most favorite part of re:Invent was the Certification Recognition and spending time at the Certification Lounge where I got to meet with other “All-Five” Certified Engineers and share our journeys on achieving them.

Lead Cloud Engineer: I thoroughly enjoyed being at re:Invent, every minute of it. To start with, I walked about 19.9 Miles from Monday to Thursday, running from one session to another, those four days were hectic but it was a blast! It was fun to be amongst the crowd of like-minded individuals. I visited a lot of booths and got exposed to a lot of new ideas, some of the interesting ideas I liked were (in no particular order): BlazeMeter – a load testing tool, Spotinst – an analytics-based Spot Instance built production environment, – IT compliance, Quali – Cloud Sandboxes, and Ixia – providing network visibility across public, private, and hybrid clouds.

Releases that really excited us:

Name Release date Release type Description Details
Amazon EC2
Elastic GPUs
Nov 30, 2016 Preview AWS announces their first attachable Elastic GPUs — the most cost effective and flexible way to add graphics acceleration to Amazon EC2 Instances. Blog | URL
Amazon Lightsail Nov 30, 2016 GA Amazon Lightsail is the easiest way to launch and manage a virtual private server with AWS. Get everything you need to jumpstart your project – compute, storage, and networking – starting at $5/month. Blog | URL
Lambda@Edge Dec 1, 2016 Preview Lambda@Edge lets you run code at CloudFront edge locations without provisioning or managing servers. This allows developers to deliver a low latency user experience for customized web applications. Blog | URL
C# Support on
Dec 1, 2016 GA You can now use C# with AWS Lambda. Blog | URL
AWS Batch Dec 1, 2016 Preview AWS Batch enables developers, scientists, and engineers to easily and efficiently run hundreds
of thousands of batch computing jobs on AWS.
Blog | URL
IPv6 Support for EC2 Instances in Virtual Private Clouds Dec 1, 2016 GA EC2 instances in Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) now offer native support for the IPv6 protocol. IPv6 can be enabled for existing and new VPCs through the AWS management console, API/SDK and CLI. Blog | URL
Management Tools    
AWS Personal
Health Dashboard
Dec 1, 2016 GA AWS Personal Health Dashboard gives you a personalized view of AWS service health. You’ll get alerts when services you are using are impacted, and guidance to help keep your AWS resources healthy. Blog | URL
Amazon EC2
Systems Manager
Dec 1, 2016 GA Amazon EC2 Systems Manager, helps you automate important management tasks such as collecting system inventory, applying OS patches, automating image creation, and configuring OS and applications at scale. In addition, you can record and govern your instance’s software configuration with AWS Config. URL
Amazon Aurora with PostgreSQL Compatibility Nov 30, 2016 Preview Amazon Aurora is now PostgreSQL compatible. You can get up to twice the performance
of the typical PostgreSQL database and the features you love in Amazon Aurora.
Blog | URL
Amazon Athena Nov 30, 2016 GA Amazon Athena is an interactive query service that makes it easy to analyze data in Amazon S3 using SQL. Athena is serverless, so there is no infrastructure to manage. You pay only for the queries you run. Blog | URL
Application Services    
AWS Step
Dec 1, 2016 GA AWS Step Functions makes it easy to coordinate the components of distributed applications and microservices using visual workflows. Blog | URL
AWS Snowball
Nov 30, 2016 GA AWS Snowball Edge is a petabyte-scale data transfer service with on-board storage and
Blog | URL
AWS Snowmobile Nov 30, 2016 GA AWS Snowmobile is an exabyte-scale data transfer service used to move extremely large
amounts of data.
Blog | URL
File Gateway
for S3
Nov 29, 2016 GA Storage Gateway that provides customers an NFS mount point mapped to an S3 bucket.
Files on the mount point are backed by objects in customers S3 bucket. Gateway manages
data transfer to AWS, and provides local caching for low latency access to subset of data on premises.
Security, Identity & Compliance    
AWS Shield Dec 1, 2016 GA AWS Shield is a managed DDoS protection service that safeguards your web applications
using Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Amazon CloudFront, and Amazon Route 53.
Blog | URL
Artificial Intelligence    
Amazon Polly Nov 30, 2016 GA Amazon Polly is a service that turns text into lifelike speech. It supports 24 languages and
47 lifelike voices. Create apps that talk, enabling you to build entirely new categories of
speech-enabled products.
Blog | URL
Nov 30, 2016 GA Amazon Rekognition is a service that makes it easy to add image analysis to your applications. With Rekognition, you can detect objects, scenes, and faces in images. You can also search and compare faces. Blog | URL
Amazon Lex Nov 30, 2016 Preview Amazon Lex is a service for building conversational interfaces using voice and text. With Lex, the same deep learning engine that powers Alexa is now available to any developer, enabling you to bring sophisticated, natural language chatbots to new and existing applications. Blog | URL
Developer Tools    
CodeBuild Dec 1, 2016 GA AWS CodeBuild builds and tests code in the cloud. CodeBuild scales continuously, so your builds are not left waiting in a queue. You are charged by the minute for the compute resources you use. You can also use CodeBuild with other AWS services. For example, you can plug CodeBuild into AWS CodePipeline, which automates building and testing code in CodeBuild each time you commit a change to your source repository. CodeBuild is also integrated with AWS Elastic Beanstalk, enabling you to easily build and test code in CodeBuild for your Elastic Beanstalk applications. Blog | URL
AWS X-Ray Dec 1, 2016 Preview X-Ray captures trace data from code running on EC2 instances (including ECS containers) Blog | URL

We were excited to send our Solution Architects and Cloud Engineers to Amazon Web Services’ annual re:Invent conference in Vegas this year. Not only was this trip a way for them to bond with their team members and celebrate their achievements, it was an opportunity for them to learn. We look forward to innovative solutions from our technical team with the new services AWS announced this year. Contact us to learn more about how the new features and services AWS announced at re:Invent 2016 can help your organization.

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