AWS Releases Slew of Services Designed to be Cheaper, Easier than “Old Guard” Tools

While enterprises move to cloud, AWS recognizes developers drive much of the momentum

Nicole Henderson, Contributor

October 8, 2015

4 Min Read
AWS Releases Slew of Services Designed to be Cheaper, Easier than “Old Guard” Tools
Matt Wood, general manager, product strategy, AWS, speaking at AWS re:Invent 2015 (Photo: Amazon)



This article originally appeared at The WHIR

LAS VEGAS — With all the excitement around enterprises moving to the cloud, AWS is recognizing that a lot of that momentum is being driven by developers.

In the keynote on Wednesday morning at AWS re:Invent, Andy Jassy, VP of AWS, spoke about how the cloud has given developers and “builders” more power, and made several announcements of new services directed at these particular users.

“When you talk to developers and line-of-business managers, cloud represents freedom and controlling your own destiny,” he said. “Once builders get a taste of this there’s no way they’ll go back to doing things the old way.”

AWS itself has over 1 million active customers (which it classifies as a non-Amazon entity that has used the platform within 30 days). Its cloud services are growing exponentially – from Q2 2014 to Q2 2015, Amazon EC2 usage increased 95 percent YoY, Amazon S3 data transfer increased 120 YoY and database services usage increased 127 percent YoY, respectively.

Amazon Kinesis Firehouse – Making Uploading Streaming Data Easier

On Wednesday, AWS made a number of announcements directed at developers, including Amazon Kinesis Firehouse, a fully managed service, building on Amazon Kinesis Stream, for loading streaming data to Amazon S3 and Amazon Redshift, with other AWS data stores coming soon.

Amazon Kinesis Firehouse can capture data from any streaming data source and load it directly into AWS, in real-time.

Jassy said that the service elastically scales for the customer so they don’t have to worry about adjusting streams, and the data can be encrypted.

Amazon Snowball – A Shippable Data Transfer Solution

Among the other announcements is AWS Snowball, a physical data transfer service. At $200 a pop, Snowball is a faster, and more cost-effective, way to upload 50TB or more,Bill Vass, head of AWS storage service said.

Snowball is about 1/5th the cost of running data over the network, and encrypts data end to end, featuring a tamper-proof, secure enclosure, and can convert legacy file systems to object storage.

Its e-ink label turns into the UI once it reaches its destination, a journey that is fully trackable. And Snowballs can be reused to transfer more data.

Amazon QuickSight – Cloud-Based Business-Intelligence for all Employees

Amazon QuickSight is available now in preview, and like other AWS services announced at re:Invent, was designed to be a cost-effective alternative to “old-guard” tools. Dr.Matt Wood, GM of product strategy for AWS, said that the cloud-powered business intelligence service can produce its first virtualization in 60 seconds, and partners can use the service to increase query times of their own BI tools.

Designed for employees of all technical skill-level, Amazon QuickSight uses an in-memory calculation engine that it calls SPICE to perform advanced calculations and quickly render visualizations.

It allows users to build live dashboards, and given permission, can look inside data sources already in an AWS account, inspect data types inside the data, and look for relationships between data types automatically. It also suggests the best visualizations for data.

Within the platform, data-driven stories can be shared with colleagues or embedded in websites, and more.

AWS Database Migration Service, Amazon RDS for MariaDB

“It’s rare that I meet with an enterprise customer that isn’t looking to flee their database provider,” Jassy said. Databases have traditionally been very expensive and proprietary, with high amounts of lock-in, he added.

AWS launched Amazon Aurora last year, which promised the same performance of commercial databases with open source pricing. Aurora is now the fastest growing AWS service, according to Jassy.

On Wednesday, AWS launched support for MariaDB on Amazon RDS as a fully managed service, allowing customers to deploy a MariaDB database with a few clicks in the AWS Management Console.

Also on the database side, AWS announced its Database Migration Service available in preview, which allows users to easily migrate production databases to AWS with minimal downtime as it allows you to continue to replicate data from source to the new target.

A feature of the migration service, AWS Schema Conversion Tool, ports database schemas and stored procedures from one database platform to another, allowing customers to move applications from Oracle and SQL Server to Amazon Aurora,MySQL, MariaDB, and soon PostgreSQL.

This first ran at

About the Author(s)

Nicole Henderson

Contributor, IT Pro Today

Nicole Henderson covers daily cloud news and features online for ITPro Today. Prior to ITPro Today, she was editor at Talkin' Cloud (now Channel Futures) and the WHIR. She has a bachelor of journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto.

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