AWS announcements come thick and fast at re:Invent

Day 1: Amazon Web Services announces a range of new products and solutions at the re:Invent conference in Las Vegas

Amazon offered up a veritable smorgasbord of new products and services during the first keynote at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas today.

Senior vice president Andy Jassy took to the stage to announce the new services and solutions for the AWS platform.

First up was QuickSight, a new business intelligence (BI) and data visualisation tool designed to simplify and streamline analytics in the Amazon's cloud.

The new tool is powered by what AWS calls the 'Super-fast, Parallel, In-memory Calculation Engine' or SPICE.

Jassy took a number of well-executed jabs at the competition during the keynote. He said that QuickSight will cost one-tenth of traditional BI tools. While he didn't mention any specific names, he said one of them rhymed with 'Hognos', referencing IBM's Cognos solution.

"In a world increasingly dominated by connected devices and mobile users and where corporate data is moving to the cloud, our customers continue to collect and store massive amounts of their data across a wide range of AWS's data services," said Raju Gulabani, Vice President of Database Services at Amazon Web Services. |These customers have been asking AWS for an analytics solution that can enable every one of their users to gain insights and make rapid decisions using this data. And, after several years of development, we're excited to bring Amazon QuickSight to our customers."

Next up was a physical storage device. Don't worry, AWS is branching out from IaaS; rather the Snowball is a 'petabyte-scale data transport appliance', designed to help businesses efficiently migrate their data to AWS. The Snowball, which resembles a large desktop workstation, is rented from Amazon. The business simply hooks it up, transfers their data and then ships it back to Amazon HQ. It has a couple of cute features like an eInk screen, which provides instructions and then magically transforms into a barcode, ready to be collected.

Jassy said that if a company committed 100 megabits per second of their total bandwidth to transferring 100 TB of data, it would take about 100 days to upload to AWS. AWS Snowball can move that same 100 TB of data to AWS in less than a week.

Alongside Snowball, Amazon launched AWS Kinesis Firehose; a fully managed service for loading streaming data from sensors and other locations directly into AWS.

"It has never been easier or more cost-effective for companies to collect, store, analyse, and share data than it is today with the AWS Cloud," said Bill Vass, Vice President, AWS Storage Services. "As customers have realised that their data contains key insights that can lead to competitive advantage, they're looking to get as much data into AWS as quickly as possible. AWS Snowball and Amazon Kinesis Firehose give customers two more important tools to get their data into AWS."

Finally, AWS announced two new database tools and services that make it easier for enterprises to bring their databases to AWS, moving away from the cost and complexity of traditional commercial databases. As Jassy made the announcement, he took another swipe at the old school, with a slide that showed a poorly blurred picture of Larry Ellison. "Our marketing team needs to work on their redaction skills," he joked.

AWS Database Migration Service allows customers to migrate their production Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL databases to AWS, while the AWS Schema Conversion Tool allows customers to painlessly switch between database engines. The cloud giant also announced that Amazon RDS will support its sixth database engine, open-source MariaDB.

"With more than a hundred thousand active customers, and six database engines from which to choose, Amazon RDS has become the new normal for running relational databases in the cloud," said Hal Berenson, vice president, Relational Database Services, AWS. "The launch of Amazon Aurora has enabled customers to get the performance of commercial-grade databases at the price of open source engines. And, this has only amplified our customers' pleas to help them migrate their on-premises databases to Amazon Aurora and other Amazon RDS engines. 

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