AWS re:Invent 2014 – Day 2

The second day of the AWS re:Invent conference has drawn to a close, and I sit here with ringing ears from the re:Play party where Skrillex was headlining. AWS certainly know how to throw a party – this one including a 20ft Tetris game, an entire arcade of retro games, a quadcopter obstacle course, and luminous dodgeball.

Back to the keynote; and a large portion of today’s was spent letting large AWS customers talk about their positive experiences of using the “AWS platform”. And this is an important phrase – one that has been used significantly more this year than in previous years, and reinforces the message that Amazon are trying to push – that AWS is much more than just IaaS. As Amazon continue to release products and services that creep up the stack, this message will become increasingly important. The other key message coming across this year is containers – they have appeared from nowhere in the past 18 months and are becoming increasingly important. Expect to see a lot more of them in the coming years.

Today’s keynote was given by Dr Werner Vogels, CTO and VP of Amazon.com – and the most likely culprit for the choice of headlining act for the re:Play party. But I digress. The customers Werner called up on stage to sing AWS’s praises included Splunk, Omnifone, The Weather Company and Pristine. Pristine talked at length about how important the container technology Docker has been for them, and this provided the perfect segway into Amazon’s first announcement of the day – see below for full details.

Once the announcements started they came thick and fast, and for a second day keynote many of them were not insignificant. They continue the message from yesterday that Amazon is creeping into the upper echelons of the ‘as a Service’ stacks, and are doing so by tackling problems that many of their customers are trying to solve time and again. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like an AWS blue-green deployment service in the near future.

Today’s announcements included:

  • EC2 Container Service – probably the most significant announcement of the day, given the popularity of Docker at the moment. ECS is a highly scalable high performance container management system that allows you to run containers on managed clusters of EC2 instances. Currently available in Preview form.
  • AWS Lambda – an event driven computing service for dynamic applications, which allows customers to write and run code without having to mange any infrastructure to run it on. AWS Lambda is also available in Preview form.
  • New C4 Instance Type – a new compute-optimised instance type with a customised and exclusive Intel Haswell processor. Currently no availability or pricing information.
  • New EBS Volumes – customers will soon be able to provision EBS volumes up to 16TB in size (up from the current 1TB) with significantly increased IOPS of up to 20,000 IOPS (up from 4,000 IOPS). In addition, new volumes will have a higher maximum throughput of up to 320Mbps. Currently no availability information.
  • Event Notifications for Amazon S3 – a new notification feature for Amazon S3 that allows customers to send notifications when a new object is added to a bucket or an existing object is overwritten. Notifications can also be delivered to the AWS Lambda service for processing by a Lambda function. These notifications are available today.

As before, today’s keynote is available for you to watch here if you have a couple of hours to spare.

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