Cloud

Amazon goes all-in on AI and big data at AWS re:Invent 2016

At the 2016 AWS re:Invent conference, CEO Andy Jassy unveiled new updates to compute, analytics, and artificial intelligence tools.

reinvent1.jpg
Image: Conner Forrest/TechRepublic

On Wednesday, at the first keynote of the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy took the stage to explain a host of new updates to the cloud provider's portfolio of services. And, it seems Amazon is making a big bet on next -generation technology.

Some of the biggest announcements were the first three services of the Amazon AI portfolio. For starters, Amazon Rekognition provides image recognition, categorization, and facial analysis in batch analysis or real time. The facial analysis can detect sentiment, and tell whether or not the subject is wearing glasses, for example.

Amazon Polly is a text-to-speech (TTS) service that is powered by deep learning. It takes a text input and returns an MP3 stream that is altered to sound more like actual conversation. For example, if the text contains "WA" the output might say Washington instead. Jassy also announced that a new service called Amazon Lex, which powers Alexa, is coming as well. Lex provides natural language understanding and automatic speech recognition.

SEE: Cloud computing policy template (Tech Pro Research)

The new AI tools announced by Jassy could make it much easier for enterprise customers to tap into, and leverage, technologies such as machine learning to build their next generation of applications.

In his address, Jassy also noted that Amazon would be launching a new analytics product called Amazon Athena. As a companion to the existing EMR and Redshift, Athena is an interactive query service that allows users to analyze data in S3 using SQL. This significantly lowers the bar for everyday IT to utilize big data analytics to glean insights.

To go along with these new services, Jassy also announced a slew of new compute instances and features as well. Here are the following compute types that were announced:

  • T2.xlarge - 16 GiB, 2 vCPU
  • T2.2xlarge - 32 GiB,. 2 vCPU
  • R4 - 48 GiB, DDR4, L3 cache, 64 vCPUs
  • I3 - 3.3 million IOPS, 488 GiB, 15.2 TB NVMe SSD, 64 vCPUS
  • C5 - 72 vCPUs, Intel Skylake, 12 Gbps to EBS, 144 GiB

The C5 instance shows just how much hardcore GPU processing is being done on AWS. However, to give a broader group of users access to GPU power, Jassy announced a new service called Elastic GPUs for EC2, which allows users to attach a GPU to any of the existing compute instances in AWS.

Continuing in the vein of simplifying some of the features available in AWS, Amazon Lightsail was revealed as a way to make virtual private servers (VPS) easier to launch. Users choose from five bundles, name their server, and create it. Additionally, packages start at only $5 a month.

AWS users will also get access to a preview of F1 instances, Amazon's new FPGA instance family. This will allow users to run custom logic on EC2.

Additionally, to touch on IoT deployments, Jassy also announced AWS Greengrass. This service embeds AWS Lambda compute and other AWS services in connected devices, and allows users to manage them from the AWS console.

Last year, AWS launched Snowball, a secure appliance that makes it easier to move data to the cloud. At the 2016 re:invent, Jassy unveiled the general availability of Snowball Edge, which has on-board compute, and more storage than the previous version.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Amazon announced three new AI products for image recognition, text-to-speech, and the natural language understanding that powers Amazon Alexa.
  2. Amazon also announced Amazon Athena, an analytics products that allows users to query S3 with simple SQL.
  3. The majority of the compute instance lineup in AWS got an update, with new products as well.

Also see

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox