Cloud

Amazon unveils massive expansion of developer and security toolkit at AWS re:Invent 2016

During the 2016 AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, AWS CTO Werner Vogels presented a keynote that included a host of new tools for developers and operations teams.

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Image: iStockphoto/Bet_Noire

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is known for its plethora of cloud services and, at the 2016 AWS re:Invent conference, it released a group of new tools for cloud developers and application builders. On Thursday, during his keynote address, AWS CTO Werner Vogels unveiled new tools for system management, application development, and security.

Vogels started by addressing pain points in system management. In noting that many customers wanted more integration with infrastructure automation tool Chef, Vogels announced a new product called AWS OpsWorks for Chef Automate. This gives users a fully-managed Chef server, eliminating their need to manage it on-premises.

Another tool announced on Thursday was Amazon EC2 Systems Manager. Not a single product, per se, the EC2 Systems Manager is more like a collection of AWS tools that helps with situations like package installation, patching, resource configuration, and task automation, Vogels said. One use case explained by Vogels would be helping AWS customers stay in compliance.

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

Developers got a few new tools to work with as well. AWS CodeBuild, Vogels said, is a new, fully-managed "build service for compiling source code and running unit tests." Users can pay by the minute, and it is generally available today.

Mobile developers working in AWS will now have access to targeted push notifications with another new service called Amazon Pinpoint. This could also help businesses glean better data from their mobile apps as well.

To get a better look at applications once they are running in production, Amazon released AWS X-Ray, which Vogels said will help users analyze and debug distributed applications. Users will be able to see where performance bottlenecks are, or see what services may be slowing them down.

For a higher-level look at an AWS deployment, Vogels said that the AWS Personal Health Dashboard can provide a personalized view of AWS service health. For example, if a service fails over, it will alert you. Additionally, users can write Amazon Lambda functions to respond to system events that they are alerted to.

Earlier this year, a DDoS attack from the Mirai botnet took down many major web companies. To protect AWS customers against DDoS attacks, Vogels announced AWS Shield. The Shield Standard protection will be turned on by default for all customers, he said, and will protect from volumetric and state exhaustion attacks. To add additional protection from large and sophisticated attacks, Vogels said, users can opt in to Shield Advanced.

For users looking for more control over their data and data quality, AWS Glue offers a fully-managed data catalog and ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) service. It integrates with S3, RDS, and Redshift, and it isn't a cloud-only product. This could make it easier for enterprises to build out their own data infrastructure, especially those with a hybrid strategy.

Another new data service announced at re:Invent was AWS Batch, which provides fully-managed batch processing at any scale, Vogels said.

Containers also got their time in the spotlight. Vogels announced that AWS would soon be releasing a Task Placement Engine to help users determine scheduling policies based on certain parameters, as well Event Stream, which will provide real-time notifications of the current state of your containers. Vogels also announced Blox, a collection of open source projects for building container management systems where Amazon will work with other developers to build solutions. The first two Blox releases are a cluster-state-service and a daemon-scheduler.

Additionally, a new service available in preview is Lambda@Edge which will allow developers to run AWS Lambda functions at CloudFront locations. To better coordinate Lambda functions, Vogels announced AWS Step Functions, giving developers the ability to coordinate components of distributed applications through a visual editor. Vogels called it "one of the coolest releases" he announced during his presentation.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. At re:Invent 2016, AWS CTO Werner Vogels announced new tools to help with systems management pain points, like the Amazon EC2 Systems Manager.
  2. New developer tools include targeted mobile push notifications through Amazon Pinpoint and a new build service called AWS CodeBuild.
  3. AWS Shield is a new service that will protect against certain DDoS attacks by default, and can be upgraded with additional protection through AWS Shield Advanced.

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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.

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