Cloud

How the 7 basic freedoms of the cloud are informing new AWS products

Amazon AWS leads the public cloud market, but how does it stay competitive? Amazon's Andy Jassy explained how the seven freedoms of the cloud inform the company's new products.

AWS senior vice president Andy Jassy at AWS re:Invent.
Image: Conner Forrest/TechRepublic

In the public cloud market, there's no denying that AWS is leading the charge. Much of this is due to the plethora of products available, and the pace at which the company provides new tools and services.

At the 2015 AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, AWS senior vice president Andy Jassy hosted a keynote address to speak to the current state of the company and the new products it has built.

Currently, Jassy said, AWS has over 1 million active customers, which he defined as non-Amazon entities that have used the platform in the last 30 days. The numbers point to a definite shift in the enterprise toward the cloud, but why?

Jassy gave six reasons for the uptick in movement toward the cloud:

  1. Move from capital expense to variable expense
  2. Increased agility
  3. Lower variable expense than they could achieve on their own
  4. Remove undifferentiated heavy lifting
  5. Stop guessing capacity
  6. Go global in minutes

On the whole, it's about giving companies "freedom and control over their own destiny," Jassy said. The cloud provides seven basic freedoms, he said, and they are informing the future of the AWS platform.

Here are the basic freedoms of the cloud and the new products AWS has built to leverage them

1. Freedom to build, unfettered

The fewer limitations that have to be placed on enterprise developers, the better. The sheer volume of AWS products and services, Jassy said, are giving organizations more freedom in the way they pursue their cloud strategy.

Rob Alexander, the CIO of Capital One, said that "digital is truly the new bank branch," and his company needs to be great at building digital experiences for customers. Alexander demoed a new flagship Capital One app deployed on AWS East and AWS West that he believes will help revolutionize the banking experience for mobile users.

2. Freedom to get the real value from your data

While AWS does have quite a few tools for data analysis, the process is usually handled by technical data analysts and isn't something that is readily available to the everyman business employee. To remedy this, Jassy announced the launch of Amazon QuickSight, a fast and easy to use, cloud-based BI tool that can be used by everyone.

quicksight.jpg
A first look at AWS QuickSight.
Image: Conner Forrest/Techrepublic

Matt Wood, general manager of product strategy for AWS, said that QuickSight will discover data sources automatically, whether data is stored in S3, Hadoop, Redshift, or another source. Then, it explores data types and determines existing relationships between the data and automatically selects the best visualization for that data, using a tool called Autograph.

QuickSight is powered by a platform called SPICE, which stands for super-fast parallels in-memory computation engine. Wood said users can embed live analyses and build live dashboards, even on mobile. Also, users will also be able to build a storyboard, which is an interactive document that can help tell the story of the data.

3. Freedom to get your data into (or out of) the cloud easily

Today, users can direct upload or direct connect to get their data into the cloud. Not long ago, Amazon launched Kiensis to provide better streaming for users, but Jassy said it wasn't enough.

At the keynote, he announced a new streaming product called AWS Kinesis Firehouse, a firehouse of streaming data continually delivered to AWS. Kinesis Firehouse offers automatic scaling and concatenation, as well as encryption on streaming data.

For users who need to transport physical media to get it into the cloud, Jassy also announced a secure, shippable storage appliance called Amazon Snowball. Snowball will initially be offered at 50TB and provides a secure enclosure, strong encryption, and logistics support.

snowball.jpg
Amazon Snowball.
Image: Conner Forrest/TechRepublic

4. Freedom from bad (database) relationships

Last year, Amazon announced Aurora, it's fully MySQL compatible database. Recently, Jassy said, Aurora surpassed Amazon Redshift as the fastest growing AWS service. As of Wednesday, MariaDB is now available as the sixth database option for AWS users.

However, this doesn't solve the problems that can occur when dealing with multiple database engines. To help users migrate between database engines, Amazon announced the new AWS Schema Conversion Tool. It looks for the comparable data and processes in a different database engine and performs necessary conversions to make the migration easier.

5. Freedom to migrate

Many enterprises follow a similar path to the cloud, but many still want to be able to run on-premise data centers alongside AWS seamlessly. Once users determine what databases they want to migrate, the new AWS Database Migration Service can help help migrate production databases with minimal downtime, Jassy said.

6. Freedom to secure your cake and eat it too

For a long time, the big decision to make for many organizations was whether they wanted to be secure or move fast in the cloud. However, they don't have to make the decision anymore, Jassy said—they can move fast in the cloud and be secure.

In addition to its existing security and compliance services, a new capability called AWS Config Rules allows users to set up compliance rules for resources configurations and trigger actions if those rules aren't being met. For example, if you want all instances to be launched in a VPC, and it's not done, it will terminate those instances. Or, if all instances must be tagged with environment type, the new rules can make sure they are.

Also, Jassy showed off a new preview of Amazon Inspector, an automated security assessment service that finds security or compliance issues on applications deployed on AWS and reports them to users.

7. Freedom to say "yes"

AWS, Jassy said, empowers IT leaders to say yes to new initiatives because of the agility and power of the platform. For example, Joe Inzerillo, executive vice president of Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) took the stage to explain how AWS has enabled his company to seek new partnerships with organizations like the NHL to better deliver sports content and statistics.

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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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