AWS Re:Invent 2016 Day 2: Providing Business with Superpowers

Amazon LEX
AWS CEO Andy Jassy discusses Amazon LEX at re:Invent 2016

AWS CEO Andy Jassy’s AWS re:Invent keynote was all about the “superpowers” AWS and its capabilities can bring to business.

The framework for this year’s presentation was similar to those in the past in that it was chock-full of new AWS features and product announcements. This year however, they were all tied together using the “superpower” theme.

Jassy’s superpower list began with “Supersonic Speed,” which focused on six new types of EC2 instances: T2, R4, F1, Elastic GPUs, I3 and C5, all of which were designed to bring a new level of speed to customers’ EC2 workloads.

New EC2 Instances
AWS CEO Andy Jassy introduces new EC2 instances to the audience at re:Invent 2016

Next was “X-Ray Vision”: providing new, robust analytics across multiple AWS platforms and services and expanding their portfolio of Artificial Intelligence tools. On the analytics side, this segment featured the GA release of Amazon Athena, which allows for interactive SQL queries for data in Amazon S3, which is used for scalable object storage.

The AI segment featured the introduction of LEX, a service for building conversational interfaces into applications using voice and text, Rekognition, which performs image recognition, categorization and facial analysis and Polly, which turns text into life-like speech — more on these new features below.

The next superpowers? “Immortality,” or the ability for businesses to evolve and adapt with new technology so they can persist in the marketplace, and “Flight,” which focused on “unshackling” from what Jassy called “hostile database vendors,” in a not-at-all-subtle jab at Oracle.

The final superpower Jassy described was “Shape Shifting,” — the ability for businesses to go hybrid as needed, and featured one of the most well-received announcements of the show: Amazon Aurora, the popular MySQL-compatible relational database engine is now compatible with PostgreSQL, a widely-used and equally popular object-relational database.

Shapeshifting

Most of the announcements elicited excitement from the crowd, but two major themes from the day stood out.

First, Amazon is making a strong push into the AI world with LEX, Rekognition and Polly. LEX opens up the engine that drives Alexa, Amazon’s version of Siri (but on steroids), to developers. By doing so, and combining it with Rekognition and Polly, AWS is fostering new AI and machine learning innovation, much of which will most certainly take place on their cloud platform. It’s a win-win for developers and for AWS.

Second, AWS is growing and evolving more rapidly than ever. At the start of the keynote, Jassy pointed out that AWS was on pace to have released nearly 1,000 new services and features by the end of 2016. That’s nearly three new tools every single day.

While these tools enhance the platform, the price is greatly added complexity, and an increased need for businesses to hire and retain the necessary talent to harness the full power of AWS.

This is what brought Rackspace to re:Invent last year, when we launched Fanatical Support for AWS. Our AWS team is highly trained and certified to successfully employ the growing list of services and features in a way that gets the most out of the platform.

FAWS booth AWS re:Invent 2016

Rackspace also knows the challenges businesses face trying to find and retain their own talent. Our managed services on top of AWS bridge the gap between those who understand and want the value AWS can bring to their business and the expertise needed to get there.

As an AWS Premier Partner, with more than 500 professional certifications achieved through the AWS Partner Network, we’re proud to be affiliated with AWS and its growing set of technologies, which are helping so many businesses move to the cloud or optimize existing workloads already running there.

Visit Rackspace to find out more about our AWS managed services, hear from customers we’ve helped succeed with AWS, check out tooling demos and learn which service options are the right fit for your organization.

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