AWS Summit San Francisco in Review

Jerry Hargrove AWS SF Summit

This week, I attended the first of the upcoming AWS North America summits at Moscone Center in San Francisco. As always, the summit was a blur of technical sessions, product and service announcements and vendors and partners in the expo hall (including yours truly).

It was great seeing everyone there — a special thank you goes out to everyone who attended my talk on “Migrating Applications to AWS,” as well as those who stopped by the Rackspace booth to say hello and talk tech. Much appreciated.

As is the case at other summits, the keynote, provided by AWS CTO Werner Vogels, was punctuated with announcements for new services and features. In the table below, I’ve captured these announcements, including links to products, features and videos where available:

New services/features

Family Service/Feature Announcement Links
Artificial Intelligence



Amazon Lex is a service for building conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text. General Availability Product
Amazon Polly is a service that turns text into lifelike speech. Speech marks and whispers Product
Amazon Rekognition is a service that makes it easy to add image analysis to your applications. Image moderation Product
AWS Marketplace Software


AWS Marketplace: Copy to Service Catalog simplify & control access to AWS Marketplace products by copying to Service Catalog New Feature Product, Video
AWS Marketplace SaaS Contracts provides flexible terms for SaaS and API products via the AWS Marketplace New Feature Product
Compute Amazon EC2 F1 is a new instance with hardware accelerated FPGA. General Availability Product




Amazon Aurora with PostgreSQL Compatibility adds support for PostgreSQL databases to Aurora. Preview Available Product
Amazon DynamoDB Accelerator (DAX) a fully managed cache for DynamoDB tables New Feature Product, Feature, Video
Amazon Redshift Spectrum provides the ability to perform complex queries on data stored in S3 New Feature Product, Video
VPC Endpoints for Amazon DynamoDB access DynamoDB from VPCs without the need to traverse the internet Preview Available Product
Developer Tools


AWS CodeStar makes it easy to set up entire development and continuous delivery toolchains for coding, building, testing, and deploying application code New Service Product
AWS X-Ray helps developers analyze and debug production, distributed applications, such as those built using a microservices architecture. General Availability Product
AWS X-Ray Integration with AWS Lambda troubleshoot the performance of serverless applications with X-Ray Preview Product
Mobile Services AWS Mobile Hub Integration with Amazon Lex integrate conversational interfaces into mobile applications New Feature Product
Security AWS Identity and Access Management: Service-Linked Roles predefined service specific IAM roles (starting with Lex) New Feature Product

My short list

  • AI and machine learning are hot topics lately and Rekognition is at the top of my short list of new services to experiment with. Of particular interest is the ability to easily add face identification and object detection to applications, both of which are core features of Rekognition.
  • As I mentioned after re:Invent last year, I’d love to try out the FPGA instances, but the likelihood of that happening is minimal. All I can say is that someone somewhere is doing something really cool with these.
  • AWS continues to push the envelope and deliver tools and applications that make our lives and jobs as developers easier and more productive. CodeStar is the newest addition. My colleague at Rackspace, Eric Johnson, has already given it a first look, read about it here.
  • It’s the simple things. Service endpoints allow traffic between a VPC and an AWS service to stay within the VPC and are long-awaited features. I can’t wait to add the new DynamoDB endpoint to my Cloudformation defaults, along with the existing S3 endpoint.
  • IAM Service-Linked Roles expand our ability to provide more granular permissions and controls around AWS services and features. I welcome Lex with the first linked role and look forward to the addition of many other services as they become available.

I’m going to work diligently at reviewing (and writing about) each of these new services and features. Really. Starting right now. Today.

Before I forget, if you’re in the neighborhood, check out the AWS Summit in Berlin in May where I’ll be giving a talk on “Migrating Applications to AWS.” If you can make it, be sure to stop by and say hello! And as always, visit Rackspace to find out more about our managed services for AWS.

Jerry Hargrove is a Senior Solutions Architect on the Fanatical Support for AWS team at Rackspace. He works with Rackspace customers, helping them architect and implement super scalable and highly available solutions in the AWS cloud. Prior to joining Rackspace, Jerry worked as a Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services and as a software architect and developer. Jerry brings more than 20 years of software architecture and development experience to the Rackspace team and has worked in a broad cross-section of the software industry in a variety of settings. When not at work, he enjoys spending time with his family and is an avid hiker, climber and back-country skier.


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