Our Take on New AWS Tools, Services and Capabilities

Each year at re:Invent, AWS rolls out hundreds of new features; below is our take on some of these exciting new services.

One of the benefits of having Rackspace manage your AWS environment is that we take on the burden of sifting through the hundreds of features AWS rolls out each year. We test drive them so we can recommend which should be adopted, depending on each customers’ needs.

Below are a selection of some of our favorites, and the impact they can make on performance, cost and reliability.

Database-related announcements and improvements

Amazon Quantum Ledger Database

Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) is a fully-managed, purpose-built ledger database that provides an immutable and cryptographically verifiable history of all changes made to your application’s data.

Immutability is a simple yet important concept in software development. By guaranteeing that a shared state cannot be changed after being written, QLDB enables your developers to write safer, cleaner code that runs at web scale.

Amazon also offers a managed blockchain service that makes it easy to create and manage scalable blockchain networks using popular open source frameworks Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum.

Our take, however, is that block-chain is still in early days, and customers should be wary of adoption at scale before first proving value via data-backed experimentation. We

believe the benefits most enterprises are looking for in blockchain —an immutable ledger — may be better suited to a QLDB solution.

Amazon Timestream

Amazon Timestream is a fast, scalable, fully managed time series database service for internet of things and operational applications that makes it easy to store and analyze trillions of events per day at 1/10th the cost of relational databases.

Amazon Timestream is better suited to time series data than traditional relational databases, enabling better performance at lower cost. We expect Amazon Timestream to be especially useful when paired with Amazon Forecast (currently in Preview), which is based on the same technology used at Amazon.com and uses machine learning to build forecasts.

Amazon Aurora Global Databases

An Aurora Global Database spans multiple AWS Regions; writes are replicated with typical latency of <1 second using dedicated infrastructure, leaving your database resources available entirely to serve application workloads.

Rackspace offers end-to-end management services for Aurora that include a suite of migration, administration and optimization services, along with support from a team of AWS-trained, platform-certified experts. We’ll help you provision for continued growth and protect against data loss, while also managing associated costs.

DynamoDB On-Demand

Through a new billing option, DynamoDB becomes the first database to offer the combination of internet-scale performance and a fully managed experience with no capacity planning of servers, storage or throughput. Customers simply pay for the resources they consume.

With this new billing option, customers don’t need to worry about managing capacity, since throughput scales from zero to thousands of requests per second without any human intervention.

DynamoDB on-demand is especially useful if your application traffic is difficult to predict and control, your workload has large spikes of short duration, or if your average table utilization is well below the peak.

Amazon RDS on VMware

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) on VMware lets you deploy managed databases in on-premises and hybrid environments using the Amazon RDS technology enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of AWS customers.

With Rackspace Managed VMware Cloud on AWS, we’re helping customers overcome many of the challenges they face with multi-cloud operations, including standard workflows, consistent APIs, easier access to native services across clouds, simpler geographical expansion, cost-effective disaster recovery and on-demand flexible capacity.

Our VMware and AWS experts help you make the most of all this next-generation cloud has to offer, while maximizing your existing VMware and AWS investments. Hear more about this from our Prashanth Chandrasekar speaking on the Cube at re:Invent with Ajay Patel from VMware, and check out VMware’s take on this service.

Multiple announcements around Lambda

Lambda as a Target for Application Load Balancer

Application Load Balancers now support invoking Lambda functions to serve HTTP(s) requests enabling users to access serverless applications from any HTTP client including web browsers.

This release fits well with the microservices patterns, as customers often have the same top level URL with multiple services underneath. Now, you can mix and match the actual fulfillment of services with a mix of AWS services; EC2, ECS, EKS and Lambda.

This feature enables customers to easily migrate workloads from EC2 to containers and/or Lambda without complicating the migration with multiple URLs.

Lambda Layers

Lambda Layers is a simple way to manage common software and data across multiple functions.

No matter how many distinct languages AWS provides official support for on Lambda, there will always be a demand for more (e.g. Ruby prior to re:Invent, PHP, etc.) or a demand for faster adoption of new versions.

The availability of a top-level layer for the actual runtime creates a way for customers interested in serverless/functions-as-a-service to do so without being subject to the AWS roadmap.

FSx for Windows Server

Amazon FSx for Windows File Server provides a fully managed native Microsoft Windows file system that can be accessed from up to thousands of compute instances. Built on Windows Server and SSD storage, Amazon FSx provides Windows shared file storage with the compatibility, features, and performance that your Windows-based applications rely on, so you can easily move your Windows-based applications to AWS.

Windows applications and services are part of almost every organization’s operational toolkit. Rackspace can help you design, migrate, manage and deploy your Microsoft environment on the AWS Cloud, including Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint and Exchange.

These are just a few the exciting innovations announced at re:Invent 2018. Stay tuned to our blog as we take a deep dive into some others for 2019, including AWS Outposts, Machine Learning and AWS Lake Formation.

Learn more about how Rackspace can help manage and optimize your AWS environment.

David Lucky is a Product Marketing leader at Rackspace for the Managed Public Cloud services group, a global business unit focused on delivering end-to-end digital transformation services on AWS, Azure, GCP and Alibaba. David came to Rackspace from Datapipe where as Director of Product Management for six years he led product development in building services to help enterprise clients leverage managed IT services to solve complex business challenges. David has unique insight into the latest product developments for private, public and hybrid cloud platforms and a keen understanding of industry trends and their impact on business development. He holds an engineering degree from Lehigh University and is based out of Jersey City, NJ. You can follow David on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/davidlucky and Twitter @Luckys_Blog.


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