AWS re:Invent 2017 Recap: New Announcements Galore!

Last Wednesday at AWS re:Invent was a big day.

Andy Jassy finally stepped out on stage and reminded me once again why I am crazy about AWS. Jassy’s keynote is traditionally filled with numerous major announcements, and while I could never cover all of the exciting services headed our way from AWS, I want to try to cover a few. Let’s jump in!

Compute overview

Most of the Wednesday’s announcements centered around compute, database, machine learning, AI and IoT. To get things started, let’s touch on the compute announcements:

AWS Fargate

One of the primary differences between serverless and containers on AWS has always been a fine line of infrastructure required to run containers. With the introduction of AWS Fargate, this differentiator is no more. Much like a Lambda, you can now run containers without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure. So, what we end up with is… serverless containers.

Amazon EKS (Kubernetes)

When AWS joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation earlier this year, it seemed a foregone conclusion that we would see a heavy focus on Kubernetes, and we were not disappointed. On Wednesday, AWS announced EKS, which allows you to launch a Kubernetes cluster much like ECS, with all the functionality of and compatibility with Kubernetes.

Database overview

In addition to the compute announcements, AWS also announced some amazing upgrades in the area of databases:

Amazon Aurora Serverless

Being the serverless nerd I am, I have to take a moment to talk about the coolness that is Serverless Aurora. Yes, you heard right, SERVERLESS Aurora. One of the beauties of Aurora itself is the fact that the database engine and storage are separate entities and easily separated. Using this model, Amazon is able to maintain constant storage while making compute elastic. Meaning, as your database load increases and decreases, AWS will add or remove database instances respectively from a warm pool of capacity.

Amazon DynamoDB Global Tables and Backup

Another notable database announcement (as if any weren’t notable), is the ability to create global tables with multi-master write in DynamoDB. Basically, this allows you to replicate data across two or more regions as well as write and read in any of those regions. In addition to this, AWS also added the ability to create on-demand backups, which is something we desperately needed and wanted. With this backup technology, AWS has also committed to point-in-time restores in the near future.

Machine Learning and AI

Machine learning and AI were, by far, the most-added AWS services announced on Wednesday. First off, they took Rekognition, the AWS image recognition service, and added the ability to analyse videos with the new Video Rekognition Service. AWS also added the ability to ingest huge amounts of video through a new service called Amazon Kinesis Video Streams.

AI has become much more powerful through three services called Transcribe, Translate and Comprehend. Transcribe and translate are fairly self-explanatory, but Comprehend can be explained as a service with the ability to classify or catalog datasets using machine learning. With this service, I am able to identify and catalog all the notes my wife leaves me so I can figure out what she is trying to say.

Amazon SageMaker

I wanted to take a few extra minutes to talk about SageMaker. The purpose of SageMaker is to make machine learning available and usable to any developer or data scientist. SageMaker gives us a jumpstart into machine learning by creating a system of common use cases and examples that can be tweaked as needed. I realize that this is a VERY simple explanation, but hey, I am the common man they are making this available for and I’m excited to dig in.


AWS IoT also got some love in today’s announcements. Two services were announced for management and security. The first, AWS IoT Device Management, allows users to manage fleets of IoT devices including onboarding, organisation, monitoring and remote management. The second is AWS IoT Device Defender. Defender is designed for continuous auditing, real-time monitoring and alerts and fast investigation and mitigation for IoT devices at scale.

The wrap-up

While I didn’t cover every announcement from Jassy’s keynote, the above is a relatively comprehensive list. And while I’m excited about ALL of the new announcements, I can’t expand on every single one as I’d be up all night and I need to be rested for the goodness that Werner Vogels is sure to bring during his keynote presentation tomorrow! Stay tuned for my recap of those announcements!

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