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AWS re:Invent 2016 day 2 is in the books. Attendees took part in AWS and Partner-led technical sessions, bootcamps, and GameDay and had the opportunity to interact with a wide range of Consulting and Technology Partners at reinvent:Central (the Partner & Solutions Expo).

Summit Keynote
Things started off with the re:Invent Keynote by AWS CEO Andy Jassy, and per the usual, he did not disappoint. We learned about the Four Superpowers that AWS gives organizations… Supersonic Speed, X-Ray Vision, Immortality, and Flight. and we heard success stories around this from several major corporations.  Speakers from GE, Motorola, Workday, FINRA and McDonalds joined the Keynote and told their success stories as they relate to AWS and these Four Superpowers.  We also heard from Patrick Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, and Jassy about the new partnership between AWS and VMware.  They discussed the alliance and the strategic and technical benefits that it will provide their customers.  Gelsinger notably quipped: “Your CIOs capital budget for DR should be zero.  DR should entirely be in the cloud.”

New Announcements
The Summit Keynote showcased a number of new and expanded services to the AWS lineup:

  • New C5 EC2 Instance Family:  Next Generation Compute Optimized Instances with Intel Skylake processors
  • New I3 EC2 Instance Family:  Next Generation I/O Intensive Instances
  • New R4 EC2 Instance Family:  Next Generation Memory Optimized Instances
  • New F1 EC2 Instance Family:  Compute instances with a Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs)
  • Updates to the T2 EC2 Instance Family:  Low-Cost Instances with Burstable Performance
    • xlarge with 16GiB (2x more) memory and 2 vCPU
    • 2xlarge with 32GiB Memory (4x more) and 2vCPU
  • Addition of Elastic GPUs to all EC2 instance types
  • PostgreSQL support for RDS Aurora
  • Amazon Athena:  Provides serverless interactive queries for data stored in S3 using Standard SQL
  • Amazon Rekognition:  Image recognition service that enables applications to easily recognize, search, and understand image details
  • Amazon Polly:  Text to speech service with 47 voices and 27 languages
  • Amazon LEX:  Natural language understanding and automatic speech recognition service (It’s what’s inside Alexa.)

Jassy unveiled the four new EC2 instance families – three of which are the la iterations on previous generations – listed above as well as the expansion of the T2 line. and types. The completely new EC2 instance family was the F1 class.  F1 instances offer programmable hardware via an FPGA which allows for writing custom code that executes directly on the FPGA speeding up the processing time for discrete tasks. We also learned that AWS is adding Elastic GPUs as an option (handled much like an EBS volume) that will be available to attach to any EC2 instance to boost graphics processing performance.

Amazon Athena was announced today and should be a welcomed addition for anyone looking to turn their S3 data into a data-warehouse/lake instantaneously without incurring the costs associated with a Redshift cluster, infrastructure, or other data-warehousing platform.  Athena provides serverless interactive queries for data stored in S3 using Standard SQL.  This is a truly awesome new service for building a data-warehouse inexpensively.

Perhaps one of the biggest announcements of the day came as it was announced that AWS will be releasing PostgreSQL support for Aurora.  This will definitely help Aurora continue to reshape the face of how enterprise class databases are deployed in the cloud.  Speaking of Aurora reshaping database deployment in the cloud, Jassy mentioned that since its launch Aurora is the fasting-growing service AWS has ever released with 14k+ migrations to date.

The launch of the Amazon AI platform was another major announcement made yesterday.  Leveraging the IP and tooling they have developed internally, AWS will be releasing three new services under this new AI platform aimed at providing AI services to the masses.  The first is Amazon Rekognition and provides an image detection and recognition engine.  The next is Amazon Polly, which provides a text-to-speech engine (in 47 languages with 24 voices).  The last is Amazon LEX, which is a natural language understanding and automatic speech recognition engine, which operates at the core of the Amazon Alexa platform.  This is just another great example of Amazon providing internal tools and services they have developed and bringing them to a global marketplace due to customer demand.

Some of these new features are in “preview” or “developer” access mode and haven’t been released for general availability yet. You can find more information about all of these services and more, on the AWS APN blog: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/apn/. For a really great detailed breakdown of the Keynote check out our blog post from yesterday: http://2ndwatch.com/blog/8-things-we-learned-from-andy-jassys-2016-reinvent-keynote/

There was a flurry of activity on the re:Invent Central expo floor, and traffic to the 2nd Watch booth was no exception.  New customers were met, partnerships were discussed and all kinds of cloud expertise was disseminated to the masses.

Sessions and Events
The Agenda was chock-full of interesting and useful events, session, and demos in addition to the Keynote Address.  Events like the Alexa Skill Con, Certification Lounge provided an all-day option for honing skills and gaining AWS certification.  Some, like the live demo “Creating an AWS Data Lake on S3,” highlighted the newly-announced AWS services and features.  There were also several physical fun activities over at The Park, like Hangry Humans, Mini golf, Mechanical Bull Riding and a Batting cage for attendees to get outside for some fresh air and remain active.

After hours kicked off with the re:Invent 2016 Pub Crawl featuring a number of great restaurants and pubs. The night was finished off with a bang at the annual 2nd Watch re:Invent After Party.

Come see us today at Booth #825 for your free limited edition t-shirt and a chance to win a Segway!

-Ryan Kennedy, Principal Cloud Automation Architect

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