Amazon Web Services is pumping out announcement after announcement this week at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The sold out symposium focuses on cloud computing solutions and features workshops for developers and database architects, as well as other technical decision-makers.
So far, AWS has made four key announcements, starting with new programs and initiatives to support its growing partner network for cloud computing services. Amazon also announced Aurora, a MySQL-compatible database engine for the Amazon Relational Database Service; plus, new services for enterprise security and governance , as well as some new application lifestyle management services.
On the services front, AWS rolled out expanded Amazon Partner Network (APN) benefits, new Managed Service and SaaS Partner Programs, and APN partner-specific training. In addition, Amazon introduced a slate of 2015 Premier Consulting Partners, comprised of 28 APN partners that offer strong customer service and expertise.
Terry Wise, Director of Worldwide Partner Ecosystem at AWS, said the company plans to more than double its investments in its APN partners in 2015, with significant updates, enhancements, and new benefits.
Any Game Changers?
The Amazon Aurora database engine could be the biggest news at re:Invent, with its promise to combine the speed and availability of high-end commercial databases with the ease of use and cost-effectiveness of open source databases. The promised result: up to five times better performance than typical MySQL databases and availability that’s as good as or better than commercial databases or high-end SANs — without sacrificing scalability and security. AWS claims the cost is one-tenth the price of high-end commercial database offerings. Customers pay an hourly charge for each Aurora database instance they use.
Raju Gulabani, Vice President of Database Services at AWS, said he consistently hears from customers that want an easier way to get the performance of commercial databases at the price of open source engines. “This is why we built Amazon Aurora,” he said. “We’ve spent the last three years working on a MySQL-compatible database that innovates on the engine and storage layers to deliver five times the performance of MySQL at one-tenth the price of commercial database solutions.”
Quickbooks-maker Intuit’s results seem to prove Gulabani’s point. Intuit invests significantly to own and operate high-end commercial databases underpinning its accounting-software business . Until now, Troy Otillio, Director of Intuit’s Public Cloud, said there wasn’t a real alternative to obtain the reliability and performance its customers need.
“Amazon Aurora is a game-changer for us: providing the performance and availability features that rival expensive on-premises databases and SANs at a significantly lower price point,” Gulabani said. “The RDS management capabilities on top of Amazon Aurora will allow us to focus our resources and energy on what matters most — building great applications and delighting our customers.”
Customers can sign up for a preview at the AWS site.
Security, Governance and Compliance
Amazon is also using the re:Invent conference to promote three new services that aim to make it easier for enterprises to maintain security, governance, and compliance of their resources in the AWS Cloud. These services are available now from AWS.
First, AWS Key Management Service is a fully managed service that lets customers create and control the encryption keys used to encrypt their data on the AWS Cloud.
Next, AWS Config is a fully managed service that gives customers visibility into their AWS resources and associated relationships, notifies them of resource configuration changes, and lets them audit resource configuration history.
Finally, the AWS Service Catalog lets enterprise administrators choose which AWS resources they want their employees deploying, in what configurations, who has access to each of these options, and then makes them discoverable to their employees through a personalized portal.
“More enterprises are moving data to the cloud and they expect the same degree of security as if data were on premises,” said Ojas Rege, Vice President of Strategy at MobileIron, an enterprise data integration software maker. “AWS Key Management Service provides protection for and management of encryption keys which allows [AWS] to develop a cloud services architecture that assures corporate data remains safeguarded as securely as in an on-premises, TPM-protected environment.”
An Automated Deployment System
Last but not least are AWS’s new Application Lifestyle Management Services: CodeDeploy, CodeCommit and CodePipline. CodeDeploy is a fully managed, high-scale deployment service that lets developers automate the process of deploying and updating applications on Amazon EC2. That release is available now from AWS.
In early 2015, AWS will introduce AWS CodePipeline, an automated continuous delivery service to aid smooth deployments, and AWS CodeCommit, a fully managed source control service in the cloud. With these services, AWS said developers don’t have to worry about hosting or maintaining their own source code infrastructure . They can model and automate their software release and deployment processes on the AWS Cloud.
Jamie Begin, CEO of RightBrain Networks, a company that specializes in designing and supporting scalable AWS-powered applications, explained how RightBrain designs and manages SaaS applications running on AWS infrastructure with complex multi-tier architectures and critical uptime requirements. Begin said that in the past, creating and managing the custom solutions to deploy each of these applications took RightBrain engineers’ focus away from working with customers to build great apps.
Now, Begin said, AWS CodeDeploy gives the team an automated deployment system that can be used to roll out software updates across all their applications. “It was easy to reuse our existing setup scripts with AWS CodeDeploy, and the console gave us a central dashboard to track deployments and spot any issues.”
As a result, Begin said, the team now spends less time managing deployments and more time working with customers to solve complex architectural problems for their specific needs.