Amazon Web Services’ river was a torrent of news Oct. 7, which was Day 2 of its re:Invent 2015 conference at the Sands Conference Center at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
From the keynote stage, Senior Vice President of Web Services Andy Jassy and his crew laid out news item after news item for a full house of attendees. One of the announcements even involved storage hardware that’s not a tablet PC.
In a span of about an hour, the Seattle-based Web services and consumer goods giant introduced the following:
—Amazon QuickSight, a cloud service that immediately makes Amazon a starting player in the business intelligence cloud service market. It enables line-of-business employees, regardless of their technical skill, to build visualizations, perform ad-hoc analysis, and obtain business insights from their data. A lot of companies are now doing this, but most of them don’t have the trust and reliability factor that AWS owns.
—AWS Snowball (pictured), a 50TB data transport appliance about the size of a portable drink cooler that can securely transfer a lot of data per appliance of data into and out of AWS via Fedex at $200 per job.
—AWS Kinesis Firehose: It eventually had to happen; someone has actually named a product “Firehose.” Kinesis Firehose is a fully managed service for loading streaming data into AWS. It became available Oct. 7 for Amazon S3 and Amazon Redshift; other AWS data stores are coming soon, Jassy said. Users now can store streaming data for up to seven days using the service’s Amazon Kinesis Streams.
—AWS Database Migration Service: This fully managed service enables users to migrate their production Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL databases to AWS with virtually no downtime, Jassy said. The accompanying AWS Schema Conversion Tool is designed to make it easy to switch database engines—a task never welcomed by DB admins in the past.
—Amazon RDS for MariaDB: The company announced that its relational database service, Amazon RDS. will support its sixth database engine, the popular MySQL-compatible open source database MariaDB. Amazon RDS already supports the MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, InnoDB and PostgreSQL database engines. Amazon RDS for MySQL currently supports MySQL 5.1, 5.5 and 5.6 (Community Edition) with InnoDB as the default database storage engine. Amazon RDS for Oracle currently supports Oracle Database 11gR2 and 12c.
Maria DB, the latest creation of the team that built MySQL in the late ’90s, is rapidly gaining a following among open source developers.
That’s the top of the news; here are more details on each of these items.
QuickSight uses a new parallel, in-memory Calculation Engine called SPICE to perform advanced calculations and render visualizations in real or near-real time. Amazon QuickSight integrates automatically with AWS data services, enables organizations to scale to hundreds of thousands of users, and delivers fast and responsive query performance to them via SPICE’s query engine, Jassy said.
Pricing for Amazon QuickSight starts at $9 per user, per month; AWS claims this is one-tenth the cost of traditional BI solutions. Go here for more information.
“Building BI solutions require teams of data engineers to spend months building complex data models before ever generating a report, and these solutions lack interactive data exploration and visualization,” Jassy said. “This limits users to canned reports and pre-selected queries. On-premises BI tools also require companies to invest in complex and costly hardware and software, and then require them to invest in even more infrastructure to maintain fast query performance as database sizes grow. This cost and complexity makes it difficult for companies to make BI ubiquitous across their organizations.
“QuickSight is built to solve these problems by bringing the AWS cloud to BI.”
Kinesis Firehose Streaming Data Service
No big data-moving service could be tagged with a more appropriate name. AWS Direct Connect already provides users with a fast dedicated connection to the AWS network; Kinesis Firehose is ideal for users in not so much in a hurry who need to transfer data in large batches, have data located in distributed locations, or require continuous loading of streaming data, Jassy said. With Kinesis Firehose, users now have two new ways to move large data sets and streaming data into the AWS Cloud.
“AWS is smart to leverage the huge interest in IoT and streamind data analytics,” IDC analyst Al Hilwa told eWEEK. “They are clearly seeing a lot of growth in Kinesis and are beginning to create add-on services. I think they are riding a growth curve here.”
AWS Unleashes Torrent of New Services, Plus Some Hardware
Snowball Hardware Storage/Delivery Service
“Real out-of-the-box thinking here, or as they said in the keynote, ‘in-the-box’ thinking,” Hilwa said. “I think this solves a real issue of securely and quickly moving data sets to the cloud for processing faster and cheaper than other options.”
Snowball is for users who need to transfer large amounts of data to AWS, but don’t have the time or bandwidth it takes to upload it. For example, if a company committed 100 megabits per second of their total bandwidth capacity to transferring data to AWS, transferring 100TB of data through that connection would take about 100 days, Jassy said.
So AWS came up with an old-fashioned option: Pack it all in a secure box with a Kindle tablet built onto one side and ship it. AWS Snowball—a durable and tamper-resistant, encrypted, and portable storage appliance—is that option. Users can use it to move that same 100TB of data to AWS in less than a week, and at as little as one-fifth of the cost of using high-speed Internet.
How it works: Users create a job using the AWS Management Console; AWS ships the appliance directly to the customer, and the customer, upon receiving the appliance, simply plugs it into his/her local network. Snowball provides a simple data transfer client which users use to encrypt and transfer 50TB of data to each appliance. Users can use multiple Snowball appliances in parallel to transfer larger data sets within the same time frame.
Once a customer’s data is completely loaded onto a Snowball, its E Ink shipping label—displayed on the Kindle—is automatically updated with the AWS shipping address, and users can track the status of the transfer job using Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), text messages, or the AWS Management Console.
AWS Database Migration Service
This is designed to make it easy for DB admins to migrate database engines they’re using on-premises to run on AWS, or to migrate from proprietary engines running on-premises to open source engines running in AWS. The service is very cost effective, Jassy said. For example, the Database Migration Service can migrate a 1TB database from on-premises to AWS for as little as $3. Setting up migration typically takes less than 10 minutes, Jassy said. The migration service handles all of the tasks involved in moving data and completing the migration.
MariaDB Now Supported by Aurora Database Engine
Starting Oct. 7, Amazon’s Aurora RDS now supports MariaDB as a fully managed service, which means users can deploy a MariaDB database with a few clicks in the AWS Management Console. Amazon RDS also handles all of the administrative tasks involved in managing a database, including software installation, storage management, replication for high-availability, and back-ups for disaster recovery.
With Amazon RDS’s Provisioned IOPS (PIOPS) capability, MariaDB databases can scale to 6TB and 30,000 IOPS per database instance. Users can deploy production MariaDB applications using the Multi-Availability Zone (MAZ) deployment option. Amazon RDS operates a synchronous stand-by replica with an automated fail-over mechanism.
Amazon RDS for MariaDB also supports cross-region snapshot copy operations, allowing users to keep a backup copy in a different region for disaster-recovery purposes. This can come in very useful when handling data emanating from—or going to—a European Union country. Users can operate MariaDB databases in a logically isolated virtual network fully configured and controlled with strict firewall policies using Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC).
“Aurora has proved incredibly popular,” Hilwa said. “To offer technology compatible with MySQL but at a much higher performance, appears to have hit a vein of gold for AWS. I find it interesting that they are doubling down on MySQL by adding MariaDB. You have to give it to Amazon when it comes to giving their users options.”