Too many announcements to count

AWS re:Invent 2017: Going beyond infrastructure services

Jane Elizabeth
AWS re:Invent
© Shutterstock / Einur

What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas when it’s this big. AWS re:Invent 2017 promises to revolutionize Amazon Web Services beyond its position as an infrastructure management service. But what are we most excited for? AWS Fargate for container management, of course.

The news keep on coming from Las Vegas. This year’s AWS re:Invent has been a constant flood of news as Amazon Web Services drops game-changing announcement after announcement. As the Seattle Times put it, “AWS continues to launch releases at the pace of a startup.”

Amazon Web Services is already the dominant provider of cloud-computing services. And now, thanks to this latest crop of offerings, AWS plans on moving up past just infrastructure into the really high-tech value chain, including artificial intelligence, IoT, and more.

While Amazon Web Services is merely one division of the global online retail giant, it’s certainly not an insignificant player in the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market. According to the research company Gartner, in 2016 AWS captured roughly 44% of the market share for IaaS, with Microsoft’s Azure running a distant second at 7%.

So, instead of resting easily on their laurels, AWS is bringing the innovation with a number new features, services, and technologies, all of which are intended to bring it closer towards moving beyond just infrastructure. What did we see at AWS re:Invent?

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AWS Fargate

No, it’s not the latest sci-fi series on Amazon Video. AWS isn’t forgetting its core constituency as an IaaS provider. Well, sort of. AWS Fargate allows users to run containers without having to manage servers, clusters, or any of the pesky underlying instances.

Currently, Amazon ECS and Kubernetes allow users to deploy, manage, and scale container workloads to their liking. However, that means the user is responsible for actually managing the availability, capacity, and maintenance of the underlying infrastructure.

AWS Fargate removes all that, making it even easier for enterprises to use containers. It takes all the guesswork out of choosing server types, deciding when to scale clusters, or optimize cluster packing. AWS Fargate takes care of the servers and clusters all on its own, leaving users to focus on designing and building their application without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.

All that’s needed is for a user to build their container image, specify the CPU and memory requirements, define their networking and IAM policies… and launch. It’s that simple. AWS Fargate gives flexible configuration options to best fit your application needs; users are billed with per-second granularity.

AWS re:Invent

Things are even easier if you’re already an AWS user. Fargate provides native integrations with other AWS services, including the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), Amazon CloudWatch, and more. Fargate tasks run similarly to tasks running on EC2. You can add them to VPCs, configure load balancers, and assign IAM roles.

Learn more about AWS Fargate here.

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What else?

Other big news at AWS re:Invent 2017 included a whole bunch of major announcements. Announcing more services in two days than most companies do in an entire year, AWS introduced media services, Alexa for Business, machine learning and more.

Alexa is moving into the cubicle next door with Alexa for Business. It looks like Amazon is going all-in on voice recognition, which they think is the next big thing. Alexa isn’t taking over your PA’s job yet, but it’ll start off in the conference room.

If you’re interested in machine learning, AWS introduced a ML-based translation service, a transcription service, and even video analysis with AWS Rekognition Video. And AWS Deeplens is built for image-recognition algorithms for a smart video camera.

Honestly, there were too many announcements for any one journalist to keep up. However, as Larry Dignan pointed out, there is a red thread tying all of these offerings together:

  • Serverless deployments
  • Artificial intelligence everywhere
  • Database options all aimed at taking data share from Oracle
  • Computing at the edge via IoT
  • Alexa and voice as the interface going forward
  • And building an architecture and roadmap for how developers want to work in 2020.

“In sum, the common theme across every AWS move this week is data as currency and providing a one-click way to manage it,” said Dignan.

It’ll be interesting to see if they manage it.

Jane Elizabeth
Jane Elizabeth is an assistant editor for

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