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Top 10 AWS News and Updates during the COVID-19 You Should Know About

Top 10 AWS news of 2020 would help you stay ahead of the curve in understanding where Cloud management solutions are heading to with the AIOps, Edge and Customer Experience tools.

Regardless of which industry you work in, it’s always fascinating literature that covers the top AWS trends for the year. It has become all the more important to learn AWS solutions, tools, and developer tutorials during the COVID-19. The company has been at the forefront in the fight against the pandemic-laden economy. Due to its highly relevant announcement and innovations in the Cloud computing domain, we decided to feature the top 10 AWS news every business owner, Product manager, and Cloud solutions developer should know in 2020.

But first, a very quick summary on what is AWS and why Cloud understanding is very important in the current COVID-19 world.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the world’s largest and most profitable Cloud computing platforms. Launched in 2006, AWS is the Numero Uno in IaaS Cloud market, holding almost 50% of the market share. According to Gartner, AWS extracted an estimated annual revenue of $20 billion in 2019, taking a lion’s cut (45%)of the market share. In a fast-changing world where the IaaS Public Cloud and Computing platforms hold the key to the development of other emerging technologies and services, AWS’s scalability and market dominance continue to draw new customers to its Enterprise Cloud stack and Pay-as-you-use models. Dominance in AI, Machine Learning, AIOps, Blockchain, and Kubernetes / Containerization techniques have only added more ammunition to its already heavily-loaded arsenal in the Cloud ecosystem. The sheer degree of AWS’s dominance in the market can be understood from the list of competitors it currently has the lead from — Microsoft Azure, Tencent, Alibaba, Google Cloud, and others.

What AWS’s Dominance Meant for Business Continuity During the COVID-19?

As per predictions of leading AI and Cloud engineering experts, the IT Data management infrastructures and Cloud Computing were going to be the most sought-after domains in the modern Information Age. The rapid enhancements in the AI ML operations, CI CD workflows, demand for RPA and Virtualization, IoT, 5G and Ne0-fintech technologies put these two engineering marvels at the center of every IT-based digital transformation journey. Alas, the COVID-19 hampered the pace of adoption and the number of customers who might have wanted to go full-throttle on Cloud modernization and innovation of their stacks. AWS’s took the lead to ensure all customers and potential buyers have the right message with them.

According to our internal analysis, the three major concerns of business owners, CIOs and CISOs were:

  1. Data Security
  2. Cloud Modernization
  3. Business Continuity

Of these, a majority of IT leaders emphasized on Cloud modernization as a key decision in their business continuity plans from the start of the year. COVID-19 pandemic might have ‘temporarily’ put brakes on Cloud modernization goals, until cloud-based services became pivotal in ensuring virtual operations continued as lockdowns became evident and pushed companies to adopt new terminologies such as ‘virtualization’, ‘work from home”, remote IT and security management, and “new normal” Marketing and Sales concepts for effective business continuity.

In addition, AWS fulfills customers’ demands as far as unique Cloud and Edge computing applications are concerned. Especially with the AWS Snow family of devices which enable customers to expand their Edge requirements to fit in new use cases and scenarios emerging from setting up data centers in remote and obscure locations (land, water and air).

There are so may use case scenarios within the AWS cloud portfolio that it’s hard to discuss everything in one article.

So, we will focus on the AWS Top 10 Trends of 2020 that made business continuity possible through the COVID-19 crisis.

Agile Mobile and Web DevOps Platform AWS Honeycode Launched

Date of launch: 24 June 2020

Category: IT DevOps 

Amazon Honeycode

Amazon released the first-ever no-programming platform to build powerful mobile and web applications, allowing customers to track and manage the entire app development lifecycle using simple workflow management and data visualization tools.

Honeycode’s visual application builder provides a highly interactive web and mobile applications backed to perform tasks. These apps auto-sync with the powerful AWS-built database and empower customers to complete complex tasks in a limited time. Using Amazon Honeycode, customers can track data over time and notify users of changes, route approvals, and facilitate interactive business processes.

How it works?

Here is an informative video on how AWS Honeycode works –

Slack and SmugMug are believed to be the first customers to test and use AWS Honeycode to create applications that range in complexity, veracity, and scale of application in an enterprise or small scale business.

How to use Amazon Honeycode:

  • Get started by selecting a pre-built template or ready-to-use frameworks
  • You can also import data into a blank workbook or use the familiar spreadsheet interface to define the data model
  • Start your design on the application screens with objects like lists, buttons, and input fields
  • Start adding automations to their applications to drive notifications, reminders, approvals, and other actions based on conditions.
  • Once the application is built, you can simply click a button to share it with team members.

Amazon Detective Security Service across AWS workloads

Launch date: 31 March 2020

Category: Information Security

AWS announced the general availability of Amazon Detective for customers who sought a more transparent and faster platform to identify, analyze, and solve security issues across AWS workloads. Amazon Detective is an automated security service that collects log data from a customer’s resources. The core of this data engine consists of powerful AI-based machine learning, combined with statistical analysis, and graph theory to build interactive visualizations. These combined ‘Detective’ prowess help customers analyze, investigate, and quickly identify the root cause of potential security issues or suspicious activities. Customers can use data ingested from AWS CloudTrail, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Flow Logs, and Amazon GuardDuty findings.

Amazon Detective also meshes in with other AWS security services such as Amazon GuardDuty, Amazon Macie, and AWS Security Hub. It also connects with the partner security products which can be used to identify potential security issues or findings.

How Amazon Detective Works?
  • Perform the Root Cause Analysis of security findings
  • Collect and merge logs from many separate data sources
  • Use ETL tools or custom scripting to organize the data
  • Automatically create a unified, interactive view of your resources, users, and the interactions between them over time
  • Provide data visualization and reporting to security teams to easily investigate and quickly get to the root cause of a finding

Below, you can find the workflow representation of how Amazon Detective works. (source: Amazon)

How Amazon Detective works

Important tip: Currently, there is no software to deploy, or data sources to enable and maintain Amazon Detective.

AWS Reaches South Africa

Launch date: 22 April 2020

Category: Market Expansion

Africa is a fast-growing Cloud market. Despite limited opportunities and infrastructure challenges, the continents in African Union have shown remarkable strength in fighting the COVID-19 through the adoption of high-end technology and business policies. AWS launched in Cape Town South Africa proves that there is ample scope to grow Cloud solutions in the continent.

At the time of this announcement, Peter DeSantis, Senior Vice President of Global Infrastructure and Customer Support, Amazon Web Services said –

“We have a long history in South Africa and have been working to support the growth of the local technology community for over 15 years. In that time, builders, developers, entrepreneurs, and organizations have asked us to bring an AWS Region to Africa and today we are answering these requests by opening the Cape Town Region. We look forward to seeing the creativity and innovation that will result from African organizations building in the cloud.”

With the launch of AWS Cape Town center, AWS now has 73 Availability Zones within 23 geographic regions around the world and has announced plans for 12 more Availability Zones across four more AWS Regions in Indonesia, Italy, Japan, and Spain. (as on 22 April 2020).

AWS Snowcone Edge Computing, Data Transfer, and Storage

Launch date: 17 June 2020

Category: Edge and Storage

AWS Snowcone is a small, ultra-portable, rugged, and secure edge computing device. This edge computing enabler is used for collecting, processing, and moving data to AWS from disconnected environments. It means you can transfer data even in offline mode. The strongest selling point for AWS Snowcone is its portability. The light weight device can be carried in your backpack, as it weighs lighter than your regular laptop — at around 5 lbs.

AWS Snowcone E Ink Label

AWS Snowcone is the smallest member of the AWS Snow Family of devices, enabling customers to collect data, process it locally, and move it to AWS either offline (by shipping the device to AWS) or online (by using AWS DataSync to send the data to AWS over the network).

How AWS Snowcone works?

How AWS Snowcone Works

Snowcone has already become a popular edge computing device for many in-car connectivity, smart phone, industrial IoT and drone operations. AWS Snowcone is built to withstand harsh conditions and is designed for a variety of use cases in environments outside of the traditional data center that lack consistent network connectivity and/or requires portability, including healthcare, industrial IoT, drones, tactical edge computing, content distribution, data migration, video content creation, and transportation.

AWS DevOps tool, Amazon CodeGuru

Launch date: 29 June 2020

Category: DevOps

Amazon CodeGuru is a new developer service that uses AI ML to automate both code reviews during application development. It also enables the accurate profiling of applications in production. Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer uses machine learning to identify critical issues and hard-to-find bugs during application development to improve code quality, in addition to ensuring an optimized performance for applications running in production and reducing operational costs by up to 50%.

Amazon CodeGuru is a new developer service that uses AI ML to automate both code reviews during application development. It also enables the accurate profiling of applications in production. Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer uses machine learning to identify critical issues and hard-to-find bugs during application development to improve code quality, in addition to ensuring an optimized performance for applications running in production and reducing operational costs by up to 50%.

CodeGuru development was created in collaboration with the existing AWS partners and customers, including Atlassian, EagleDream, and DevFactory.

AWS CodeGuru simplifies the entire app development lifecycle  by providing real-time ML insights and recommendations for improving code quality. Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer helps improve code quality by scanning for critical issues, identifying bugs, and recommending how to remediate them.

Amazon CodeGuru can be enabled with a few clicks in the AWS console, customers only pay for their actual use of Amazon CodeGuru, and it’s easy and affordable enough to run on every code review and application in an organization.

Benefits of Using CodeGuru
  • Quick identification of cost line of codes;
  • Optimized utilization of DevOps resources;
  • Automatically flag common issues that deviate from best practices (potentially leading to production issues);
  • Automatically identify code methods (reusable blocks of code also called functions) and anomalous behaviors that are most impacting latency and CPU usage;
  • Providing specific recommendations on how to fix them, including example code and links to relevant documentation;
  • Providing a pull request dashboard that lists information for all code reviews.

As on 1 July 2020, Amazon CodeGuru is made available in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), EU (Ireland), EU (London), EU (Frankfurt), EU (Stockholm), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) with availability in additional regions in the coming months.

CodeGuru_Profiler

AiThority Primer: AWS Analytics Lens for Cloud Modernization Journeys

The detailed update on the AWS Well-Architected environment with the Analytics Lens made it to our Top 10 AWS News of 2020.

Using Analytics Lens, DevOps teams can identify and accurately analyze common challenges during data warehousing and analysis.

Here is a pictorial representation of AWS Analytics Lens and how it works –

Amazon Braket for Quantum Computing

Launch Date: 13 August 2020

Cartegory: Quantum Computing / DevOps

Our independent analysis has revealed that Quantum Computing is one of the top 5 technology trends of 2020-2021. The others are AIOps, RPA, Industrial IoT, and Cyberintelligence / InfoSecOps.

To assist global product development teams in meeting growing Quantum Computing demands, AWS released Amazon Braket. Amazon Braket helps developers and researchers get started with quantum computing, providing development tools, simulators, and access to a diverse set of quantum hardware. Global innovation teams could rely on this fully managed AWS service that provides a development environment to help customers explore and design quantum algorithms. Customers can expand on Amazon Braket to run their quantum algorithms on their choice of quantum processors based on different technologies. These could be integrated with D-Wave, IonQ, and Rigetti. Built as unified platform within AWS, customers have to pay only for the computing resources used in Quantum operations.

How it works diagram

Benefits of AWS Braket

The battery of benefits it provides is the reason why this product made it to our Top 10 AWS News feature. Here are some of the benefits we could list down:

  • Amazon Braket helps overcome challenges Managed quantum infrastructure with real-time ML algorithms;
  • Enables developers and researchers in academia and industry to explore and evaluate quantum computing using the same, consistent AWS experience;
  • Quick-start model using familiar tools like Jupyter notebooks to access pre-installed developer tools that can be used to design quantum algorithms, visualize results, and collaborate with others;
  • Offers cross-platform developer tools that let customers design their own quantum algorithms or choose from a growing library of pre-built algorithms;
  • Provides consistent experience so that customers no longer need to learn multiple development environments;
  • Customers can run, test, and troubleshoot their algorithms on quantum computer simulators that use Amazon EC2 computing resources;
  • Runs with hybrid algorithms, where the combined use of quantum and classical computing systems can help overcome the limitations that are inherent in today’s quantum technology.

AWS and Formula 1 Announce New Racing Performance

Formula 1 is not just about the need for speed, but also data-hungry. 8th on our list of top 10 AWS News of 2020 is AWS partnership announcement with Formula 1 Motor Sports.

After a delayed start to the championship season, F1 is already among the top sporting events to return to full normalcy amid the COVID-19 crisis. But, that’s not the newsmaker this time. It’s the way every F1 car is fitted with hundreds of sensors, generating millions of racing and car data per second. F1 teams, car developers, pit mechanics and fans have equal visibility into how their favorite teams are performing, even as it offers predictive Driver-by-driver performance data before the quali-race timings.

AWS Services enable Formula 1 to ‘stream, process, and analyze that flood of data in real-time, and then present it in a meaningful way for F1 global TV viewers.’

Watch the full video on F1 AWS data mechanics here:

From analyzing Car performance for fans to using data for envisioning Out Stop strategy and Pit Strategy Battle, the F1 Insight powered by AWS is a truly magnetizing data visualization deck for every F1 pro and amateur. Even the first time viewers can derive a lot of information about F1 cars and related machinery.

Amazon EBS io2 Volume for CDP-related Business-critical Applications

Launch Date:  24 August 2020

Category: Block Data Storage

Amazon EBS io2 reduces the likelihood of storage failures and makes the primary copy of customers’ data more resilient. It ensures highest resilience in performance-intensive, business critical applications such as ERP, CRM, and online transaction systems. It improves the performance of traditional databases like SAP HANA, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, Apache Cassandra, MySQL, and PostreSQL that back them. New iO2 volumes can be created on AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface, or AWS SDKs.

Salesforce, an AWS cstomer levearges iO2 volumes for its various Marketing and Sales Technology platforms, including for its Customer 360 Cloud and Einstein AI.

Paul Constantinides, Executive Vice President of Engineering, at Salesforce says – 

 “Our commitment to our core value of customer success includes ensuring Salesforce applications are available whenever our customers need them. Delivering an always-on experience requires highly reliable storage. With AWS and EBS new io2 volumes designed for five nines durability, we will continue to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.”

Amazon Macie and Kendra

Launch Date: May 2020

In May 2020, at the peak of coronavirus pande,ic, AWS made two major announcements to its data management framework. It annouced a series of enhancements to Amazon Macie (ML based data security and data privacy service) and launched Amazon Kendra (ML based enterprise search service).

AWS Macie now runs with an updated machine learning models for more accurate detection of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), support for customer-defined data types, and native multi-account management with AWS Organizations.

Amazon Macie reduces this burden by providing a scalable and cost-efficient service to protect their sensitive data in AWS. Customers receive actionable security findings on their sensitive data types such as PII and those defined  by privacy regulations, such as The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Privacy Law, and The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

On the other hand, Amazon Kendra aims at improving enterprise content and information discovery. Using ML and NLP techniques, customers can improve the overall search capabilities within mobile, website and online archives so that users can find the most relevant content in a single click, on the same screen. It also helps customers vet obsolete information, enabling better reader’s search experience across various media.

WEB_Kendra_Before-After

Kendra can be applied across a wide range of internal use cases like Marketing, Sales, HR, operations, support, and R&D. It’s multi-disciplinary AI ML and NLP capabilities make it readily deployable in IT, financial services, insurance, pharmaceuticals, industrial manufacturing, energy, legal, media and entertainment, travel and hospitality, healthcare, HR, news, telecommunications, and automotive.

Conclusion

AWS is fulfilling all the major demands for cloud-based services, empowering customers to modernize their Cloud adoption journeys and Infosec adoption. Over the next 12 months or so, AWS is expected to bring out many more new Cloud and DevOps tools and solutions to make digital transformation processes work seamlessly for every user.

To share your insights on AWS and Cloud vendors, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com
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