The recent Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit in San Francisco saw a whole host of key releases, including a foray into artificial intelligence and a new feature that will allow Redshift customers to run SQL queries against their Amazon S3 data.
Firstly to AI and confirmation that AWS is opening up to customers the same machine learning technology that is used by Amazon’s Alexa. The Amazon Lex artificial intelligence service will allow customers to take advantage of algorithms that enable applications which can have conversations and process voice and text.
With Amazon Lex, developers can build and test conversational apps that perform tasks such as checking the weather or latest news, booking travel, ordering food, getting the latest sales or marketing data from business software, or controlling a connecting device.
Developers can publish the conversational app to mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, web applications, and chat services such as Facebook Messenger, Slack or Twilio. Amazon Lex handles the authentication required by different platforms using the customer-provided keys and scales automatically as traffic increases, so developers don’t have to worry about provisioning and managing infrastructure.
Amazon Lex is integrated with AWS Lambda serverless computing which means that developers can build Amazon Lex conversational apps that use Lambda functions to implement business logic and retrieve data from enterprise applications and AWS Services. A number of built-in connectors are also included that make it easy for conversational apps to access data from popular SaaS applications like Salesforce and QuickBooks.
The AWS Summit also saw the launch of Redshift Spectrum, which will enable customers to extend the analytic power of Amazon Redshift beyond data stored on local disks in their data warehouse in order to query vast amounts of unstructured data in Amazon S3 without having to load or transform any data.
With Redshift Spectrum, analysing all of this unstructured data is as easy as running a standard Amazon Redshift SQL query. Redshift Spectrum directly queries data in S3, with no loading or transformation required, using the open data formats customers already use, including CSV, TSV, Parquet, Sequence, and RCFile.
And since Redshift Spectrum supports the same SQL syntax of Amazon Redshift, customers can also run sophisticated queries using the same Business Intelligence (BI) tools they do today.
Another significant announcement at the event was Amazon DynamoDB Accelerator (DAX), a fully managed in-memory cache which can reduce Amazon DynamoDB response times from milliseconds to microseconds thereby delivering up to ten times faster query performance.
Customers don’t need to rewrite their applications to get DAX for their DynamoDB apps; they simply provision a DAX cluster, point their application to the DAX endpoint, and DAX automatically caches item and query results in-memory on designated DAX instances.
Raju Gulabani, Vice President, Databases, Analytics, and AI, AWS, commented: “With DAX, applications remain fast and responsive – even when they experience massive spikes in request volumes.”
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