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The recent AWS re:Invent 2018 conference saw the release of a raft of important new offerings, including new machine learning services, enhanced database capabilities and a hybrid cloud option.

Here are just some of the highlights.

New hybrid cloud offering

Perhaps one of the most interesting announcements was AWS Outposts, a new hybrid cloud offering that packages a rack of AWS compute and storage for installation in the customer’s own data centre, where they can run many of the same services that are offered by AWS.

It will initially come in two variants:

  • the first for customers who want to use the same VMware control plane and APIs they’ve been using to run their infrastructure; this delivers the entire VMware Software-Defined Data Centre (SDDC) – compute, storage and networking infrastructure – to run on-premises and managed as a service from the same console as VMware Cloud on AWS.
  • Alternatively, customers who prefer the exact same APIs and control plane they’re used to running in AWS’s cloud, but on-premises, can use the AWS native variant of AWS Outposts.

New machine learning services

Thirteen new machine learning (ML) services and capabilities were revealed. In particular, new SageMaker capabilities make it easier for customers to build, train and deploy models: SageMaker Ground Truth produces high-quality labelled training data, whilst SageMaker RL delivers a managed service for reinforcement learning algorithms and simulators.

Real time recommendations

Also on the ML front, Amazon Personalize is a real-time recommendation and personalisation service. It is a fully managed service, which will build, train and deploy custom, private personalisation and recommendation models for virtually any use case. Amazon Personalize can make recommendations, personalise search results and segment customers for direct and personalised marketing through email or push notifications.

New capabilities for existing platforms

A series of new capabilities were added to existing database platforms. Amazon Aurora MySQL now has a Global Database feature that allows updates in a single region to be replicated across other regions rapidly. It extends Aurora’s in-region log based replication to cross-region replication. Meanwhile, Amazon DynamoDB has a new On-Demand feature targeted at applications with unpredictable or infrequent usage where customers pay per request. In addition, Amazon DynamoDB now supports Transactions, offering full atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability (ACID) guarantees for developing highly scalable apps.


Security certainly wasn’t overlooked, with AWS Security Hub providing central management of security and compliance across an AWS environment. Customers can quickly see their entire AWS security and compliance state in one place, as AWS Security Hub collects and aggregates findings from the security services it discovers in a customer’s environment and correlates these into integrated dashboards that visualise and summarise a customer’s current security and compliance status.

Multi-account management

AWS Control Tower makes it easy to set up and govern a secure, compliant multi-account environment. It provides central cloud teams with a single, automated ‘landing zone’ where their teams can provision accounts and workloads according to industry and AWS best practices.

Ledger-related services

Two ledger-related services were launched, one centralised and the other decentralised. The first, Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB), is a fully-managed ledger database with a central trusted authority. The second is the Amazon Managed Blockchain, which allows users to create and manage scalable blockchain networks using either Ethereum or HyperLedger.

New storage services

Last but certainly not least, eight new storage services and capabilities were announced, including:

  • Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering which optimises storage costs by automatically selecting the most cost-effective storage tier based on usage patterns
  • Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive that dramatically reduces storage costs for less frequently accessed data
  • Amazon FSx for Windows File Server and Amazon FSx for Lustre services which provide cost effective, scalable file storage for Windows and compute-intensive workloads.

Matt Barclay

Solutions Architect

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