At the re:Invent conference each year, AWS usually announces a lot of new services and features. We can’t cover them all here, but I’ve collected three of what I think are some of the most noteworthy launches from the big event.
AWS SageMaker Canvas
AWS presented a lot of AI and Machine Learning tools this year, many of them related to AWS Sagemaker. One of the most interesting was AWS SageMaker Canvas, a no-code interface to build predictive machine learning models. This follows the obvious point-and-click, no-code trend that allows companies to create and manage powerful machine learning models without having to worry about writing any code at all.
Another exciting launch on the topic was SageMaker Studio Lab, a free service available for developers to quickly create machine learning projects, learn and experiment.
With the launch of SageMaker Canvas and SageMaker Studio Lab along with other new features — like the preview of SageMaker Serverless Inference — it’s clear that Machine Learning is becoming more and more generally accessible for anyone to create, learn and manage.
Sustainability Pillar for AWS Well-Architected Framework
The AWS Well-Architected framework provides guidelines and best practices that helps customers understand the effects of decisions you make while building stuff in the cloud. Incorporating these pillars into your architecture helps designing and producing reliable and efficient systems.
Until now, the framework was built around five pillars – operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency and cost optimization. During Werner Vogels (CTO of Amazon) keynote at re:Invent, he announced number six – the Sustainability Pillar, focusing on understanding and minimizing the environmental impacts of your cloud workloads.
The new sustainability pillar is a great addition to the framework, enabling users to take responsibility, learn and improve their systems using environmental best practices for cloud computing.
To meet the demand of an improved, public community-driven forum for technical AWS questions and answers, AWS re:Post was announced as a part of the AWS Free Tier to replace the previous AWS Forums.
Apparently, it has been used internally for the last four years by the AWS employees and now, the same technical guidance has become available to the entire community.
A community-driven technical Q/A forum where users, employees, partners and newcomers can help each other to expand the availability of public knowledge about the cloud is very much welcome. I see a lot of similarities with Stack Overflow, a page most people in IT can’t live without. For example, the questions are reviewed by the community before they get accepted, and if contributing by reviewing or providing answers, members can build up their community status and earn reputation points. The questions will then be automatically shared with community experts based on their areas of expertise. Also, if you are a Premium Support customer, your unanswered questions will be passed on to AWS employees. But if you only want to browse the Q/A, you don’t even have to log in to the site, it’s all public.
It will be interesting to see what re:Post becomes, and what differences and improvements there will be from the old AWS Forums.
We’ll get into other services in more technical detail going forward, but for now if you want to read about all of them, take a look at What’s new at AWS.