Amazon Workspaces, CloudTrail, AppStream and more from AWS re:Invent Day 2


While yesterday was more like the day zero with no keynotes and breakout sessions, today was an action packed day at AWS re:Invent. Amazon came out with a set of announcements that pushed the cloud envelope further.

Andy Jassy, Senior VP, AWS started the event with his keynote. Right from the word go, it was clear that AWS is making a statement that they are the preferred cloud for businesses of all sizes. Andy didn’t miss the opportunity to highlight various customer scenarios ranging from running development and test environments to migrating the whole datacenter to the cloud.

15 minutes into the session, Andy took a dig at IBM’s aggressive campaign that targeted AWS. Most of us witnessed theses buses at the airport that are painted with IBM’s ad which claimed that they run 30% more websites than any other cloud. By calling the latest competitor as the “old guard”, Amazon conveyed that the elephant can’t dance to the latest tune of cloud computing! This is one of the rare occasions where AWS chose to respond to the competition instead of ignoring them.

The keynoted had a barrage of new announcements. The most significant part is Amazon Workspaces that brings Microsoft Windows based desktops to the Cloud. These desktops will have Microsoft Office preinstalled coupled with tighter integration with Active Directory running on-premise. This will attract new set of customers who are looking at efficient VDI solutions on the cloud. Eventually, this service will also support Ubuntu, Fedora and other Linux based desktop environments.

The second announcement was Amazon CloudTrail which brings logging of API calls to AWS. This increases visibility of AWS resources by capturing detailed logs and audit trails. Customers will be able to integrate their favorite logging service like Loggly, Splunk or New Relic with Amazon CloudTrail. This brings additional control and governance that helps enterprises adhere to the required compliance.

The third announcement was about the new way of streaming applications running in the cloud to devices like tablets and smartphones. Amazon AppStream enables developers to move the heavy lifting to the cloud and stream the user interface to the clients. This will be useful for running compute intensive games, graphics driven applications and media applications to delivery HD experience to the low powered client devices.

Apart from these announcements, Andy invited enterprise customers on stage to talk about their experiences of using AWS. Suncorp Bank from Australia, Dow Jones and Tradeworx were the companies that explained why they chose AWS to run their workloads. What’s interesting is that Amazon strategically chose the customers from the financial domain who are typically risk averse and not in favor of cloud. By getting these customers on stage, AWS tried to debunk the myth that financial institutions and banks cannot move to the cloud!

The rest of the day followed by technical sessions that covered various topics of AWS. I have seen many attendees completing their hands on labs, taking an exam at the certification center and hopping across multiple tracks. The quality of the content delivered by experienced speakers is superior to many events that I attended. Overall, it’s been a great experience so far.

There are more announcements coming up tomorrow and stay tuned for the updates!

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