AWS launches new features at Chicago Summit

amazon awsAmazon Web Services has launched a number of new features, along with the announcement that AWS Import/Export Snowball is now available in four new regions, including Europe.

Speaking at AWS Chicago Summit, the team announced several updates including new security features, tools which simplify the movement of data around an organizations cloud, platforms for automatically deploying and running apps on Amazon’s cloud infrastructure, testing features, as well as authentication services.

Firstly, the AWS Device Farm Update is a feature, initially introduced last June, which enables customers to test mobile apps on real devices. The service is built on the concept of ‘write once, test everywhere’, enabling developers the chance to test apps in more than 200 unique environments (a variety of carriers, manufacturers, models, operating systems etc.). The update now provides customers with remote access to devices for interactive testing.

Writing on the AWS blog, Jeff Barr, Chief Evangelist at Amazon Web Services said, “you simply open a new session on the desired device, wait (generally a minute or two) until the device is available, and then interact with the device via the AWS Management Console. You can gesture, swipe, and interact with devices in real time directly through your web browser as if the device was on your desk or in your hand. This includes installing and running applications.”

Amazon S3 and Snowball, designed to increase speed of the data migration process, also received attention during the event. The AWS Import/Export Snowball was launched for customers who intend to move larger amounts of data, generally 10 terabytes or more, and has now been beefed up once again. New features for S3 make use of the AWS edge infrastructure to increase speed, and Snowball also has larger-capacity as well as now being available in four new regions.

“Many AWS customers are now using AWS Import/Export Snowball to move large amounts of data in and out of the AWS Cloud,” said Barr. “The original Snowball appliances had a capacity of 50 terabytes. Today we are launching a newer appliance with 80 terabytes of capacity.”

Amazon Kinesis, a service which enables users to manage data that is streamed into the cloud, has been updated to allow users to deploy, run, and scale Elasticsearch in the AWS Cloud, as well interaction with Amazon CloudWatch, its monitoring service.

The Cognito service allows apps to add authentication, user management, and data synchronization without having to write backend code or manage any infrastructure. The ‘Your User Pools’ feature update allows developers to build a user directory that can scale to hundreds of millions of users, to help manage the authentication process.

“Using a user pool gives you detailed control over the sign-up and sign-in aspects of your web and mobile SaaS apps, games, and so forth,” said Barr. “Building and running a directory service at scale is not easy, but is definitely undifferentiated heavy lifting, with the added security burden that comes when you are managing user names, passwords, email addresses, and other sensitive pieces of information. You don’t need to build or run your own directory service when you use Cognito Identity.”

Finally, the Elastic Beanstalk, which automatically deploys and runs apps on Amazon’s cloud infrastructure, has also been updated, by adding support for managed platform updates. Developers are now able to select a maintenance window, and the new feature will update the environment to the latest platform version automatically.

“The updates are installed using an immutable deployment model to ensure that no changes are made to the existing environment until the updated replacement instances are available and deemed healthy (according to the health check that you have configured for the application),” said Barr.