Top 3 Updates from AWS re:Invent 2014

Top 3 Updates from AWS re:Invent 2014

Amazon had some great news at AWS re:Invent 2014 in Vegas—and we were there to hear it.

Most of the announcements were geared toward enterprises and developers: AWS Key Management Service for creating and managing encryption keys, AWS CodeDeploy for automating code deployments to Amazon EC2 instances, new Amazon EC2 C4 instances, and more. But three updates stood out for us more than the rest: Amazon Aurora, AWS Lambda, and the Amazon EC2 Container Service.

1. Amazon Aurora: Kickass New Relational Database

Just when everyone is talking about NoSQL and Apache Hadoop, Amazon surprises us with a new RDBMS called Aurora, meaning “the dawn.”

Why do we need another RDBMS? Isn’t the market already saturated with them? Good question. The answer is that Amazon built a relational database that’s fully compatible with MySQL yet runs six times faster (six million inserts per minute, 30 million selects per minute). Just like other AWS services, it’s highly durable and fault tolerant, scalable, and secure.

Yes, this presents quite the competition for Oracle’s MySQL. Aurora has much better performance with full MySQL compatibility, so why not migrate all the data over to Aurora? The catch is that it currently only runs on the Amazon RDS. However, we believe that, in time, Amazon will want to get the community behind it and release it as an open-source project.

Xplenty is also joining the party with Amazon Aurora integration. You can import/export and process data from Aurora easily.

2. AWS Lambda: Event-Driven Development on the Cloud

Servers and instances are so passé. These days, you can run code that’s triggered by AWS events without any servers at all—thanks to the newly announced AWS Lambda.

For example, your users could upload new images via iPhone apps to Amazon S3, and your AWS Lambda function could process these images immediately—without a server. Processing streams are also available via triggers for Amazon Kinesis and DynamoDB.

At the moment, AWS Lambda is written in JavaScript. It can run thousands of functions in parallel and save a lot of money since it doesn’t require any infrastructure and comes at pretty cheap rates. There is even a free tier of 1 million requests per month to take it for a test drive.

Xplenty is also planning to support AWS Lambda. Our users will be able to go beyond date-time scheduling and use events to process data automatically with Xplenty. On the flip side, Xplenty will also be able to generate AWS Lambda events for you to use.

3. Amazon EC2 Container Service: Docker Container Support

Not to be confused with the khaki pants, Docker is an open platform for distributed applications. Basically, a Docker lets you package a whole application—including libraries, run-times, and everything—in a standard format. This format can then be put in containers that can be easily moved and executed on different platforms.

The Amazon EC2 Container Service allows you to run these containers easily on a cluster of Amazon EC2 instances. AEC2CS, in short, can start/stop container-enabled applications with simple API calls. Most of all, it allows you to load balance containers on a cluster of EC2 instances. Yep, that’s application load balancing made easy.

Xplenty already uses Docker, and we really support this philosophy. We’re also looking into how to utilize the Amazon EC2 Container Service to improve our own services.


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