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The AWS re:Invent 2013 experience

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Amazon.com unveils new tools for AWS developers and customers

At the sold-out Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent 2013 conference in Las Vegas, Amazon.com announced new services for AWS developers and customers.

LAS VEGAS -- While the debut of Amazon's new Desktop as a Service offering stole the show at the AWS' re:Invent 2013 conference in Las Vegas this week, the company unveiled new or updated versions of other services, as well.

The new services come on top of the 243 Amazon Web Services (AWS) updates created so far in 2013, Amazon.com  Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels told more than 9,000 AWS re:Invent attendees, adding that the company expects to make more "really, really major changes" by the end of the year.

In addition to announcing preview ability of Amazon WorkSpaces, a cloud-based virtual desktop infrastructure service, AWS announced:

Amazon AppStream, a new service that lets AWS developers stream "resource-intensive" applications, such as 3-D games or high-definition content, from the cloud. Although the content is rendered in the cloud, end users still receive what AWS described as "a responsive, fluid and high-definition experience" on their devices.

AppStream will allow AWS developers to create sophisticated, cloud-based content that users can access on a range of mass-market devices.

Developers can stream entire applications or just the portions of their apps that require additional cloud resources, Andy Jassy, the Amazon.com senior vice president who oversees AWS, said during re:Invent. "It allows you to build whatever the app is that you want to stream," he said. "You stream it from the cloud in AppStream to any device, and it appears to end users like it is streaming right to the mobile device -- the quality is that high."

AWS officials said AppStream resolves a perennial developer headache: dealing with the hardware limitations of many tablets, phones and lightweight laptops. Many such devices lack the power, processing capability and memory needed for some sophisticated apps and games, meaning users need high-powered computers or game consoles to access them. AppStream will allow AWS developers to create high-end, cloud-based content that users can access on a range of mass-market devices.

AppStream also allows developers to write all or part of their code once, to make changes on the fly, and to render them to many devices, saving the time and cost involved with rewriting the code for multiple devices.

Amazon AppStream is available in limited preview on the new Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud G2 instance, which Amazon said provides AWS developers with extensive processing power. The company said it will make AppStream available in more regions and instances over the next several months.

Amazon Kinesis, which the company described as a new "fully managed service for real-time processing of high-volume streaming data." The company said Kinesis will simplify the process of writing apps that act on real-time data -- for instance, website click streams, financial transactions, operating logs, social media feeds and metering data, among other information.

Kinesis-fueled apps can generate alerts, power rapidly changing prices, or send data to other big data services, including Amazon Simple Storage Service, Amazon Elastic Map Reduce or Amazon RedShift. The service is replicated across multiple Amazon availability zones to help ensure consistent availability, Vogels said. In addition, Kinesis integrates with other third-party products -- a bonus for developers looking to use their favorite methods of data processing, including open source options.

Amazon Kinesis is available in limited preview, the company said.

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) for PostgreSQL, the open source database. The company said the new service manages PostgreSQL installation and upgrades, storage management and backups for disaster recovery, among other administrative tasks. Customers can quickly provision a PostgreSQL database with 5 GB of storage -- then scale up to as much as 3 TB without any downtime, the company said.

Customers have been asking for such functionality for more than a year, Vogels said in announcing the new service.

PostgreSQL is Amazon's fourth database engine for Amazon RDS, which also supports MySQL, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. "As mobile, Web, social and geospatial applications proliferate, we have seen a steady demand for PostgreSQL as a managed service," Raju Gulabani, AWS vice president of database services, said in announcing the new offering.

Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL is available in all AWS regions worldwide.

AWS wasn't the only company unveiling new or upgraded offerings at re:Invent. Other companies ranging from Afore Solutions to Xplenty announced new services during the show.

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Essential Guide

The AWS re:Invent 2013 experience
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