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Experts predict hottest AWS features, services for 2016

Last year AWS announced a variety of new container and serverless computing options. But what will be hot in 2016? Our experts took a look at which AWS technologies will evolve this year.

Some AWS features drew more attention than others in 2015. Customers are turning to hybrid and multicloud models in greater numbers; cloud providers need to up the ante on individual services to compete. AWS Lambda, for example, was a popular topic at AWS re:Invent 2015 as the cloud provider rolled out a variety of features to correspond to the rising demand of serverless computing.

As we turn the page to 2016, a slew of new AWS features and services are bound to crop up. What will the big hits be this year? We asked our experts to answer a couple questions on what to expect from AWS in 2016.

1. What technologies or services will AWS focus on most in 2016?

2. What will be hot AWS technologies among users?

Brian Tarbox

Brian Tarbox, SearchAWS expert contributorBrian Tarbox

AWS' features are powerful, but it can be confusing to tie them together. AWS CloudFormation, Elastic Beanstalk, containers or roll-your-own are all valid choices that sometimes cooperate, but often seem like conflicting choices.

That's why 2016 will be the year of Lambda. AWS Lambda has the possibility of becoming the standard infrastructure glue. Amazon API Gateway with Lambda and Amazon RDS could easily become the new de facto stack. Look to see AWS Lambda integrate with even more services and for Lambda libraries to be written in the vast array of Java virtual machine languages -- such as JRuby, Scala, Groovy, Clojure, among others. We may also see integration of Lambda with the developer tools AWS CodeCommit, CodeDeploy and CodePipeline, along with a Lambda marketplace.

David Linthicum

In 2016 we will see a shift from which Amazon cloud services will be used, to how they are used. Cloud management, governance and security will be the hot problems that AWS will continue to solve.

David Linthicum, SearchAWS expert contributorDavid Linthicum

This means we'll see a large number of cloud management services that AWS will build and deploy, or it might look to partner with key technology providers. This will include managed services providers, security technology providers as well as management and monitoring tools vendors. Cloud management platform players will also focus on AWS working and playing well with other public clouds.

Venture capitalists will follow these trends, and we'll see hundreds more startups launch with supporting technology for AWS. This will become a focus by itself, and we'll expand services and technologies in the emerging category of CloudOps -- the operational side of cloud systems, which includes maintaining performance and limiting cost.

Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan, SearchAWS expert contributorDan Sullivan

AWS will emphasize the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data services, but also make headway in infosec. On the IoT side, AWS IoT will come out of beta. It will streamline use of Amazon Kinesis and DynamoDB. IoT tools and services will also influence how we process big data. We'll move beyond AWS Lambda architecture -- with its real-time and batch hybrid model -- to an all-processing-is-streaming model, also known as a Kappa architecture.

Big data services will center on Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR). Apache Spark will dominate new big data analysis platforms, especially for machine learning applications. Amazon Aurora will build momentum as the scalable alternative to Oracle for relational database needs. AWS will continue to put pressure on infosec partners by improving AWS Web Application Firewall, configuration management services and possibly release a vulnerability scanning service.

Kurt Marko

Kurt Marko, SearchAWS expert contributorKurt Marko

Like its parent company, Amazon, AWS seeks to serve every need, so its focus will be on winning customers -- not on any particular technology. However, some themes seem clear -- tighter integration with enterprise IT infrastructure, whether this includes security, authentication, authorization, access control, as well as network configuration and policy or application management. Andy Jassy's re:Invent keynote was telling, as he said most successful hybrid cloud implementations involve AWS.

Two other areas where I expect significant enhancements are data analytics and machine/deep learning. For data analytics, look for AWS to make it easier to ingest and preprocess data from legacy IT databases and third-party data sources. AWS might do this by enhancing the features and usability of AWS Data Pipeline and EMR.

I also expect to see better data analysis and visualization services along the lines of Microsoft Power BI. Improvements to machine learning will come on two fronts: enhancements to the Amazon Machine Learning service and new Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance types featuring new NVIDIA GPUs with M40 or next-generation Pascal processors and perhaps even custom, FPGA-based accelerators, all delivered as an On-Demand EC2 instance.

Alan Earls

Alan Earls, SearchAWS expert contributorAlan Earls

AWS has always had a strong appeal to companies adding new IT functions as well as to those with widely distributed needs. In 2016 and beyond, this will become increasingly appealing to those operating in IoT, especially the Industrial Internet of Things. AWS represents a solid and secure infrastructure option for linking masses of sensors and linking data to analytics cost effectively.

At AWS re:Invent in 2015, the cloud provider announced AWS IoT, a new platform to connect everything from cars to turbines to light bulbs directly to other AWS features. AWS IoT also offers a software development kit for those interested in using the service.

Chris Moyer

Chris Moyer, SearchAWS expert contributorChris Moyer

We started to see some foreshadowing when Amazon announced AWS IoT. This is a rapidly evolving new frontier, and we should see a huge focus in this technology going forward. AWS core services -- compute, networking and storage -- are pretty much tapped out, and we have a lot of tools for developers to build applications on traditional platforms. But integrating with IoT devices is still difficult for most developers. I expect to see a strong focus on this in 2016, and we should see IoT and AWS Lambda-type services being the new normal soon.

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