AWS Smooths Developers' Path To Cloud, Enterprise To Follow? - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Data Management // Big Data Analytics
News
12/6/2016
07:00 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

AWS Smooths Developers' Path To Cloud, Enterprise To Follow?

Amazon Web Services is filling the gaps in its software development/deployment process in a bid to attract enterprise developers.

Amazon Web Services, when it started out 10 years ago, seemed to be talking another language: Follow our restrictive conventions for using remote infrastructure and be among those to get the advantages of cloud computing.

Now Amazon is talking a new language, the language of enabling whatever infrastructure IT wants. AWS is starting to offer IT developers an unbroken chain of application development services, including sophisticated container deployments in the final stage of development. Heretofore, it's had spot tools for code headed to the cloud. Now it's trying to fill in the gaps with such tools as CodeBuild and OpsWorks for Chef Automate – tools that allow a team to write and deploy code in a seamless fashion in the cloud.

And, as it finds developers adopting these tools, it is following up with a growing catalogue of application services that are likely to find their way into next generation of cloud-based systems, such things as a voice-activated interface for end users issuing commands or a tool for conversion of text to speech as a way for the enterprise to interact with customers.

For example, Amazon Polly can translate text submitted as a stream to it into a rough equivalent of conversational English. It uses context processing to ascertain the intent of the writer and avoid awkward, incorrect and machine-witless word usage that makes the text sound unintelligible, as previous translation systems often did.

Want to see why a major Wall Street regulator moved to AWS? See FINRA Commits Mission-Critical App To Amazon Cloud.

Amazon Rekognition can inspect images and catalogue their contents. It can assess the apparent mood or "sentiments" of the people pictured in them. Such a system could help retail establishments recognize customers as they come through the door, or as one banking IT manager suggested, a con man using a false ID to impersonate a customer.

Amazon Lex is the core speech recognition system from Amazon's highly successful Echo tower and Echo Button home appliances. The Alexa voice recognition responds to queries from the human voice with the ability to place an order on Amazon.com, order an Uber ride, or go to the right Web destination and extract information.

These services might be added to a next generation application being developed by an IT project team already using the EC2 cloud. In the past, such a team would have set up a build server to manage changes in  the team's code base and compile and merge additions and changes. That would have been the customer invoking a server in basic AWS infrastructure and managing it themselves. Now AWS is offering CodeBuild as "a fully managed service."

AWS' Werner Vogels

AWS' Werner Vogels

Instead of just providing infrastructure, AWS allows a development team to send its raw source code to the service where it is subjected to unit tests and merged into the previously existing code. The team pays a fee per hour of service use, but when the build is done, the service is shut off until the next time it's needed.

Likewise, AWS added OpsWorks for Chef Automate. An IT operations team has to take a new application and configure it to work with its dependencies in the optimized fashion in which it wants it to run. Operations would normally maintain a 24-hour a day Chef server, "and work to keep it updated with the right version of Chef and keep it running," said AWS CTO Werner Vogels in a Dec. 1 keynote. Instead, he offered OpsWorks for Chef Automate as another "fully managed service."

Indeed, the slogan of Amazon.com, the parent company, has been "the world's most customer-concentric company." Now AWS has adopted it as well, with the slight medication: "the world most IT customer-concentric company." Once enterprise development teams get used to using these fully managed services, it's hard to see how they are going to go back to managing servers on their own. It's part of AWS' strategy to reduce the 80% of time that experts gauge development teams put into establishing what they need to work with and instead to shift more of that effort into developing new code.

In an age in which "software is eating the world," in venture capitalist Marc Andreesen's phrase, producing more software is part of what keeps your company on top. Amazon is providing as convenient an environment for doing so as it can. For example, it's added Microsoft C# to the languages that can be used for developing functions that will be invoked by the Amazon Lambda event management service.

Developers who've adopted use of Docker containers likewise were given the option of using the existing Amazon EC2 Container Service, which allows an IT manager to start or stop a container-based application on EC2. It automatically provides the cluster for it, manages the cluster with Elastic Load Balancing and responds to questions on the state of the cluster's health. It can also give it the Elastic Block Store volumes that it needs and assign it Identity Access Management service based on user roles.

It's an example of the "deep integration" that Amazon is trying to provide between developer needs and EC2 services, Vogels said during his Dec. 1 keynote.

More sophisticated services are being added to the developer services. Amazon Pinpoint enables targeted marketing campaigns aimed at mobile users based on the understanding of their behavior that Pinpoint has been able to gain. Existing users of Amazon Mobile Hub and the Mobile software development kit can extract user behavior data from those services for use in a Pinpoint marketing campaign. Pinpoint became generally available Dec. 1.

Vogels pointed to such customers as Netflix, Trainline.com, Mapbox, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and Capital One as indicators of how companies build their future with data and development in the cloud.

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
12/6/2016 | 8:34:12 PM
AWS sees the developer crunch coming too
A Cloud Foundry study says we're headed for a developer shortage. I'd suggest it's a shortage of developers conversant in cloud-native applications. John Rymer says its a shortage of all developers, including Java and C# developers. See @johnrrymer, @sramji, @babcockcw for the exchange. John R. Rymer is the Forrester software analyst. Sam Ramji is the CEO of Cloud Foundry. And as this story tries to make clear, AWS sees a shortage coming and wants to make it as easy to develop software in the cloud as possible.
Commentary
AI & Machine Learning: An Enterprise Guide
James M. Connolly, Executive Managing Editor, InformationWeekEditor in Chief,  9/27/2018
Commentary
How to Retain Your Best IT Workers
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  9/26/2018
Slideshows
10 Highest-Paying IT Job Skills
Cynthia Harvey, Contributor, NetworkComputing,  9/12/2018
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
The Next Generation of IT Support
The workforce is changing as businesses become global and technology erodes geographical and physical barriers.IT organizations are critical to enabling this transition and can utilize next-generation tools and strategies to provide world-class support regardless of location, platform or device
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll