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Werner Vogels, Amazon Web Services chief technology officer, in New York this morning. (Photo: Amazon)
Werner Vogels, Amazon Web Services’s chief technology officer, this morning announced a new application load balancer as part of the company’s Elastic Load Balancer Service — just one of numerous product announcements during his keynote speech at the AWS Summit in New York City.

“This has been an amazing ride,” Vogels said of AWS’s meteoric growth over its 10 years. “If cloud was just the next step after mainframe, mini, client-server and then web, it would not have gotten this big. Why did we take this very different economic model? We’d been on the receiving end of having to acquire large IT infrastructure ourselves. And we hated it.”

Speaking to a crowd he said numbered as many as 10,000, Vogels also announced 47-percent price cuts for “snapshots” — quick back-ups — of data stored in Elastic Block Store. And he said the number of IOPS (input-output operations per second, a common database metric)  per GiB of EBS solid-state disk storage can now be increased to 50, from 30. This change allows a small EBS volume running at maximum IOPS to offer the same performance as larger volume running at a lower rate. A GiB, or gibibyte, reflects the binary (more accurate) capacity of 1.074 GB (gigabytes).

The new load balancer, which drew applause from the crowd, runs at OSI Layer 7, as did an older load balancer (now renamed “Classic”). But it adds new features, including access to HTTP headers for routing requests to different services, support for containers, the provision of new metrics including overall traffic in GB and support for the WebSocket and HTTP/2 protocols. The new load balancer is important because it eases the use of microservices, considered by some to be the most advanced stage in cloud computing. Using microservices involves breaking down the procedures used in a software routine into their smallest discrete parts, allowing more flexibility and interchangeability.

In other product news from AWS:

  • The new Kinesis Analytics is a service that continuously queries streaming data using standard SQL. It’s designed to help extract insights from such streaming sources as sensors and website clickstreams that experience tens of millions of events per hour. Kinesis Analytics provisions, deploys and scales the resources required to run queries and deliver processed results to other services, including Simple Storage Service, Redshift, and Elasticsearch, AWS said. This blog post explains the service in greater detail.
  • AWS’s Snowball — the high-capacity data-transfer device that must be one of the few, lonely pieces of IT hardware anywhere receiving any positive attention these days — got some upgrades, including an API that lets customers make it part of existing backup or data-transfer plans and not just usable for one-off transfers.
  • Objects in AWS’s Simple Storage Services are now addressable under IPv6, allowing for the storage of a nearly infinite number of devices connected to the internet, each with its own IP address — an essential for the Internet of Things.
  • AWS is now offering tiered usage plans regulating and monetizing developers’ access to APIs that customers have created to their services.
  • “Bring Your Own Key,” a stringent security measure, is now available.

In his 1.5-hour talk, Vogels also discussed what some major AWS customers are doing with the service. General Electric, which Vogels said is the only company remaining among the original Standard & Poors 500, is moving more than 9,000 workloads to AWS and plans to close 30 of its 44 data centers. “It’s adapting, continually transforming itself,” he said.

He said AWS plans to launch four new regions: a second region in China; a second on the east coast of the U.S., in Ohio: one in Montreal; and one in London. The company now has 13 regions, with 35 availability zones.

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