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AWS CEO Andy Jassy

Amazon Web Services trotted out a host of new features Wednesday for its industry-leading public cloud service, and couldn’t resist taking a veiled shot at its legacy IT competitors.

All in all, Amazon made 13 separate announcements, many of which involved releasing previously announced capabilities — such as the ability to target super-fast FPGA (field-programmable gate array) chips — to customers after a preview period. Amazon is also ready to let general customers tap into the technology that allows Alexa to identify and process voice commands in their own applications and services, and it added an image recognition tool based on machine learning to its Rekognition image analysis service.

But there were a few brand-new services introduced by Amazon CTO Werner Vogels at the AWS Summit event in San Francisco:

— SaaS Contracts will let Amazon customers like Box charge their own customers on a multiyear contract basis, rather than as a simple subscription.

— AWS CodeStar is a developer tool that will allow users to take advantage of templates and other tools to get simple apps up and running on AWS without having to build them on in-house tools and then make the transfer.

— AWS customers running DynamoDB databases can now sign up for a public preview of Amazon DynamoDB Accelerator, which promises to speed up read-intensive database queries.

— Amazon Redshift Spectrum is available right away, and will let Redshift users access data stored on Amazon’s S3 storage product.

“The database space over the last few decades has been a lonely place for customers,” said AWS CEO Andy Jassy during a friendly chat with AWS Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Ariel Kelman later in the day. Without naming names (although, come on, ten bucks says he was talking about Oracle) Jassy went on to decry the “lock in” mentality of the older database companies and promised attendees that AWS wouldn’t hit customers with a hard sell on a new multiyear contract right at the end of the quarter, under pressure to make its numbers.

Jassy also declared “of all the buzzwords everybody has talked about, the one that has delivered fastest on its promises is IoT and connected devices.” The impact of this development, in which computing is beginning to move away from the heart of the datacenter and more onto the edge of the network, promises to change the way cloud services are delivered over the next decade.

[Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the image moderation feature of Rekognition is a newly announced feature.]

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