AWS Launches Data Analytics Service QuickSight and Other New Products

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Inc. announced Wednesday a host of new products and services including QuickSight, the company’s first venture into cloud-based business intelligence.
Andy Jassy (senior vice president of AWS), made the announcements during Day 1 of the AWS reInvent conference in Las Vegas.
Jassy estimates that AWS has more than 1 million users and a $7 billion market. The second quarter saw an 81 percent increase in year-over-year AWS growth. The company’s database services account for $1 billion, growing at 127 percent annually. Jassy stated that the company plans to expand its cloud footprint and will add two additional datacenter regions to its current 11-strong roster.
AWS intends to expand its business through other means, according to Jassy’s product announcements during the keynote.
QuickSight: Cloud-Based Business Intelligence
Jassy revealed Amazon QuickSight, a new data analytics tool that allows users to visualize and interact with data. The preview is available starting Wednesday. QuickSight allows users to organize, visualize, interact and share data from different AWS sources. This service aims to reduce the time and costs of traditional on-premises BI tools to create reports. Jassy stated that users can create their first “visualization” in just 60 seconds and at a fraction of the cost of traditional BI software.
It includes pre-built data visualization templates, sharing and collaboration with other users, as well as native mobile apps for iOS or Android. QuickSight utilizes a “superfast parallel in-memory computing engine” (SPICE), which partners can also use to enhance their BI offerings.
The company stated that Amazon QuickSight gives partners an interface that looks like SQL to query the SPICE data. This allows customers to continue using existing BI tools from AWS, BI Partners while still benefiting from the faster performance of SPICE.
Firehose and Snowball: Faster Data Transfers To AWS
Next, Jassy revealed two new data transfer products that are now generally available. Amazon Kinesis Firehose allows organizations to load streaming data into AWS using a single API. The current data transfer options are Amazon S3 and Amazon Redshift. However, Jassy stated that the service will soon be expanded to include other data stores.
AWS Snowball is another product that allows organizations to use a briefcase to physically transfer large amounts to AWS. This can be a time-consuming process that could take several days or even months if done over the internet. Organizations can order Snowball appliances through their AWS Management console. Jassy stated that the appliances, which are available in 50TB capacities, have “tamper-proof”, built-in cabling and digital shipping labels to reduce the chance of shipping errors.
Database Tools
Jassy revealed three new database services and enhancements. As of Wednesday, MariaDB is now supported by the Amazon relational database (RDS). The company released a press release stating that users can now “deploy MariaDB databases with just a few clicks in AWS Management Console, and Amazon RDS handles all administrative tasks related to managing a database including software installation, storage management and replication for high-availability and back-ups in case of disaster recovery.”
Second, the AWS Database Migration Service preview is now available. This service is designed to allow organizations to migrate their databases to AWS quickly and without any downtime.
The AWS Schema Conversion Tool, which is available free of charge, is third. The Schema Conversion Tool is used in conjunction with the Database Migration Service. It “ports stored procedures and database schemas from one platform to another so customers can move their applications to Amazon Aurora, MyAWS, and SQL Server.