AWS unveils New Services at San Francisco Summit

Amazon Web Services (AWS), made a flurry product announcements Wednesday at its AWS Summit in San Francisco.
The keynote presentation was given by Werner Vogels (Amazon.com’s Chief Technology Officer), who announced a host of new services that are currently in preview and will be made generally available. These services are:
SaaS Contracts for AWS Marketplace
Five months after launching Software as a Service (SaaS), subscriptions on its marketplace. AWS announced Wednesday that a new feature, which allows customers to make changes to their SaaS subscriptions in real time, is now available.
SaaS Contracts allows users to extend their monthly contracts for as long as they need. Users can choose from one, two, or three-year terms. SaaS Contracts allows independent software vendors (ISVs), who sell on the AWS Marketplace to expand the number of billing and payment options they can offer customers. Vogels stated that currently there are 20 ISVs who take advantage of the SaaS Contracts option.
AWS CodeStar
CodeStar, an integrated AWS development environment, is also available. Vogels stated that this new service is designed for developers to quickly build and deploy apps on AWS using quick-start templates. It also includes features that allow them to manage team access and delivery pipelines.
“With AWS CodeStar, developers can create an agile software development workflow that not only speeds up the speed at which teams deploy software and fixes bugs but also allows developers to build software that is more in line with customers’ needs and requests,” Tara Walker, AWS technical evangelist, stated in a blog post about the launch.
F1 Instances with FPGAs
The new F1 instance family has been available in preview since November’s AWS conference re:Invent conference. According to the company, F1 is a compute instance with field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), which you can program to create custom hardware accelerations to your application.
Vogels gives examples of work that are suitable for the F1 instance family. These include genomics research and financial analytics.
There are currently two F1 instance size options. The f1.2xlarge supports one FPGA card, eight virtual CPUs, and 122GB memory. The f1.16xlarge has eight FPGAs with support for 64 virtual processors and 976GB memory.
DynamoDB Accelerator
The Amazon DynamoDB Accelerator (or DAX) is now available in preview. Vogels described it as an in-memory cache which can deliver query responses 10x faster than DynamoDB. Vogels claims that DAX can process millions upon millions of requests per second, with response times of less than a microsecond.
AWS has announced DAX as an extension of DynamoDB. It’s perfect for complex workloads that need real-time data access.
AWS stated in a press release that customers don’t have to rewrite DynamoDB applications to get DAX. They simply need to provision a DAX cluster and point their application at the DAX endpoint. DAX automatically caches query results and item data in-memory on DAX instances they have designated.
Redshift Spectrum
Customers can now extend Amazon Redshift queries on their Amazon S3 data with a new service.
According to AWS’ press release, “With Redshift Spectrum customers can extend the analytic powers of Amazon Redshift beyond data stored locally in their data warehouse to query vast quantities of unstructured data within their Amazon S3 data lake — without having to load any data or transform it.”
Vogels spoke highly of Redshift Spectrum’s speed, stating that the service can process complex queries which would normally take years to resolve in just seconds.
PostgreSQL-Compatible Aurora
Since November, AWS has been testing Amazon Aurora’s compatibility to PostgreSQL privately. W