Over the last few years, the suite of AWS products has grown from a couple of services to over a hundred and thirty, and this number is continually increasing. Currently, you can choose from a large variety of different product groups, including compute, database, storage, analytics, machine learning, and many more.
Only during the last re:Invent conference, AWS announced over 60 new products and enhancements. Some of them are public, while others are in a preview phase, which means you can sign up and get limited access to these services for evaluation purposes. Such services are released in the so-called beta-regions, and your access to them can be suspended or terminated at any time and for any reason. To be allowed to use a service in the preview phase, you are obliged to provide AWS with any information related to your access when requested. This includes information on service performance, functionality, and features.
As we are writing this article, several AWS services and features are available in the preview mode. We have chosen five that we believe are the hottest and the most worthwhile.
Meet the great 5!
1. Amazon Transcribe
Continuous development of machine learning mechanisms and algorithms made it possible for the natural language processing to develop. AWS already provides multiple language processing products that use machine learning.
You must have heard about Amazon Polly, which enables you to turn text into lifelike speech. It is already a quite advanced service.
However, you might wonder if there is any mechanism working in the opposite direction, i.e., turning speech into text. The answer is yes! Let me introduce you to Amazon Transcribe.
Enhance your apps with speech-to-text
Amazon Transcribe is an automatic speech recognition service that you may use to add the speech-to-text capability to your applications. It works for video and audio alike and has been specially designed to provide high accuracy when working with low-quality telephony audio.
An unquestionable advantage of the service is that Transcribe uses deep learning to add punctuation and formatting to the transcribed text. As a result, it does not print a wall of text, but it produces a much more reader-friendly output.
Currently, only US English and Spanish languages are supported, but support for more languages will be coming soon, together with custom vocabulary and multiple speakers recognition.
If you wish to evaluate Amazon Transcribe, you can sign up for the preview here: https://pages.awscloud.com/amazon-transcribe-preview.html.
2. Amazon Translate
Number two is another machine learning product provided by AWS as a preview. It’s a neural machine translation service that delivers language translations. Let’s break this definition down.
What does neural machine translation actually mean? It is a process that uses machine learning and deep learning models to provide a much more accurate and more natural translation than traditional statistical and rule-based translation algorithms. That is, at least, according to AWS.
Amazon claims that Translate is the only service that offers 100% neural machine translation for all supported languages. During the preview phase, six languages are supported to translate to and from English: Arabic, Simplified Chinese, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. More languages will be added when the service becomes widely available.
Do real-time translations on demand
What can you use Amazon Translate for? For instance, you can create on-demand translations of user-generated content, such as dynamically generated web pages, or add real-time translations to your communication applications.
And what about combining Amazon Translate with Amazon Transcribe? Would you like to publish videos with automatically generated subtitles for your non-English speaking viewers? Now it should be easy. Just imagine what other possibilities these tools can offer when combined!
You can sign up for the Amazon Translate preview here: https://pages.awscloud.com/amazon-translate-preview.html.
3. Amazon EKS
Recently, the containerization hype has been sweeping across the tech industry. Almost everyone uses containers or at least has heard about the technology. If you belong to this group, you are probably familiar with Kubernetes. It is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications.
Run Kubernetes in AWS
Amazon EKS stands for Elastic Container Services for Kubernetes, and it is a managed service that makes it easy to run Kubernetes in AWS. What it means is that AWS takes all the administration overhead off your shoulders; you don’t need to install and operate Kubernetes clusters on your own.
Apart from being fully-managed, Amazon EKS is highly-available, secure, and fully compatible with Kubernetes community tools. It can integrate with many AWS services, including Elastic Load Balancing, IAM, VPC, PrivateLink, and CloudTrail. What’s more, you can move standard Kubernetes applications to EKS without any code modifications.
While EKS is in a preview phase, you can sign up for evaluation here: https://pages.awscloud.com/amazon-eks-preview.html.
4. Aurora Serverless
You must have heard about Aurora, the MySQL and PostgreSQL compatible relational database built by Amazo especially for the cloud. It offers high performance, scalability, durability and high availability. And now it is going serverless, which means it will be more cost-efficient than ever and will relieve you of the entire administrative burden. There’s no other word for that but: Wow!
Run your database in the cloud
Aurora Serverless will be a perfect solution for infrequent, intermittent, or unpredictable workloads. It starts up automatically, shuts down when not in use, and scales capacity to match an application’s usage. You no longer have to launch a database server that is larger and much more powerful than what you require.
Aurora will seamlessly scale compute and memory capacity as needed, with no disruption to client connections. The migration between standard and serverless configurations will be available with several clicks. And here’s the icing on the cake: you will pay on a per-second basis and only for the database resources you consume when the database is active.
Only MySQL-compatible edition is available for preview, and you can sign up for it here: https://pages.awscloud.com/amazon-aurora-serverless-preview.html.
5. Amazon Neptune
Finally, time for the MVP of this rank. Meet Amazon Neptune.
We’re planning a detailed article about Neptune, so we aren’t going to give away all the secrets in this post, but here’s a short overview of the service.
Amazon Neptune is a fast and reliable graph database built for the cloud, and it is the very first service of this kind in the AWS portfolio. The purpose of graph databases is to store and navigate relationships. With Amazon Neptune, you can build and run applications that work with highly-connected datasets. Have a look:
Because such database is aware of relationships and interactions between objects, it is perfect for social networking applications, recommendation engines, fraud detections, knowledge graphs, life sciences or network, and IT operations.
Store and process relationships and query complex networks
For instance, you can use Neptune to store a graph of your network and run graph queries to find answers to concrete questions, like: ‘How did a detected anomaly affect your network?’ and ‘When did the possible infection start?’.
Neptune’s high-performance engine can store billions of relationships and query a graph with a latency of a few milliseconds. It is also fully-managed so, again, you don’t have to worry about database management tasks. It also provides high availability with read-replicas, point-in-time recovery, continuous backup and replication across availability zones.
You can sign-up for preview here: https://pages.awscloud.com/NeptunePreview.html.
Would you like to explore more?
We have only covered five products in the preview phase, which we believe are the most exciting. However, there are quite a few more that you may find interesting. In particular, we recommend checking out AWS IoT 1-Click or AWS S3 Select and Glacier Select.
From our perspective, Amazon Neptune seems to be most promising, as it is the first service to enable graph database engine to Amazon customers. Such a database and the ability to search data according to relations between objects offer a lot of new possibilities. This is the reason why we decided to dedicate a separate article to Amazon Neptune and graph databases. Be sure not to miss it!
And if you want to keep track of the latest AWS news, check the What’s New with AWS webpage: https://aws.amazon.com/new/, and have fun with your selected AWS preview services. Until the next time!