Categories: CloudWorkspace

AWS Launches QuickSight Analytics Tool And Snowball Physical Storage Appliance

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing division of, has announced a raft of products that include a physical big data box, a business intelligence tool, and new ways of shifting IoT data onto its services.

AWS QuickSight will help customers visualise all sorts of business data, powered by an engine called SPICE (which stands for Super-fast Parallel In-Memory Computation Engne). AWS SVP Andy Jassy said customers can start visualising data, such as sales information, within 60 seconds, and the service will go head to head with competitors’, such as IBM or Tableau, business intelligence offerings.


“As soon as we recognise an AWS customer, we take all their data, and we move it to our query engine and you can get your first visualisation in 60 seconds,” said Jassy.

AWS also wheeled out Snowball, a 47lb, 50 terabyte box that can be physically shipped by FedEx across the country, enabling customers get massive data dumps into the cloud. The Snowball box, which is tamper-proof and can survive big drops, features an e-ink screen that shows the destination and container information.

“The new Snowball appliance is purpose-built for efficient data storage and transfer. It is rugged enough to withstand a 6 G jolt, and (at 50 lbs) light enough for one person to carry,” said AWS.

“It is entirely self-contained, with 110 Volt power and a 10 GB network connection on the back and an E Ink display/control panel on the front. It is weather-resistant and serves as its own shipping container; it can go from your mail room to your data centre and back again with no packing or unpacking hassle to slow things down.”

The box will cost users $200, which includes the import/export of data. The first 10 days of usage are free, and then the box costs $15 for every day thereafter.

AWS also announced a service called Kinesis Firehose, a platform that can suck data from mobile, web, or telemetry apps into AWS.

“Take any streaming application, mobile, web, telemetry, it allows you with a single put API to load all your data into AWS. Initially you’ll be able to choose to load it into S3, or into Redshift, over time you’ll be able to load it into all data stores,” said Jassy.

Firehose, which runs on top of Kinesis, uses a single API to help customers gush data into Amazon Redshift or S3 from sensors. This move buffs up AWS’ street cred in the Internet of Things space.

The re:Invent conference comes hot on the heels of public cloud competitor Microsoft Azure’s announcements last week. Amazon will be wanting to one-up Microsoft, especially when it comes to announcing the Indian region.

Andy Jassy made the announcements in front of almost 19,000 attendees, consisting of customers, partners, analysts and those interested in using AWS in the future. “This is not a typical tech conference, this is intended to be an education conference,” he said.

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Ben Sullivan

Ben covers web and technology giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and their impact on the cloud computing industry, whilst also writing about data centre players and their increasing importance in Europe. He also covers future technologies such as drones, aerospace, science, and the effect of technology on the environment.

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