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AWS Unfurls Bevy of Automation Tools to Streamline DevOps

At the AWS re:Invent conference, Amazon Web Services (AWS) added a bevy of tools to its portfolio intended to accelerate the pace of application development while simultaneously simplifying DevOps processes.

AWS development tools unveiled this week include AWS Amplify Studio, a visual development environment that allows developers to create web application user interfaces (UIs) with minimal coding.

Ken Exner, head of product for developer tools at AWS, said as an extension of an existing AWS Amplify Studio tool, this latest addition allows developers to customize application UIs at a higher level of abstraction using a library of components while enabling them to drop down to a lower level of coding to customize their application further whenever required. After the UI is designed, AWS Amplify Studio automatically generates the associated JavaScript or TypeScript code for the developer.

In general, AWS is committed to improving developer productivity by providing, for example, automated reasoning tools that automate processes without locking devs into a layer of abstraction that, ultimately, may create a wall that blocks them from meeting customization requirements, he said.

Other developer tools launched by AWS this week include updates to Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer that adds a secrets detector that uses machine learning algorithms to identify hardcoded secrets that can be secured using AWS Secrets Manager; a revamped Amazon Inspector vulnerability management tool that provides automated assessment scans, automated resource discovery, support for container-based workloads, improved risk scoring, integration with Amazon EventBridge and AWS Security Hub and the removal of the stand-alone Amazon Inspector scanning agent.

AWS also revealed it has eliminated the need to manually pull images from the Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR) repositories by adding automated synchronization capabilities that keep private and public registries consistent with each other.

In terms of IT operations tools, AWS added a managed database service to its Amazon Relational Database Service portfolio that allows IT teams to customize the underlying database and operating system using an RDS Custom option, a new table class for Amazon DynamoDB designed to reduce storage costs for infrequently accessed data and a service for RDS, dubbed Amazon DevOps Guru, that extends existing machine learning capabilities to automatically detect and diagnose performance bottlenecks and operational database issues.

Jeff Carter, vice president for relational databases at AWS, said that as databases are increasingly managed by DevOps teams rather than traditional database administrators (DBAs), the cloud service provider is moving to reduce friction by automating as many manual tasks as possible. That’s critical at a time when IT teams are deploying a much wider range of purpose-built databases that are optimized for different classes of applications, he added. The overall goal is to rely more on automation to reduce friction across the IT environment, said Carter.

Overall, there are two classes of AWS customers: The first are development teams that are increasingly relying on managed services provided by AWS to automate a wide range of DevOps processes. The second tend to be enterprise IT organizations that prefer to manage cloud services themselves.

Mitch Ashley, a principal for Techstrong Research, an arm of the parent company of DevOps.com, noted that, in many cases, enterprise IT teams are managing DevOps workflows that span multiple clouds. As such, they tend to prefer tools and platforms that can be applied to both multiple clouds and on-premises IT environments. The more those organizations rely on managed services provided by a cloud service provider the more difficult it becomes to consistently manage DevOps workflows across multiple IT environments.

It’s too early to say just how much IT organizations will rely on managed services going forward. However, at a time when more organizations are using more IT platforms than ever, it’s clear the DevOps management challenge increases with each new platform introduced into the IT environment.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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