Amazon Web Services (AWS) this week made a few product announcements on the heels of its quarterly results. The cloud provider launched general availability of its fully managed blockchain service and made updates to Snowball Edge, its compute and storage device.
Amazon last week reported the first quarter earnings results for AWS. The cloud business generated nearly $7.7 billion in revenues during the quarter, which was a 41% increase compared to the first quarter of 2018. AWS also expanded its cloud prowess into China with the launch of a data center region in Hong Kong, its eighth data center region in the Asia-Pacific market.
AWS has been easing its way into the blockchain market for some time. In December 2017, the cloud provider launched a portal to support the integration of blockchain services built on AWS for its customers.
At that time AWS CEO Andy Jassy said that the company wasn’t planning its own blockchain-based service, something that a number of its cloud competitors — namely IBM, Microsoft, Oracle — were trialing and launching at the time. Google Cloud has also since started work on its own blockchain.
The provider debuted the managed blockchain service in November 2018 at its re:Invent conference. Now, it has released this service to the public for general availability.
At that time, Jassy told journalists that the blockchain service would solve two main problems for its customers. The first was the creation of a ledger (or an unalterable digital record) to track an enterprise’s supply chain. And the second was solving the complications of transacting as peers with a decentralized framework instead of a centralized one.
The managed blockchain service will help customers build scalable blockchain networks based on existing blockchain frameworks, according to AWS. Currently, the service is available with the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger open source blockchain framework, with services for Ethereum, another open source blockchain computing platform.
Once a network is built, customers can begin to deploy blockchain-based applications. And according to the company, the blockchain service will support thousands of applications running millions of transactions.
The service can span multiple AWS accounts and will configure the necessary software, security, and network settings. It also offers a number of tie-ins with additional AWS services including AWS Key Management Service for secure certificate storage and Amazon’s fully managed OpenStack Ledger Database.
AWS Snowball Edge
The cloud provider also launched block storage on its Snowball Edge device to provide persistent storage volumes for use with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances running on Snowball Edge.
Snowball Edge is the AWS’ ruggedized device for data transfer, edge computing, and storage. It enables users to migrate data and run applications for insights in locations where there is no network connectivity. The company first launched the device in 2016.
According to a blog post written by Wayne Duso, AWS general manager, the company built this new block storage on the device because “customers have told us that they want to deploy applications developed on AWS to disconnected and physically harsh locations using instance computing and block storage. Deploying these applications to these edge locations enables customers to process locally created or ingested data in real-time for in-field analysis and automated decision making using the same resources and methods they use in the cloud.”
So, with the addition of block storage, users can deploy EC2 Amazon Machine Image-based applications, which provide the information required to launch an instance on applications requiring more than one block storage volumes.
This is just the latest in a round of updates to the edge device. In July 2018, AWS added EC2 data processing, which enables the device to function as a mobile data center. And then in November it added a compute optimized device to give it double the computing power and the ability to add a GPU for machine learning (ML) interfacing and other compute intensive work. It also partnered with Druva at the time to offer Druva Cloud Platform on the edge device.