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re:Invent 2017 – Sumerian: AWS Helps Developers Build VR and 3-D Apps Amazon Web Services (AWS), on Monday, introduced Amazon Sumerian, a new service that allows developers to create apps using virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3-D. Sumerian, which was launched as a preview at the 2017 AWS reInvent conference in Las Vegas this Week, allows developers to create and run 3-D scenes in just minutes. It does not require any programming knowledge or advanced 3-D programming skills. Tara Walker, AWS technical evangelist, outlined some of Sumerian’s features here. They include a Web-based dashboard that guides developers through creating 3-D scenes. Sumerian currently supports FBX, OBJ and OBJ files. However, AWS plans to add Unity support to Sumerian “soon,” Walker said. Sumerian also comes with a pre-built 3-D scene background and objects. This includes a list of “hosts”, which are 3-D characters that can be customized in a variety ways such as gender, appearance, and speech. Integration with AWS’ artificial Intelligence services like Lex and Polly allows users to bring natural language capabilities into their hosts. [Click on the image to see a larger view.] Sumerian dashboard allows users to create their own 3-D “host”. (Source: AWS). Users can customize their scenes with the JavaScript scripting library and Sumerian visual editor. Walker stated that the scripting library can also be used with AWS Lambda, which allows for the full range AWS services. Users can save their scenes to the AWS cloud and have them accessible via a unique URL. The scenes can then be run on any supported virtual reality device (a compatible WebVR browser is required). Sumerian apps can be used with headsets such as the HTC Vive and Oculus, as well as Apple iOS. Support for ARCore is also planned for Android devices. More information about Sumerian, including preview signups, can be found here. More information from AWS reInvent 2017:

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re:Invent 2017 – AWS Taps Machine Learning with GuardDuty to Secure Its Cloud A new fully managed security solution from Amazon Web Services is designed to provide continuous cloud infrastructure monitoring powered through machine learning. During the Tuesday evening keynote at the AWS re-Invent conference in Las Vegas, Stephen Schmidt, AWS’ chief Information Security Officer, announced the availability of Amazon GuardDuty. Schmidt described GuardDuty to be an “intelligent threats detection service” that uses machine-learning to analyze billions upon billions of AWS events and identify potential threats. AWS evangelist Jeff Barr explained in a blog post that GuardDuty “consumes multiple streams of data, including several threat intelligence feeders, staying aware on malicious IP addresses, deviousdomains, and, more importantly, learning how to accurately identify malicious or unauthorised behavior in your AWS account.” GuardDuty scans suspicious data from AWS CloudTrail, DNS logs, and AWS VPC flow logs. It also monitors suspicious user activity, such as unusual access locations or unauthorized resource deployments. Barr stated that GuardDuty will also monitor compromised EC2 instances, including instances that talk to malicious entities or services, data extraction attempts, and instances mining cryptocurrency. The service then flags potential areas of concern and assigns severity ratings. It also suggests corrective actions. CloudWatch can also funnel GuardDuty results, which allows users to automate their responses for specific threat types via Lambda functions. GuardDuty is now accessible from all AWS regions. It’s available for free for the first 30 day. After that, users will be charged according the volume of AWS events it processes. GuardDuty is one of many new security tools AWS has released in recent months. It’s especially aimed at protecting Amazon S3 service. Macie, a machine learning-based security solution specifically for S3, was launched by AWS in August. AWS added a few more S3 security features in November. More information from AWS Re:Invent 2017:

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re:Invent 2017 – VMware and AWS Announce Updates on Their Hybrid Cloud VMware Cloud On AWS. This three-month-old hybrid cloud offering, which allows customers to run their on-premises vSphere environments in the Amazon Web Services (AWS), cloud, is seeing a series of improvements. The improvements were announced Tuesday at the AWS conference in Las Vegas. Some are available immediately, while others will arrive in February next year during VMware’s fiscal fourth-quarter. AWS’ Northern Virginia region now has VMware Cloud on AWS available. It was initially only available in the Oregon region. New one-year and three-year subscription options are also available immediately. The only way to pay for the product previously was by the hour. Customers with existing on-premises licenses of its vSphere, NSX, and vSAN products will also be eligible for discounts. VMware announced that these discounts are available under VMware’s Hybrid Loyalty program and can potentially save customers 25%. VMware Site Recovery is an optional add-on that VMware says “delivers protection between customer informationcenters and VMware Cloud On AWS or between environments running under separate AWS Availability Zones. (AZs). VMware now supports Wavefront, which allows customers to view, alert upon, troubleshoot, and visualize applications running on VMware Cloud. Application Migration A new capability will allow customers to migrate their applications from their VMware environments on-premises to VMware Cloud on AWS. This will be possible without the need to reconfigure or experience any disruptions. According to VMware, this capability will be possible using a combination of VMware vSphere vMotion and new L2 stretched networking features as well as AWS Direct Connect. VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension is also in development. This SaaS addon, which is available in preview as of Tuesday, aims to enable organizations to move large numbers of applications from their on premises datacenters to VMware Cloud on AWS. It will not cause any downtime. VMware stated that Hybrid Cloud Extension will offer Layer 2 extensions with high-performance, built-in performance so customers can keep the same routing policies, IP, and networks in place while moving workloads. This eliminates the need to do extensive application dependency mapping when migrating apps to VMware Cloud on AWS. Scalability VMware stated that it plans to add multi-cluster support for VMware Cloud on AWS to allow customers to support more resource-intensive workloads. The company stated that VMware Cloud on AWS supports 32 host-clusters and multiple software defined data centers (SDDCs) per organization. It will soon support 10 clusters per SDDC. Customers will be able to support thousands of virtual machines within their environments with the new update. “The momentum for VMware Cloud is growing rapidly, VMware and AWS have delivering major new capabilities within three months of availability, while enhancing our strategic relation with new integrations across our platforms,” Mark Lohmeyer (Vice President and General Manager of VMware’s Cloud Platform Business) stated in a prepared statement regarding the new improvements. Customers of VMware Cloud on AWS can migrate their application portfolios faster to the cloud with Hybrid Cloud Extension or AWS Direct Connect. This will allow them to maintain the highest levels of performance, scale, and availability for mission-critical applications. More information from AWS reInvent 2017:

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