Report: Amazon Web Services planning AI-friendly version of its data warehouse

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Swami Sivasubramanian, VP of AI for Amazon Web Services, speaks at the 2017 GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit.
Swami Sivasubramanian, VP of AI for Amazon Web Services, speaks at the 2017 GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit.

The Super Bowl of cloud computing — Amazon Web Services’ re:Invent conference — is two weeks away, and the company plans to show off a new version of its data warehouse product that is designed for machine-learning applications, according to a new report.

The Information reported that AWS Ironman will be an upgrade to its existing RedShift data warehouse product, which sounds like it will deliver better performance for customers working with the large data sets required in machine-learning research. More details are expected to be revealed at re:Invent.

Ironman would tie together two main themes of the year for AWS and cloud computing in general: databases and artificial intelligence.

Data warehouses are similar to databases, but have been modified to read and analyze data faster than conventional databases. They are generally used to produce analytical reports about various business functions, and competition in this space has been heating up as Oracle scrambles to prevent its data warehouse customers from defecting to products like RedShift, Microsoft’s Azure SQL Data Warehouse, or startup Snowflake Computing’s flagship product.

And it seems pretty clear that AI is the next battleground for cloud providers, allowing their customers to tap into AI expertise that only the world’s biggest companies can afford to put together these days. Google has arguably been at the forefront of AI research among cloud vendors, and while Amazon has committed lots of resources toward AI research, it tends to lag behind its cloud rivals when it comes to AI services.

Still, this is a very new area for a lot of end users, and it’s not at all clear how many cloud customers are making purchasing decisions based on the breadth and depth of AI services available to them. AWS has a massive lead over its rivals in cloud computing, and while it ignores the trend toward AI services in the cloud at its own peril, it doesn’t seem like any AI advantage enjoyed by Microsoft or Google has moved the needle this year.

The Information also reported that AWS plans to unveil a managed deep learning service at re:Invent, which runs from Nov. 27th through Dec. 1st in Las Vegas. An AWS representative declined to comment on the report.

Here’s a video of Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of AI at AWS, explaining AWS’ approach to AI research and deployment at our Cloud Tech Summit earlier this year.