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Serverless apps, encryption top AWS features in February

Many cloud developers espouse the benefits of serverless computing, but others find the approach unwieldy or difficult to manage. The AWS Serverless Application Repository, one of several AWS features released into general availability in February, can help wary developers join the Lambda fraternity — or sorority.

The Serverless Application Repository service enables developers to publish serverless application frameworks to share privately with a team or organization, and publicly with other developers. Likewise, developers can deploy serverless code samples, components or entire apps that cover a variety of uses. Each application in the repository breaks down the AWS resources it will consume — don’t confuse “serverless” with “free.”

A developer can search the repository for an application that fits his or her use case via the AWS Lambda console, AWS Command Line interface and AWS SDKs. He or she can then tweak the configuration as desired before deployment.

A variety of software providers, including Datadog, Splunk and New Relic, contribute to the Serverless Application Repository to broaden its reach into areas such as internet of things and machine learning processes. The Serverless Application Repository is currently available in 14 global regions.

Red Hat opens the door to AWS features, hybrid cloud

AWS’ embrace of hybrid cloud technology opens up new avenues for other software companies. Among them is Red Hat, which last month released Red Hat Satellite 6.3 with deeper integration with Ansible and AWS. Returning the favor, Amazon EC2 now supports Satellite and Satellite Capsule Server, enabling users to manage their Red Hat infrastructure via EC2 instances.

Don’t rest on your security responsibilities

If last year’s rash of S3 bucket leaks didn’t scare the daylights out of you, perhaps nothing will. Those with a healthy fear of exposure can now use DynamoDB for server-side encryption via AWS Key Management Service. A user can continue to query data unabated, while the AWS-managed encryption keys protect security-intensive apps.

Unlike other AWS features and services, DynamoDB’s server-side encryption lacks the option to use customer master keys — for now — and only works natively for new tables. Encryption at rest adds to another recent DynamoDB feature, VPC Endpoints, which isolates databases from internet exposure and unauthorized access.

Alexa, use your indoor voice

The next time you speak softly to your computer, it might just whisper back.

The Amazon Polly text-to-speech service adds a phonation tag that enables developers to produce softer speech, one of several new AWS features that enhance voice output options available via Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML), including volume enhancement and timbre adjustment.

Amazon Connect also added support for SSML to control certain aspects of speech for customer contact center calls. And Amazon Lex added support for customized responses directly from the AWS Management Console, which simplifies the process of building chatbots.

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