AWS Announces New Features at Storage Day 2023

AWS Announces New Features at Storage Day 2023

Chris Evans AWS, Cloud, Cloud Practice, Cloud Storage, Data Practice: Data Storage, Enterprise

For the past five years, AWS has taken to announcing storage product enhancements on what has become known as “Storage Day”.  This year, the company released a raft of new features that continues to make the evolution of AWS ever more “enterprise-like”.


AWS now schedules many storage platform enhancements for “Storage Day”, this year held on 9th August 2023.  It’s an interesting approach, bearing in mind that so much of the public cloud benefits are meant to be about continuous improvement and delivery.  As a result, saving new features for one day seems to go against the initial cloud tenets.  However, I think there’s more going on here.

Enterprise Cloud

Deploying technology in the on-premises enterprise (by which I mean infrastructure) is generally not a continuous process.  New features must be evaluated and validated before moving from test labs into general production.  Enterprise IT teams don’t like surprises and certainly want to guarantee service consistency and reliability.

With that in mind, new features and functionality from major on-premises vendors have always been packaged into release cycles with predictable cadences.  This allows enterprise teams to digest those new capabilities and determine which might prove useful in their environment.  A daily or even weekly set of announcements is much harder to scan and process – it’s much more efficient to batch up and evaluate in one hit, for example, twice or three times a year.

As the public cloud has matured and evolved in complexity, each new feature might have significant operational and financial impact.  In the case of EBS, new volume types, for example, offer greater performance but at a cost.  Locally attached disks are relatively expensive and have no real resiliency but deliver super high performance.  IT teams need to digest the impact of adopting new capabilities and determine how these features are exposed to the business.

In this sense, it may seem odd to bundle updates into a single day when new features could be released at any time.  Of course, only some of the new features get aligned with a Storage Day, others are released over the course of the year.  The focus of Storage Day is a marketing one, ensuring customers know there’s continuous improvement in place while making it easier to get a platform update with just one session of video recordings. 

Enterprise Features

So, what was announced at the latest Storage Day?  Of course, AI was bound to figure highly in the discussion (which was centred around file services).  At the same time, many new features are extending the “enterprise-like” structure of AWS and the public cloud.  Here is a quick summary of the announcements:

  • Logical air-gapped vault for AWS Backup – essentially segregating secondary data from access by primary accounts and very much a feature of data protection elsewhere for the last few years.
  • Data mobility between clouds with AWS DataSync – customers can now move data in and out of alternative S3-compatible platforms, such as Wasabi Cloud Storage and Digital Ocean Spaces.
  • Performance throughput improvements for FSx for Windows File Server – essentially scalability improvements up to 350,000 IOPS.
  • Multi-AZ file systems for FSx for OpenZFS – a frequently requested feature from customers, expanding the resiliency of this file storage offering. 
  • File release for FSx for Lustre – the ability to tier data down to cheaper S3 storage.
  • EFS performance improvements – up to 55,000 read and 25,000 write IOPS per file system.
  • S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval – improved data restore times (up to 85%) without an additional cost impact.
  • Mountpoint for S3 – exposes a simple mountpoint (not POSIX compliant) for applications that need a file system to read S3 data.

It’s notable that most of these announcements relate to improved file and object capabilities, especially in a world much for focused on unstructured content processing.

The Architect’s View®

Let’s be clear – I’m all in favour of both continuous and batched improvements in the public cloud.  It’s great to see how features evolve in response to customer demand and requests.  The possible irony though is that since its launch, the public cloud looks less like a new form of computing and more like classic enterprise.  New features like the data protection airgap are reflections of issues experienced by customers in private data centres that now need to be aligned with the cloud. 

Does this mean on-premises and cloud are moving towards feature parity?  I think the public cloud has done a much better job of emulating customer needs than the on-premises vendors have done the other way around.  This represents a challenge going forward, as we see fewer reasons not to use the public cloud for almost every workload. 

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