Amazon: $250,000 Outpost Rack Servers, Quantum Computing Service, AWS SageMaker Autopilot

By Amit Chowdhry ● December 3, 2019
  • At AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, Amazon announced the new $250,000 Outpost server racks, the new AWS SageMaker Autopilot, and a quantum computing service

Today at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, Amazon announced that it is entering the $250 billion data center market by selling $250,000 Outpost racks. This project is being overseen by Amazon Sr. Principal Software Engineer of EC2 Anthony Liguori and Amazon Vice President of AWS Compute Services Matt Garman.

This is a major shift from the past decade where Amazon rented compute power and storage space through AWS. Now AWS is going to be selling server racks along with the software for controlling those servers.

Outpost Rack Servers

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The Outpost server racks are 80 inches tall, 48 inches deep, and 24 inches wide. And it weighs 2,000 pounds when all 11 server slots are filled. And there is an AWS logo on the steel door.

Amazon is the leader in the cloud computing space with $32 billion in annual revenue. Behind Amazon is Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. One of Microsoft’s biggest wins this year is the $10 billion JEDI contract from the U.S. Department of Defense. However, Amazon is suing the government and claimed bias in the decision.

Verizon is already testing Outpost, which comes with Amazon’s main computing power services. And Amazon said that it will have teams deliver Outposts directly to customers’ data centers and link them up to AWS accounts.

AWS SageMaker Autopilot

Amazon also announced several other products like an enterprise search tool that is powered by machine learning. AWS VP of artificial intelligence Matt Wood said that this tool does not require any machine learning knowledge.

Amazon SageMaker Autopilot enables developers to submit simple data in CSV files and have machine learning models automatically generated. And it provides full visibility to how the models are created so they can impact evolving them over time.

“Using a single API call, or a few clicks in Amazon SageMaker Studio, SageMaker SageMaker Autopilot first inspects your data set, and runs a number of candidates to figure out the optimal combination of data preprocessing steps, machine learning algorithms and hyperparameters. Then, it uses this combination to train an Inference Pipeline, which you can easily deploy either on a real-time endpoint or for batch processing. As usual with Amazon SageMaker, all of this takes place on fully-managed infrastructure,” wrote Amazon Web Services Global Technical Evangelist of artificial intelligence and machine learning Julien Simon in a blog post.

Quantum Computing As A Service

Yesterday Amazon also revealed that it is launching a preview of Amazon Braket. Braket offers quantum computing as a service. Amazon Vice President & Chief Evangelist at Amazon Web Services Jeff Barr revealed that the name Braket was inspired by Bra-ket notation being commonly used to denote quantum mechanical states. To offer this service, AWS is partnering with D-Wave, IonQ, and Rigetti.

“By collaborating with AWS, we will be able to deliver access to our systems to a much broader market and help accelerate the growth of this emerging industry,” commented Chad Rigetti, founder and CEO of Rigetti Computing.

Here is what D-Wave said about the deal:

“D-Wave’s quantum systems and our Leap cloud environment were both purpose-built to make practical application development a reality today and, in turn, fuel real-world business advantage for our customers,” noted D-Wave’s chief product officer and EVP of R&D, Alan Baratz. “Amazon’s Braket will open the door to more smart developers who will build the quantum future, and the forward-thinking executives who will transform industries.”

Through AWS’ new Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab, the company is planning to offer researchers solutions to collaborate:

“We believe that quantum computing will be a cloud-first technology and that the cloud will be the main way customers access the hardware,” pointed out AWS Utility Computing Services senior vice president Charlie Bell. “With our Amazon Braket service and Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab, we’re making it easier for customers to gain experience using quantum computers and to work with experts from AWS and our partners to figure out how they can benefit from the technology. And with our AWS Center for Quantum Computing and academic partnerships, we join the effort across the scientific and industrial communities to help accelerate the promise of quantum computing.”