AWS sets its sights on the BI market as it makes Amazon QuickSight generally available

The cloud computing giant launches a tool aimed at letting non-technical, business users rapidly extract useful information from corporate data.

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The Amazon QuickSight dashboard.

Image: Amazon

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has made its data analysis tool Amazon QuickSight available to all customers.

The new cloud service is designed to allow all employees to rapidly derive useful business information from data, regardless of an individual's technical skill.

Amazon QuickSight provides graphical tools that allow users to more easily build data visualizations, charts, graphs, and tables. Data can be pulled from various AWS sources, including AWS Redshift, Amazon Relational Database Service, and Amazon Simple Storage Service, while third-party sources include Microsoft Excel and Salesforce.com.

Data can be synced with sources so it reflects the latest changes, and the speed of queries via QuickSight is boosted by SPICE (Super-fast, Parallel, In-Memory Calculation Engine).

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Amazon says it designed QuickSight to be easier to use and access than traditional Business Intelligence (BI) tools, as well as to be competitive on pricing.

While the service's ease of use challenges traditional BI tools provided by Qlik and Tableau, analysts have pointed out that in prioritising simplicity, QuickSight has sacrificed advanced features and it could be held back by corporate unease about sensitive datasets being handled in the cloud.

QuickSight has been trialled by more than 1,500 AWS customers, including global enterprises and startups from a range of industries.

"Amazon QuickSight and the SPICE engine allowed us to tear down and explore our data in a fraction of the time we expected, making it easy for us to tap into the value inside our data," said Brandon SanGiovanni, traffic manager for MLBAM.

Online automotive information site Edmunds.com says it will use QuickSight to allow business users to rapidly analyse data drawn from clickstream logs, vehicle transaction, and inventory data, alongside third-party datasets.

Pricing for the Standard Edition of Amazon QuickSight starts at $9 per user, per month, including 10GB of SPICE capacity. It is available in US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), and EU (Ireland), and will expand to additional AWS regions in the coming months.

The Enterprise Edition of Amazon QuickSight includes all Standard Edition features, as well as support for Active Directory integration and encryption at rest and will be available in the coming week.

Amazon also announced another price drop for its EC2 service, which offers access to compute resources in the cloud.

From December 1, prices will be cut by up to 25 percent across all AWS regions for the following instances: C4 -- an instance aimed at tasks requiring high performance processor; M4 instances -- a general purpose instance, with a balance of compute, memory, and network resources; and T2 instances -- which provide moderate performance but can ramp up performance in times of high demand.

The price drop will apply to On-Demand, Reserved Instance (Standard and Convertible) and Dedicated Host prices for these instances.

Prices for C4 instances will drop five percent in US East (Northern Virginia) and EU (Ireland) and 20 percent in Asia Pacific (Mumbai) and Asia Pacific (Singapore). M4 instances will be cut by up to 10 percent in US East (Northern Virginia), EU (Ireland), and EU (Frankfurt) and 25 percent in Asia Pacific (Singapore). T2 instance prices will fall by up to 10 percent in US East (Northern Virginia) and 25 percent in Asia Pacific (Singapore).

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