AWS Big Data Blog

Unlocking the value of data as your differentiator

Today on the AWS re:Invent keynote stage, Swami Sivasubramanian, VP of Data and AI, AWS, spoke about the beneficial relationship among data, generative AI, and humans—all working together to unleash new possibilities in efficiency and creativity. There has never been a more exciting time in modern technology. Innovation is accelerating everywhere, and the future is rife with possibility. While Swami explored many facets of this beneficial relationship in the keynote today, one area that is especially critical for our customers to get right if they want to see success in generative AI is data. When you want to build generative AI applications that are unique to your business needs, data is the differentiator. This week, we launched many new tools to help you turn your data into your differentiator. This includes tools to help you customize your foundation models, and new services and features to build a strong data foundation to fuel your generative AI applications.

Customizing foundation models

The need for data is quite obvious if you are building your own foundation models (FMs). These models need vast amounts of data. But data is necessary even when you are building on top of FMs. If you think about it, everyone has access to the same models for building generative AI applications. It’s data that is the key to moving from generic applications to generative AI applications that create real value for your customers and your business. For instance, Intuit’s new generative AI-powered assistant, Intuit Assist, uses relevant contextual datasets spanning small business, consumer finance, and tax information to deliver personalized financial insights to their customers. With Amazon Bedrock, you can privately customize FMs for your specific use case using a small set of your own labeled data through a visual interface without writing any code. Today, we announced the ability to fine-tune Cohere Command and Meta Llama 2 in addition to Amazon Titan. In addition to fine-tuning, we’re also making it easier for you to provide models with up-to-date and contextually relevant information from your data sources using Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG). Amazon Bedrock’s Knowledge Bases feature, which went to general availability today, supports the entire RAG workflow, from ingestion, to retrieval, and prompt augmentation. Knowledge Bases works with popular vector databases and engines including Amazon OpenSearch Serverless, Redis Enterprise Cloud, and Pinecone, with support for Amazon Aurora and MongoDB coming soon.

Building a strong data foundation

To produce the high-quality data that you need to build or customize FMs for generative AI, you need a strong data foundation. Of course, the value of a strong data foundation is not new and the need for one spans well beyond generative AI. Across all types of use cases, from generative AI to business intelligence (BI), we’ve found that a strong data foundation includes a comprehensive set of services to meet all your use case needs, integrations across those services to break down data silos, and tools to govern data across the end-to-end data workflow so you can innovate more quickly. These tools also need to be intelligent to remove the heavy lifting from data management.


First, you need a comprehensive set of data services so you can get the price/performance, speed, flexibility, and capabilities for any use case. AWS offers a broad set of tools that enable you to store, organize, access, and act upon various types of data. We have the broadest selection of database services, including relational databases like Aurora and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS)—and on Monday, we introduced the newest addition to the RDS family: Amazon RDS for Db2. Now Db2 customers can easily set up, operate, and scale highly available Db2 databases in the cloud. We also offer non-relational databases like Amazon DynamoDB, used by over 1 million customers for its serverless, single-digit millisecond performance at any scale. You also need services to store data for analysis and machine learning (ML) like Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Customers have created hundreds of thousands of data lakes on Amazon S3. It also includes our data warehouse, Amazon Redshift, which delivers more than 6 times better price/performance than other cloud data warehouses. We also have tools that enable you to act on your data, including Amazon QuickSight for BI, Amazon SageMaker for ML, and of course, Amazon Bedrock for generative AI.

Serverless enhancements

The dynamic nature of data makes it perfectly suited to serverless technologies, which is why AWS offers a broad range of serverless database and analytics offerings that help support our customers’ most demanding workloads. This week, we made even more improvements to our serverless options in this area, including a new Aurora capability that automatically scales to millions of write transactions per second and manages petabytes of data while maintaining the simplicity of operating a single database. We also released a new serverless option for Amazon ElastiCache, which makes it faster and easier to create highly available caches and instantly scales to meet application demand. Finally, we announced new AI-driven scaling and optimizations for Amazon Redshift Serverless that enable the service to learn from your patterns and proactively scale on multiple dimensions, including concurrent users, data variability, and query complexity. It does all of this while factoring in your price/performance targets so you can optimize between cost and performance.

Vector capabilities across more databases

Your data foundation also needs to include services to store, index, retrieve, and search vector data. As our customers need vector embeddings as part as part of their generative AI application workflows, they told us they want to use vector capabilities in their existing databases to eliminate the steep learning curve for new programming tools, APIs, and SDKs. They also feel more confident knowing their existing databases are proven in production and meet requirements for scalability, availability, and storage and compute. And when your vectors and business data are stored in the same place, your applications will run faster—and there’s no data sync or data movement to worry about.

For all of these reasons, we’ve invested in adding vector capabilities to some of our most popular data services, including Amazon OpenSearch Service and OpenSearch Serverless, Aurora, and Amazon RDS. Today, we added four more to that list, with the addition of vector support in Amazon MemoryDB for Redis, Amazon DocumentDB (with MongoDB compatibility), DynamoDB, and Amazon Neptune. Now you can use vectors and generative AI with your database of choice.


Another key to your data foundation is integrating data across your data sources for a more complete view of your business. Typically, connecting data across different data sources requires complex extract, transform, and load (ETL) pipelines, which can take hours—if not days—to build. These pipelines also have to be continuously maintained and can be brittle. AWS is investing in a zero-ETL future so you can quickly and easily connect and act on all your data, no matter where it lives. We’re delivering on this vision in a number of ways, including zero-ETL integrations between our most popular data stores. Earlier this year, we brought you our fully managed zero-ETL integration between Amazon Aurora MySQL-Compatible Edition and Amazon Redshift. Within seconds of data being written into Aurora, you can use Amazon Redshift to do near-real-time analytics and ML on petabytes of data. Woolworths, a pioneer in retail who helped build the retail model of today, was able to reduce development time for analysis of promotions and other events from 2 months to 1 day using the Aurora zero-ETL integration with Amazon Redshift.

More zero-ETL options

At re:Invent, we announced three more zero-ETL integrations with Amazon Redshift, including Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible Edition, Amazon RDS for MySQL, and DynamoDB, to make it easier for you to take advantage of near-real-time analytics to improve your business outcomes. In addition to Amazon Redshift, we’ve also expanded our zero ETL support to OpenSearch Service, which tens of thousands of customers use for real-time search, monitoring, and analysis of business and operational data. This includes zero-ETL integrations with DynamoDB and Amazon S3. With all of these zero-ETL integrations, we’re making it even easier to leverage relevant data for your applications, including generative AI.


Finally, your data foundation needs to be secure and governed to ensure the data that’s used throughout the development cycle of your generative AI applications is high quality and compliant. To help with this, we launched Amazon DataZone last year. Amazon DataZone is being used by companies like Guardant Health and Bristol Meyers Squibb to catalog, discover, share, and govern data across their organization. Amazon DataZone uses ML to automatically add metadata to your data catalog, making all of your data more discoverable. This week, we added a new feature to Amazon DataZone that uses generative AI to automatically create business descriptions and context for your datasets with just a few clicks, making data even easier to understand and apply. While Amazon DataZone helps you share data in a governed way within your organization, many customers also want to securely share data with their partners.

Infusing intelligence across the data foundation

Not only have we added generative AI to Amazon DataZone, but we’re leveraging intelligent technology across our data services to make data easier to use, more intuitive to work with, and more accessible. Amazon Q, our new generative AI assistant, helps you in QuickSight to author dashboards and create compelling visual stories from your dashboard data using natural language. We also announced that Amazon Q can help you create data integration pipelines using natural language. For example, you can ask Q to “read JSON files from S3, join on ‘accountid’, and load into DynamoDB,” and Q will return an end-to-end data integration job to perform this action. Amazon Q is also making it easier to query data in your data warehouse with generative AI SQL in Amazon Redshift Query Editor (in preview). Now data analysts, scientists, and engineers can be more productive using generative AI text-to-code functionality. You can also improve accuracy by enabling query history access to specific users—without compromising data privacy.

These new innovations are going to make it easy for you to leverage data to differentiate your generative AI applications and create new value for your customers and your business. We look forward to seeing what you create!

About the authors

G2 Krishnamoorthy is VP of Analytics, leading AWS data lake services, data integration, Amazon OpenSearch Service, and Amazon QuickSight. Prior to his current role, G2 built and ran the Analytics and ML Platform at Facebook/Meta, and built various parts of the SQL Server database, Azure Analytics, and Azure ML at Microsoft.

Rahul Pathak is VP of Relational Database Engines, leading Amazon Aurora, Amazon Redshift, and Amazon QLDB. Prior to his current role, he was VP of Analytics at AWS, where he worked across the entire AWS database portfolio. He has co-founded two companies, one focused on digital media analytics and the other on IP-geolocation.