AWS Announces General Availability of Amazon EBS io2 Block Express Volumes

Today AWS announced general availability of io2 Block Express volumes that deliver up to 4x higher throughput, IOPS, and capacity than io2 volumes, and are designed to deliver sub-millisecond latency and 99.999% durability. io2 Block Express refers to io2 volumes running on the EBS Block Express architecture, and supports standard io2 features such as Multi-Attach and Elastic Volumes. io2 Block Express volumes are available first with Amazon EC2 R5b instances, which delivers the highest EBS-optimized performance, with support for other instances coming soon. Using R5b instances customers can now provision a single io2 volume with up to 256,000 IOPS, 4000 MB/s of throughput, and storage capacity of 64 TiB. This makes io2 Block Express and R5b instance combination ideal for your largest, most I/O intensive, and mission critical deployments of Oracle, SAP HANA, Microsoft SQL Server, and SAS Analytics.

AWS Systems Manager Automation now supports upgrade of SQL Server 2012

AWS Systems Manager Automation now enables customers to upgrade SQL Server 2012 or later on Amazon EC2. Microsoft SQL Server 2012 will reach extended end-of-support on 7/12/2022. Customers can use AWS Systems Manager Automation runbook to easily upgrade SQL Server 2012 to newer supported versions such as SQL Server 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019. The following upgrade paths become available across SQL Server Enterprise, Standard, and Web editions.

1. SQL Server 2012 to SQL Server 2014/2016/2017/2019
2. SQL Server 2014 to SQL Server 2016/2017/2019
3. SQL Server 2016 to SQL Server 2017/2019
4. SQL Server 2017 to SQL Server 2019

AWS Glue DataBrew is now HIPAA eligible

AWS Glue DataBrew, a visual data preparation service, is now AWS Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) eligible, allowing healthcare and life science customers to build analytics and machine learning solutions for HIPAA workloads in conjunction with other HIPAA-eligible AWS services. Customers are able to leverage DataBrew’s 250+ no-code transformations to clean and normalize healthcare data in order to reach better healthcare decisions, operate more efficiently, and help identify medical and scientific trends. 

Amazon Appstore to support Android App Bundle

Earlier this year, Android App Bundle format was announced by Google as mandatory open-source format for new Google Play app submissions starting August 2021. Amazon Appstore is actively working to support the new format, which will provide benefits such as smaller app size downloads for customers and on-demand downloads for features and assets. These changes benefit customers by helping them download specific aspects of an app in real-time as needed.

For Amazon Appstore developers, in addition to the existing APK format, we are working to support the app bundles format across all types of submissions. We will share updates later this year on our progress to continue making app submission as simple and friction-less as possible for our developers.


1. Will Android App Bundles be mandated for Amazon Appstore?
App bundles will be completely optional, and developers will be able to continue submitting apps using existing APK format.

2. Will there be any changes to the way developers submit apps ?
There are no changes to the app submission process. For both app formats (APK or bundle), developers will continue to submit apps in the same way as before.

3. Will I need to resubmit my app if it was published using APK?
No, you will not need to resubmit your app if it was submitted and published in APK format earlier. You can continue publishing new apps and updates to existing apps using APK format. In order to utilize app bundles, developers would need to plan future submissions using the bundles format (*.aab), however, there will be no changes in the way developers currently submit apps to Appstore.

5. Will my apps get all available App Bundle benefits when Amazon Appstore starts supporting it?
We will support upload of apps in App Bundle format. We have a roadmap to enable customer experience benefits incrementally over time. We will share our roadmap and more details closer to rollout.

6. Will I need to submit my app signing key to Amazon to submit App Bundles?
No, Amazon Appstore does not require you to share your app signing key to submit App Bundles. You will continue to sign App Bundles similar to the way that you sign APKs and submit today.


#IamaGDE: Homing Tam

#IamaGDE series presents: Google Maps

Welcome to #IamaGDE – a series of spotlights presenting Google Developer Experts (GDEs) from across the globe. Discover their stories, passions, and highlights of their community work.

image of GDE, Homing Tam

Homing Tam is a product manager at Lalamove, an on-demand logistics company. He started at the company as a product manager focusing on location-based systems, talking with developers and business users to enhance the company’s mapping solutions, before moving into product management. Now, Homing handles corporate solutions; takes care of people who want to integrate with his company’s systems; handles the API side of things to help make integration easier; and provides recommendations for developers and other technical teammates.

Becoming a Maps developer

Homing studied geomatics and computing at university, and his 2009 thesis was based on Google’s API backend. His dissertation focused on using the Google Maps API to perform mapping and overlay. His first full-time job was as a GIS analyst at Esri, the largest private software company in the world. A year and a half later, he became a solutions consultant for a different company, helping customers interested in integrating Google Maps with their software.

image of developer community meetup

Getting involved in the developer community

After Homing got involved in the Google Technology User Group (now known as Google Developer Groups), his boss at the time told him about the Google Developer Experts program. For his interview, Homing presented a product using the Google Maps APIs. When he became a GDE, he gave presentations and talks in the greater China region as a surrogate for the Google Maps Platform team. Homing is currently one of the organizers for GDG Hong Kong, organizing and giving community talks.

Favorite Maps features and current projects

Homing says the Maps Styling Wizard, the precursor to the newer Cloud-based Maps Styling features, is one of his favorite features.

“Cartography, which I studied in college, matters a lot, especially to a simple black and white schematic map, or when matching the theme of a map to a site,” he says. “I like that feature a lot.”

In 2020, Homing gave one talk on Android in the Android 11 Meetup and another talk on Maps at the first-ever virtual Hong Kong Devfest, and he’s ready to do more speaking.

“It had been a while since I gave a talk on maps, and the launch of Cloud-based Maps Styling is so exciting that I feel like it’s time to do some presentations and let the community know more about it. Beyond knowing how to use the API, you need to know how you can make the most of the API.”

Homing notes that this year, in particular, more small business owners need to know how to collect customer addresses, allow customers to place on-demand delivery orders, and update customers.

image from GDG developer community meetup in Hong Kong

In 2021, in addition to giving more talks, Homing hopes to work with the GDG organizers in Hong Kong to plan a hackathon or otherwise teach community members more about the new Maps features.

“Can we make an MVP or a really initial stage cycling app to use as a base to explore the new features and use different Google components?’

As his career continues, Homing says he has two priorities: progressing as a product manager and leveraging technology, including maps, to improve lives.

“This year was a year for everyone to become digitally literate,” he says. “With the extra time we spend on technology, we should make good use of technology to make life better.”

For more information on Google Maps Platform, visit our website.

For more information on Google Developer Experts, visit our website.

AWS IoT Core now supports VPC Endpoints

AWS IoT Core is now integrated with AWS PrivateLink, enabling you to create private IoT Core data endpoints in your Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) using Interface VPC Endpoints. AWS PrivateLink is an AWS technology that enables private communication between your VPC and AWS services, such as IoT Core, by using private IP addresses that are not reachable from the public internet and do not require an internet gateway or NAT device to access. When used in conjunction with one of the many network-to-VPC connectivity options, your IoT Core VPC endpoint can function as though it were hosted directly on your private network.

AWS Certificate Manager provides expanded usage of imported ECDSA and RSA Certificates

AWS Certificate Manager (ACM) now allows you to import Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) X.509 certificates of additional key types and key sizes, including Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) and RSA 3072 and 4096 keys and bind them with integrated services like Amazon CloudFront and Application Load Balancer. Previously, you could use AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to import and use these certificate types as ACM only supported usage of imported RSA 1024 or RSA 2048 key certificates.