Alexa Skill for AWS Cloud Storage

Often, I find myself looking for general information about the AWS services and resources deployed within my AWS account. For example, I regularly want to know if there are any public S3 buckets in my account, or how many EBS volumes have been provisioned. I know I can get this information in some different ways. I could run a AWS CLI command on my laptop, I could create a custom script, or I could just log into the AWS Management Console.

Using EC2 Systems Manager to Maintain your Amazon Machine Images (AMI)

Amazon EC2 System Manager (SSM) is an agent-based solution that allows you to remotely manage and collect inventory data from EC2 instances as well as on-premise Windows and Linux systems. Outside of managing long-running EC2 instances, you can also use SSM to manage your Amazon Machine Images (AMI). Think of an AMI as a gold-image, it’s a pre-built server image that you can use as part of an auto-scaling solution, reference in a CloudFormation template or when manually deploying an instance via the CLI or through the Management console.

The Why & How of Automated EBS Snapshots

How often do you take EBS snapshots? EBS volumes are automatically replicated across multiple servers in the Availability Zone (AZ) where they were deployed, but for data durability you also need timely snapshots of your EBS volumes. While it’s possible to manually create snapshots of your EBS volumes, a better, more reliable solution is to leverage AWS Lambda to automate the process. AWS Lambda is available in a number of different languages, supports scheduling (think cron) and can also be invoked automatically from AWS events.

Amazon Elastic File System (EFS)

Recently, I was working with a customer who - let’s just say wasn’t having a great experience with Elastic File System EFS. If you’re not familiar with EFS, just think of it as managed NFS. EFS allows you to share a file system between EC2 instances - potentially thousands of them. In this particular case, the customer was using EFS to share data between multiple web servers. The problem was (what at first seemed to be random intervals) the website would come to a grinding halt.

AWS Journey: The Four Phases

Phase 1: This is awesome! Let me tell you how the journey to Amazon Web Services starts for most customers - with an impossible deadline. One of your colleagues stops by your desk on Friday and says they need the new system up and ready to go by Tuesday - fun times. The team decides that now is the perfect time to try out AWS and since everyone has been wanted to give it a try anyways they all enthusiastically jump in to get the job done.

Per Second Billing for EC2 and EBS

On September 18th, 2017, Amazon announced that effective October 2nd, 2017 all Linux-based EC2 instances running as On-Demand, Reserved or Spot, as well as provisioned storage for EBS volumes, will be billed in one-second increments; per-second billing also applies to Amazon Elastic Map Reduce (EMR) and AWS Batch jobs. Elastic Map Reduce (EMR) With the ability to add more machines to the cluster, jobs can be completed sooner and will be more cost-effective.

Amazon Lex and Slack as your Business' Hub

During the first part of my career in IT, I helped organizations implement enterprise-grade Systems Management Solutions - think IBM Tivoli, BMC, HP Openview, etc. - you name it and I most likely installed, configured and maintained the systems companies use to monitor and manage their IT infrastructure. The ‘holy grail’ of Systems Management was a centralized console. The idea was to consolidate all of the information from all of the monitoring and management tools into a single dashboard where everyone could get the information they needed regardless of job function.

Monitoring Burstable T2 EC2 Instances

Recently, I was working with a client who was leveraging Burstable T2 EC2 instances for their web infrastructure - something which I regularly recommend to my clients. In this situation though we were receiving reports from the application team about odd behaviour. On what seemed like a random schedule the websites would stop responding to requests entirely or complete the requests at a reduced rate. We immediately started to comb through our logs in an attempt to determine the cause and implement a fix.

Running Your Website on AWS

Running a website on the AWS platform is one of the most common ways that I see organization employ when first getting started with Amazon Web Services. It’s popular because it tends to be quite cost-effective (depending on your deployment methodology), and it’s easy to get started. In this webinar, I discussed general best practices, three reference architectures, and their benefits. 44:29 $("[data-fancybox]").fancybox({});

A Simple Virtual Private Cloud deployed via a Fugue Composition

In part one of this series, I talked about the differences between Infrastructure as Config, and Infrastructure as Code. In this article, we’ll dive into the creation of a simple Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) on AWS using a Fugue composition. Here’s what we’re going to create. It’s a basic example of a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) which spans two availability zones (AZ) in a single region. We’re going to create four subnets (two in each AZ, and deploy a NAT Gateway in each AZ for redundancy.