The Why & How of Automated EBS Snapshots

By Brett Gillett //

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)

By Brett Gillett //

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

By Brett Gillett //

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

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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

By Brett Gillett //

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

By Brett Gillett //

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

By Brett Gillett //

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

By Brett Gillett //

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.

Your First Month in AWS

By Brett Gillett //

Your first month in AWS can be a bit overwhelming. With over ninety services it can be difficult to make sure you’ve set up your AWS account following best practices. In this webinar, I’ll provide you with an actionable list of tasks when first getting started with AWS. 50:15 $("[data-fancybox]").fancybox({});

Infrastructure as Code vs Infrastructure as Config

By Brett Gillett //

This article is part one of a multipart series exploring the idea of building a true Infrastructure as Code solution on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. What is Infrastructure as Code? I’ve talked about this subject a few times and mentioned how important (and popular) the topic was at the various AWS boot camps I’ve had the pleasure of leading. I describe Infrastructure as Code as the process of decomposing the components of your solution into individual pieces, storing these pieces in a centralized code repository and managing them like we would manage our application code.

Customer Spotlight

The Canadian Press

Founded in 1917, The Canadian Press is Canada's independent news agency. More than 180 journalists provide real-time, bilingual multimedia stories across a diverse number of platforms. Read about how The Canadian Press partner with us to build a dynamic, cost-effective solution on AWS.

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