The Orbit Blog

Learn about best practice, news, how-tos, and insight. The goal? Accelerate your AWS Journey.

Checking AWS root accounts for MFA

By Brett Gillett //

Last week we needed to develop a quick and easy way to check that Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) was enabled for the root account for a bunch of AWS accounts. Being a proponent of project-based learning, I decided that this would be an excellent opportunity to further my understanding of Boto3 and serverless computing in Amazon Web Services. Here’s the list of requirements that I came up with: There were to be no servers (EC2 instances) in the solution It had to be inexpensive It had to be able to check numerous AWS accounts that were not related It had to notify a few people if it discovered an AWS account that did not have MFA enabled on its root account Here’s a diagram of the solution.

What is 'Infrastructure as Code'

By Brett Gillett //

So, you were sitting in a meeting last week, and one of your teammates happened to mention that they have made several ‘commits’ this week to the ‘infrastructure as code’ base. Everyone else seems to know what the heck that means, so you keep quiet and decide to ‘Google’ it later. It’s simple really, let me explain. When someone mentions ‘infrastructure as code’ what they are saying is that they have turned the infrastructure and possibly the application components into one or more snippets of code that can be used to quickly deploy new testing and development environments; or to rebuild infrastructure after an outage.

Three Things You Can Do Now To Save Money in AWS

By Brett Gillett //

For the majority of AWS customer EC2 costs make up the largest part of their monthly spending - sometimes as high as 70 - 75%. That’s why it makes sense to carefully examine how your EC2 instances are being used and look for ways to optimize your AWS EC2 costs. In this article, I outline three of the most common methods I see customers use to help them reduce their monthly EC2 costs.

Handling Jobs in the SQS Queues

By Brett Gillett //

In the previous two articles, I told you about how I used scheduled Lambda jobs and S3 event notifications to remove multiple Cron jobs running on an EC2 instance. In this article, I’ll talk about how I handle jobs in the SQS queues. The Hockey Pool application uses a total of five SQS queues. Three are for processing stat files; the other two are for injuries and lifetime standings - ya, we’re stat geeks.

Moving From Cron to Scheduled Lambda Functions

By Brett Gillett //

Awhile back I wrote an article about how I have been using several AWS services (EC2, RDS, SQS, etc.) to run a small hockey pool website. In that article, I mentioned that one of my biggest goals was to move away from EC2-based Cron to Lambda and to build a more “loosely coupled” application. Since a hockey pool website without stats would be pointless, I figured it was a good place to start.

S3 Event Notifications

By Brett Gillett //

In my last article, I talked about how I moved from using Cron on an EC2 instance to download stat files for my hockey pool website to using scheduled Lambda functions. In this article, I’ll talk about how I removed another Cron job by enabling S3 event notifications an, to add jobs to the SQS queues I use to parse all the stats. Enabling S3 event notifications is really simple.

Building a Hockey Pool on AWS

By Brett Gillett //

I’ve been a member of a lifelong keeper hockey pool for quite a few years now. It started as an excuse to keep in touch with friends from University but quickly evolved into a very serious league where stats are king and the ridicule is unforgiving and never stops. The Evolution of the League When we first started, we kept all the stats in an Excel spreadsheet. It worked fine, but it involved a ton of manual labour and took forever to publish.

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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