Lifecycle Management and other new AWS features now GA

Posted in: Technical Track

I recently joined Chris Presley for his podcast, Cloudscape, to talk about what’s happening in the world of cloud-related matters. My focus was to share the most recent events surrounding Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Topics of discussion included:

Registration is open for re:Invent 2018.
New – Lifecycle Management for Amazon EBS Snapshots
New – EC2 Compute Instances for AWS Snowball Edge
AWS Storage Gateway Recap – SMB Support, RefreshCache Event, and More
Announcing Bring Your Own IP for Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Preview)
Elastic Load Balancing Announces Support for Redirects and Fixed Responses for Application Load Balancer

QUICK HITS
Amazon EKS is HIPAA Eligible
Amazon EC2 AMIs with .NET Core Now Support .NET Core 2.1
Amazon MQ Now Supports AWS CloudTrail
Inter-Region VPC Peering is Now Available in the Asia Pacific (Seoul) Region
Announcing the New AWS Free Tier Widget on the AWS Billing Dashboard

 

Registration is open for re:Invent 2018.
Registration for AWS re:Invent 2018 is open, so get signed up if you want to go. It’s a tremendously popular conference so the sooner you jump on it, the better. This is your official heads-up.

New – Lifecycle Management for Amazon EBS Snapshots
This is one of those features where I was kind of surprised that it wasn’t done sooner. Managing the lifecycle of EBS snapshots is something that workarounds or side solutions have done for a while. In the past we built a custom solution using Lambda, where we used scheduled serverless functions to trigger different maintenance procedures for auditing requirements and for purging and whatnot, but now, a lot of this is baked right in Amazon.

The early feedback from community members who have tried it has been really good. They really like it and it is exactly as advertised. It’s a lifecycle manager for all those snapshots that you take as part of your backup policy and for making sure that you’re keeping them around or purging them on, based on your criteria.

New – EC2 Compute Instances for AWS Snowball Edge
The AWS Snowball Edge device is very cool for people who are in really rough industries and who need rugged devices on site, in the field, remote sites, etc. These people want to benefit from the public cloud, but they can’t because they don’t have reliable internet connections. Even if they put a server out there, it wouldn’t survive.

That’s where the AWS Snowball Edge device comes in. It’s a rugged device with a hundred terabytes of local storage. It can be used to collect in-process data in really rough environments. It doesn’t require internet and it can work with limited or non-existent connections. They will ship it out to you so you can deploy it on site.

What’s really cool about it is that it’s got a Xeon in there, so it’s got some powerful guts, but it will actually extend some of the AWS compute and other features right to that device. You can use the APIs that you are familiar with and, in a somewhat limited fashion, you can use CLI commands and scripts; however you are used to doing it to run commands against this.

This seems like a great solution if you want to have a unified set of tools between your datacenter and out in the field. It supports Ubuntu. You can use this out in the field and when you send it back, they’ll dump the data back into your environment or it will sync up on it, and you can connect it up to the internet. It just seems like a really great device.

I wanted to mention it because it’s great that the cloud can even reach out into a mud pit or oil field. I think that’s an awesome feature.

AWS Storage Gateway Recap – SMB Support, RefreshCache Event, and More
Just a few quality of life improvements in the storage gateway. I’m a fan of the SMB support for Windows users, especially an active directory if you just want simple access to a shared drive and you don’t want to monkey around with NFS. SMB protocols here, it’s very common in the Windows world. It’s a really nice quality of life improvement.

They added cross-account permissions. So, if you have a storage gateway and you’re managing different accounts, you can configure them to upload your S3 bucket owned by a different account.

They added a new event for cache refresh. You could always call refresh cache, but now when that process is done, you can subscribe to an event. That way, if you have processing that needs to happen when everything is in sync, you automatically trigger that. If you’re collecting files locally and you want to sync them up with S3, you can then trigger a different file gateway at different locations to sync them up.

Announcing Bring Your Own IP for Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Preview)
This is only in preview, it’s not for general release, but they’re rolling out the ability to try bringing your own IPs to your VPCs so that Amazon will advertise to the internet the IPs that you have in your range. The significance of this is that if you have a white list that you advertise to clients, it eases the management of advertising those to your clients for the purposes of a firewall rules or endpoints.

I think a lot of people would have liked to have this a long time ago but it’s finally here in trial; however, it’s only available in the US West Oregon region for now.

Elastic Load Balancing Announces Support for Redirects and Fixed Responses for Application Load Balancer
The Elastic Load Balancer, the Application Load Balancers, actually have a new feature that can be redirected in fixed responses right at the load balancer level. This is just like with the authentication I mentioned a few blog posts ago. It is yet another feature that can be offloaded from the application by the load balancer.

So if you have redirects where you want to go from HTTP to HTTPS, you can redirect all your traffic and know that your coverage for HTTPS is solid and complete. If you roll out a new version of a site, you can redirect to the new version and then, of course, you can do custom air pages. The only feature that I don’t see and I don’t know that we’ll ever see, is being able to handle custom 500-level type error pages.

So with the other stuff, you can put it all in the Load Balancer level now and get it out of your app and just continue to focus more and more on delivering value and taking the boilerplate stuff and offloading it from a new plate.

QUICK HITS
Amazon EKS is HIPAA Eligible
EKS is now HIPAA eligible. If you have an executed VAA in place, EKS is on the table, which is fantastic. EKS, of course, is the Kubernetes hosted at Amazon. If you’re interested in containers, and I think most people are at this point, and you have a HIPAA need, that’s a go-to.

Amazon EC2 AMIs with .NET Core Now Support .NET Core 2.1
EC2 AMIs for .NET Core now support .NET Core 2.1. So, if 2.1 is what your heart longs for, the time is now.

Amazon MQ Now Supports AWS CloudTrail
You can now use a Cloud Trail to log Amazon MQ API calls. If you are struggling to track messages that are going into your queue or taking a queuing system and it is hard to track transactions through that system, being able to use cloud trails is a nice, convenient way to make your world a little bit easier.

I also saw that the AWS device farm is now integrated with code by plan. If you have a code by plan setup, you can now test in a target device farm. So as your code runs, you can automatically trigger your tests to run on the device farm on your mobile web, IOS, or Android devices.

I know that Microsoft has had a pretty strong offering in the mobile app developers space. I think it’s because of their acquisition of Xamarin years ago. It is nice to see AWS improving the future set form of a developer. It is really offering a nice high quality suite there.

Inter-Region VPC Peering is Now Available in the Asia Pacific (Seoul) Region
We talked about Inter-region VPC peering a few blog posts ago. It is now available in the Seoul region and in Asia Pacific.

Announcing the New AWS Free Tier Widget on the AWS Billing Dashboard
I have used the Free Tier, or the equivalent of Free Tier, in all of the major clouds and one of the things I always worry about is, “What if I go over my limits?”

Thankfully, there is usually enough of a buffer that I don’t need to worry about it. Now they have added a nifty widget where you can drop it in, track your usage of Free Tier, and it will forecast your monthly usage. It just gives you a little bit of extra confidence. So if you are on the fence because you didn’t really want to plunk down your credit card on a personal account, you have a few more safeguards with that.

This was a summary of the AWS topics we discussed during the podcast, Chris also welcomed Warner Chaves (Microsoft Azure expert) who also discussed topics related to his expertise.

Hear the full conversation and be sure to subscribe to the podcast to be notified when a new episode has been released.

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