Good morning!

Welcome to issue number 105 of Last Week in AWS.

Last week I was at both Google Next and the AWS Anaheim Summit. I’ll be at the Atlanta AWS summit, Kubecon EU in Barcelona, and Microsoft Build in Seattle over the next month. If you’re going to be any of those places, come commiserate with me about the state of technology.

While I was away, Amazon made a couple of unforced errors. The one most relevant to this newsletter in not transparently disclosing that anonymized Alexa recordings could be subject to human review. This could have been disclosed a lot more transparently in Alexa marketing.

Community Contributions

This issue is sponsored in part by GoCD, from Thoughtworks. If you’re running workloads in Azure, good for you–it’s rapidly improving by all accounts. With GoCD’s new Azure plugin, you can run your CI/CD pipelines on Azure virtual machines, and let GoCD scale up on-demand agents based on your need. To learn more, check out their Microsoft Azure Elastic Agent Plugin. My thanks to them for their continued support.

A curious dive into some of Fargate’s limitations.

A paper characterizing the leaking of git secrets. Academic, but also giving a high-level actionable overview.

Stackery has a nice tutorial that features using DynamoDB to power SES–it’s functionally building a mailserver on top of serverless. Wait–are we calling SES “Serverless” now?

Migrating 23TB off of S3 in 7 hours is a bit of a heavy lift; this is a fascinating article about how one company did it.

Not strictly AWS related, but this article talking about GCP’s challenges has a great photo of me, and I’m absolutely that vain.

AWS Senior Principal Engineer Colm MacCárthaig talks about the day Heartbleed vulnerability came out and AWS’s response to it.

A detailed overview of API Gateway; this one’s worth taking some time to go through.

Jerry Hargrove (awsgeek) has sketched out a 10 Years of Windows and .Net on AWSdiagram that I found super handy to start mapping an ecosystem I largely don’t work with.

When I saw an article titled Why Turning on HTTP/2 Was a Mistake, for one excited second I thought it was a commentary on the current state of HTTP/2, but no, it’s a cautionary tale that anyone building webapps should be aware of.

Another dive into Lambda cold-starts in VPCs.

A useful howto should you find yourself needing to increase disk space in a Nitro instance without downtime and wondering what the exact syntax is.


If you have a job to share with this newsletter’s discerning, thoughtful, all-above-average readers, hit reply so we can chat. This week I have three companies to tell you about–here we go!

The AWS ElasticBlockStore team has one impossible challenge: disambiguating their acronym from Elastic BeanStalk. They also have many challenges that they can overcome: effectively zero tolerance for data corruption, latency requirements that make almost every other AWS service look like slow tortoises, and being constantly overshadowed in keynotes by ridiculous services that wouldn’t work at all without EBS as a foundation. They can’t do it alone–join them today!How would you like an opportunity to apply your AWS skills with a company solving real-world problems and improves people’s lives and their health? Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research is hiring for a Principal Cloud Engineer in Cambridge, MA. It sounds like an incredible role: regularly work across teams cross-functionally helping other teams to implement industry best-practices in their work and keep the AWS-based platform running smoothly. Have a look at the job posting for more details.

Do you want to work in the Bay Area? Almost certainly not; the people are insufferable here. Consider instead staying wherever the hell in the US you happen to be and talking to Truss, a software consultancy. Picture all of the advice that I’d give you, and now envision that wrapped in something you could tell a customer without getting punched right in your sarcastic mouth. That’s what Truss does, but they for some unknown reason don’t describe it that way. Currently, they are seeking stellar Infrastructure engineers anywhere in the US (yes, even the crappy parts) to help them with commercial and government contracts. Seriously, read this thing–they tell you what levels they’re looking to hire at AND THEN THEY EXPLAIN THEM SO YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE A MORON FOR NOT KNOWING THEIR INTERNAL RUBRIC! Virtually any other hiring manager who happens to be reading this should look at their job descriptions and feel comparatively ashamed.

Choice Cuts From the AWS Blog

This issue is sponsored in part by your future self. Hi! Trust me on this one: you really, really, really, really, really do not want to stall on your backup/restore story. Check out N2WS immediately. By Thursday afternoon. Trust yourself on this. Do it now. Also, put $5 on the Red Sox. Lastly, once you’ve averted this crisis, take a look at this 5 simple step AWS migration guide–no gating, no registration required, just a free handy gift from our friends at N2WS. Thanks again to your future self for sponsoring this newsletter.

Amazon CloudFront enhances the security for adding alternate domain names to a distribution – If you want to have a CloudFront distribution, you’re now required to have an SSL certificate for it. This is a great idea, and given that it’s only been 11 years since CloudFront launched, is underwear-outside-the-pants fast by CloudFront standards. (I’m really not looking forward to that team discovering I make fun of them in my newsletter in another five or six years…)

Amazon Elasticsearch Service adds event monitoring and alerting support – AWS takes time away from kicking sand in Elastic’s face long enough to make their pre-existing Elasticsearch service slightly more suitable for production use.

Amazon Pinpoint Now Offers an Analytics Dashboard for Transactional SMS Messages– I have several friends who would very much benefit from being shamed via analytics dashboards displaying how many SMS messages they have sent.

Amazon RDS for Oracle Now Supports Database Storage Size up to 64TiB – Wow, and at what Oracle costs per gigabyte—just kidding. That’s Amazon’s billing model.

Amazon Transcribe now supports real-time speech-to-text in British English, French, and Canadian French – Still no support announced for Canadian English, about which they are sorry.

AWS Certification Triples its Testing Locations, Making it Even More Convenient to Get Certified – This is big news; if you want to answer technical trivia questions that make you feel dumb, you no longer have to travel all the way to a Google office for a job interview.

AWS DeepLens Introduces New Bird Classification Project Template – It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a low flying hawk–WHOA. In fairness it was probably our bad to have such clear windows on our building. Can someone get that cleaned up?

AWS simplifies replatforming of Microsoft SQL Server databases from Windows to Linux – I swear to god Amazon, if you turn this into a tool and call it “Replatformation” I will not be held responsible for my actions.


And now something new from Last Week in AWS sponsor DigitalOcean. If you’ve got resource hungry production workloads that you’re looking to reduce the cost of running, check out the performance benchmarks for their new General Purpose compute plans(called Droplets in the DO-universe). They have a 4:1 ratio of RAM backed by dedicated CPUs. Spoiler alert: No surprise here that they blow their Standard Droplet plans with comparable specs on shared processors out of the water – pun intended.

Coinbase has released their open source Fenrir framework, which rides on top of SAM and helps scale serverless applications in large organizations.

…and that’s what happened Last Week in AWS.

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