Welcome to the Eighth issue of Last Week in AWS.

If this week’s newsletter title makes sense to you, congratulations; you’re apparently on the side of righteousness. A holy pronunciation war of the “gif vs jif” variety has come to Amazon Web Services this week, in the form of this explosive tweet. If AMIs are really pronounced “ah-mees,” I need to question everything I thought I knew about AWS. While I’m doing that…

Community Contributions

I missed this when it first came out, but here’s a writeup on how to measure throughput of Zookeeper in EC2. If you try this yourself, be sure to consider a few of the “interesting” edge cases you can run across in EC2; one instance doesn’t always perform the same way as another.

A step by step guide on how to figure out what the story is with intermittent 500 errors on ELBs, at Troubleshooting Unusual AWS ELB 5XX Errors.

Where was this Hassle-Free Python Lambda Deployment when I was struggling with deploying my first Lambda function a few weeks ago?

Cloudonaut returns with a fantastic primer on AWS security concepts.

I’m deeply interested in AWS’s Snowmobile, so a post by the only company on record as a snowmobile customer is like catnip to me. Just think; once upon a time we worried about thieves driving a truck into the datacenter and stealing our data. Now there’s a datacenter in a truck that might someday drive into you.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to AWS ECS and Docker – A fantastic high level explanation of running Docker in AWS, with a link to a step-by-step guide for those who want it.

Choice Cuts From the AWS Blog

Elastic Load Balancing: Account Limits API – You can now expose account limits via API, but only for load balancers. Yay? For a more reasonable solution to this problem that works across the rest of AWS’s product line, see Trusted Advisor, or the Tools section below in this week’s newsletter.

AWS Organizations now makes it easier to view email addresses of member accounts in your organization – Chalk this one up as a fix for a problem that never should have existed in the first place; you now can see what email address is registered with an AWS account that you’re paying for.

New – USASpending.gov on an Amazon RDS Snapshot – A full dump of federal spending is now available as an RDS snapshot. I’m slightly amused that RDS can be used to analyze the entire federal budget, but analyzing your own AWS bill is considered a big data problem crying out for RedShift.

AWS is Streaming Live on Twitch – Hat tip to the Amazon employees willing to code on a livestream; I can’t even do live demos at conferences without screwing it up half the time.

Migrating Oracle Database from On-Premises or Amazon EC2 Instances to Amazon Redshift – This one is fascinating to me just because the idea of migrating off of Oracle’s Data Warehouse is traditionally unthinkable to many shops– it’s a massive undertaking. Some of the rough edges of the AWS Database Migration Service have been sanded off, making this a viable strategy for companies considering consolidating their database vendors.


It requires a paid support account, but awslimitschecker is handy to figure out whether or not you’re about to smack into an AWS account limit– before your deploy fails and you’re frantically trying to get a limit increase before things break. If you aren’t paying for support, you’re stuck with Trusted Advisor and its optional weekly limit emails, which you should probably enable.

While it’s not strictly-speaking a tool, Three time-saving AWS command-line tricks has a few handy tips in one place to help you make better use of your existing tooling.

Tip of the Week

As mentioned in a previous weekly tip, you can tag most resources in your environment with up to 50 tags. Among other things, this comes in handy for billing purposes. You might be interested to know that you can tag snapshots of EBS volumes, but they won’t show up on the detailed billing report. To quote the relevant caveat at the bottom of the cost allocation report documentation, “Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) snapshot charges cannot be allocated, even though Amazon EBS volume charges can be allocated.” Usually the cost of snapshots isn’t a significant figure unless you’re doing something rather strange, but this might help explain some of the “unallocated” portion of your monthly cost allocation reports.

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

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