Good morning!

Welcome to issue number 88 of Last Week in AWS.

Apologies on the late issue this week. I’m recovering from re:Invent by spending the next week or so on vacation in London. Short of AWS getting acquired outright, I don’t care what happens to cloud computing for the next seven days. re:Invent was too much cloud!A great dive into the value of increasing your deployment frequency comes to us from ThoughtWorks’s GoCD. If you’re looking to get actionable metrics out of your deployment pipeline, this article series is well worth your time to investigate. Thanks to GoCD for their continuing support of this newsletter.

Community Contributions

We begin with a personal favorite “unheralded hero:” Jennine Townsend has a wonderfully opinionated guest post on Eric Hammond’s Alestic blog highlighting some notable AWS re:invent sessions.

“Build a URL shortening service” used to be a toy problem I’d mention to candidates in interview and then spend half an hour discussing architecture, now it’s a serverless blog post that takes less time to actually implement. The world sure has changed… Note that this was a discussion problem, not an actual assignment. Good lord.

Someone’s already gotten Android running in AWS on top of the new EC2 A1 instances. They’re not just ARM powered, they’re named after America’s most popular brand of steak sauce.

I provided some feedback on a demo app that AWS published. Apparently the joke wasn’t obvious enough.

A curated list of Lambda Layers for your monstrosity-building pleasure.

Paul Johnston begins the work of setting out best practices for Lambda Layers and Custom Runtimes.

How Netflix prevents credential compromise in AWS, or “what your boss will tell you you should do later this week while ignoring that Netflix has orders of magnitude more resources and different constraints than you do.”

“Forgotten more about AWS than the rest of us will ever know” James Hamilton discusses the new AWS designed processor: Graviton.

A first look at how the lost-in-the-noise-of-reInvent drift detection in Cloudformationworks.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy shared his thoughts on the future of AWS. No, not in the keynote; in an interview.

I’ve offered a free service to AWS; I’ll give each new service name a 30 second reviewbefore it gets shipped, in an effort to spare us all a whole lot of grief.

Lessons learned on Working with AWS Limits from RealSelf.

I was listed as “Serverless Star of the Week” by Jeremy Daly’s latest Off-by-nonenewsletter issue, so his family will be released unharmed as agreed.

Just in time for the holidays – DigitalOcean is giving the gift of $500 in credits for those interested in joining their agency partner program to try out their platform. See how DO can help your clients simplify their infrastructure while saving them money, get the scoop on some of the perks, and apply here:

Choice Cuts From the AWS Blog

Announcing Amazon Aurora Global Database – Writes are still bound to a single region, but we’ll allow calling this a Global Database for the time being. I suppose. It’s no Google Cloud Spanner, but I’d bet you a car that this service sticks around longer.

Introducing AWS License Manager – A rare perfectly-named service, I suppose AWS figures that if you have to deal with the pain of software license issues you at least deserve a service to help you with it.

Amazon EBS Increases Performance of General Purpose SSD (gp2) Volumes – …and eliminates even more use cases in which you’d want provisioned IOPS. Seriously; use larger gp2 volumes and save roughly 2/3.

Amazon ECR Console Version 2 – For those wondering if the service is real, it is; it’s a Docker Private Repository that somehow manages to have a worse name.

Amazon MQ Introduces Support for PCI and ISO Compliance Programs – This is incredibly handy for those of you in regulated environments. Until now you’ve only been able to use fourteen other message-passing AWS services.

Amazon Pinpoint Announces a New Email Deliverability Dashboard to Help Customers Reach their Users’ Inboxes – The service you didn’t realize sent email now lets you know how well your email deliverabilty works. While interesting for this newsletter, I’m not super interested in increasing what I pay Sendgrid by 10x. Maybe next year…

Amazon Virtual Private Clouds can now be shared with other AWS Accounts – That loud, wet “SNAP” you just heard was your fragile understanding of how VPCs work stretched past its breaking point.

Announcing 15 Free Digital Training Courses on New AWS Services Launched at re:Invent 2018 – Education is always a good thing, but if you need a full on course to come up to speed on a new service, perhaps you may wish to consider whether or not that service is going to help your business directly.

AWS CloudFormation macros can now be used in templates with nested stacks – The not-very-straightforward CloudFormation becomes even less so. Once you wrap your head around this update it’s convenient, but there’s a bit of a learning cliff here.

AWS Database Migration Service Adds Support for Parallel Full Load and Enhanced LOB Migration – “Now that migrations work well, let’s focus on making them faster” is approximately the correct order of operations here.

AWS Server Migration Service Adds Support for Multi-Server Migration – “So you run this tool, yes? And it migrates your server. It’s simple; now you try. Very good! Now run it ten thousand times.” is no longer the stuff that some poor intern’s Summer of Hell is made of.

AWS X-Ray Adds the Ability to Group Traces by Root Cause – …and sparks a holy war about the term “Root Cause” amongst the Human Factors crowd.

Introducing Amazon EC2 P3dn Instances, Our Most Powerful GPU Instance Yet – Conveniently named after a full dump of its firmware, “p3dn.24xlarge” just rolls off the tongue.


Points for the evocative name; cfripper rips apart a CloudFormation template and checks it for security compliance.

Building new and exciting interfaces on top of KMS isn’t for everyone, but rkms is a good stab at it.

cloud9-nativefier runs Cloud9 as a native MacOS app–wait. Isn’t that just vim, SublimeText, or a terminal?

If you want to find the closest AWS region, consider the appropriately-named aws-closest-region.

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

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