Good Morning!

Welcome to issue 211 of Last Week in AWS, wherein I kick the tires on a redesigned / simpler email theme. Let me know what you think!

My mother’s in town this week, so expect me to spend more time than usual shitposting on Twitter about family things.

From the Community

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In news that only attorneys and software engineers LARPing as attorneys really care about, Grafana was relicensed to AGPLv3. AWS has a commercial relationship with Grafana Labs and is unaffected by the news as per their CEO’s post.

“Hacker” “News” discusses the developer experience woes of AWS Lambda (business model: Uber for Spackling cloud services together). Hackernews immediately begins opining on how much better the mainframe era was, shilling various third party tools that purport to solve Lambda’s woes, and comparing other cloud providers. Later, an Amazon shows up to shill SAM as if it were Rust. No business problems are discussed.

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels updated his personal website at long last–it’s now readable on mobile!

Azure ejected one of their MVPs (think AWS Heroes but for another ecosystem) after he broke NDA to share an email wherein Microsoft pushed their MVPs to trumpet how AWS is 5x more expensive than Azure for some Microsoft workloads. That talking point always bugged me; the price difference exists because of license restrictions on MS SQL server, not some magical economic or performance advantage inherent to Azure. It’s directly equivalent to “use our software on another cloud and we will make you pay through the nose for it.” Compete on features, not license tricks from yesteryear. Azure is better than this.

A guest post by Alex Chan is up on the Last Week in AWS blog: What is Amazon Athena? An Introduction and Walkthrough

Werner Vogels opines on the Past, Present, and Future of S3.

I poked around ⁣Quadzig a bit last week; unlike most random startup projects, it’s clear that this is a “show me an inventory of my AWS resources across regions and accounts” had significant thought put into it. It uses roles instead of IAM keys, it scales well to very large organizations, and it’s very clear about what it does and doesn’t do. The permissions list is freely viewable, so there’s no surprise later about what it’s able to see. I like it, and look forward to seeing where it goes next.


If you’ve got an interesting job for this newsletter’s eminently employable subscribers, get in touch!

Chronosphere — which provides cloud-native monitoring that SCALES and gives you back control to keep cost and data growth reasonable — is hiring like crazy. This week we’re highlighting their Senior Sales Engineer opening. This person will partner with an account executive on owning the technical sales strategy and execution for enterprise opportunities, demonstrating to customers the power and value of Chronosphere, and guiding their monitoring and observability solutions.

AWS is building something new and refreshingly different–and may I say, it’s certainly ambitious! It’s still very, very early days–and the service needs to get from where it is today all the way to general availability, otherwise I won’t get to make fun of it. Help me entertain you– if you’re a senior engineering manager with a penchant for assembling really large engineering teams in a very early stage product, you want to talk to AWS about this “manager of managers” role.

Think “GitHub for marketing teams” and you’d be pretty close to describing Loomly. They’re looking for someone to take ownership of and lead their DevOps/SRE efforts–and that person might well be you. They’re fully remote, post their salary ranges, and using a bunch of AWS services. I’m a fan of what I’ve seen from them so far; see if this role is up your alley.

Choice Cuts

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Amazon EMR Studio is now generally available – “You can log in without using the AWS console” is a headline feature. That’s both a great feature, and actively sad that it’s such a boon to customers.

Amazon RDS on VMware networking now simplified and more secure – “You don’t need to have a VPN back to AWS anymore; it speaks via HTTPS instead” is the actual change.

Amazon SageMaker announces a price reduction by up to 14% on instances and SageMaker Savings Plans with up to 64% cost saving – SageMaker of course goes off and does its own thing rather than integrating with the overarching Savings Plan. This is ill-considered. Take the classic example of RDS and EC2, with separate Reserved Instance options. If you were running your databases on top of EC2, and wanted to stop managing them yourself by moving to RDS, you were economically “trapped” because you’d already committed to the EC2 instances you were using. I greatly dislike reservation commitments precluding the best architectural options. Consider that folks who were doing Machine Learning experiments on EC2 can’t just pass that discounting on when they use SageMaker; this choice will in some cases preclude SageMaker adoption.

Announcing general availability of Amazon Redshift native console integration with partners – Ads for third party services continue to appear in the AWS console; no word yet on getting a link to The Duckbill Group in the billing console.

AWS Cloud9 now supports Amazon Linux 2 environments – Three and a half years after it was announced, Amazon Linux 2 expands into the new market of… a product team that lives down the hall from them.

AWS Control Tower now provides configurable naming during Landing Zone setup – AWS admits that they’re terrible at naming things, and solves it in the most Amazonian way possible: making it the customer’s problem.

As IT becomes decentralized, the gulf between operations and applications teams keeps getting wider, putting your application performance at risk. In my session at the Apps ON Cloud Summit, hosted by Turbonomic, I’ll share what I’ve learned from being in the room for far too many heated arguments and give you my best tips for addressing cultural silos.

In other sessions you’ll hear from Kelsey Hightower, Ned Bellavance, and Jo Peterson, who are sure to have different opinions about problem solving than I do.

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You now can use AWS CloudTrail to log Amazon DynamoDB Streams data-plane API activity – DynamoDB Streams itself effectively logs DynamoDB data-plane API activity as the core definition of what the service is and does, so now it’s turtles all the way down.

Reduce Operational Load using AWS Managed Services for your Data Solutions – “Running cloud services adds toil, let AWS run them for you” is almost identical to the original pitch for moving workloads out of your data centers and into AWS itself.

Monitoring and troubleshooting with Amazon Chime SDK meeting events – It took some close reading of this article to realize that “meeting events” means something very different to the Chime SDK team than it does the rest of the world.

Anomaly Detection in Amazon WorkSpaces – While the cheap shot is “using Amazon WorkSpaces itself is basically an anomaly,” I really like the service and wish more people knew it existed.

Introducing AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio support for AWS SSO and Assume Role with MFA – Slowly but surely the developer ecosystem is recovering from the “Multiple AWS accounts now recommended” blast almost a decade ago.

Offer employees flexible work arrangements while maintaining a secure game pipeline – I’m glad that Amazon is making public posts about how to better accommodate employees.

Perform medical transcription analysis in real-time with AWS AI services and Twilio Media Streams – I misread “Twilio” as “Twitch” and wondered what the blue hell kind of livestream medical diagnosis the youth were up to now.

AWS CloudTrail Best Practices – And not once is “have one trail for management events, then filter those results and send duplicates elsewhere via other means unless you enjoy paying $2.00 per 100,000 management events starting with the second trail” mentioned.

How the cloud is helping remove barriers to addressing climate change – AWS has an entire marketing page that’s specific to helping oil and gas companies, but sure; go off.


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Netflix’s consoleme is getting pretty nice at managing permissions and access cross-account.

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

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