Good Morning!

Welcome to issue 157 of Last Week in AWS. In hiring news, this week we welcome our newest full time employee Pete Cheslock. If you haven’t heard of Pete yet, are you ever in for a treat.

Another week, another AWS bill jousting tournament. If yours is causing you trouble, hit reply; thrilled to help if I can.

From the Community

In the beginning open source solutions are great. You can’t beat free… especially when OS gives devs flexibility & helps the community. But that’s the beginning… how much will free cost as you scale?

In The Open Source Observability Landscape, see the costs & benefits of popular tools Jaeger, Prometheus, & ELK. Learn how Honeycomb coexists with these to provide critical observability when you scale. Sponsored

Silvia Botors (dbsmasher) announces that she’ll be writing the next version of the seminal book High Performance MySQL. This is a must-buy. Man, what is it with database books this week?

This week’s S3 Bucket Negligence Award features half a million credit reports, bank statements, contracts, legal documents, driver’s license copies, purchase orders and receipts, tax returns, Social Security information and transaction reports. “That’s cute” scoffs Equifax.

AWS themselves just started Folding–that’s Folding-the-protein-folding-project, not Folding as in “pulling a Google and turning AWS off.”

Forrest Brazeal wrote about what happens when companies find their VPNs melting, and made the egregious error of asking me for my thoughts. Virtual desktops are here.

If you’ve uploaded government IDs, NRA membership cards, medical marijuana ID cards, credit card numbers, CVV numbers, or medical insurance cards to a digital wallet application called “Key Ring,” you’re one of the victims of this week’s S3 Bucket Negligence Award. Sorry!

Friend of the Newsletter and NoSQL scholar Alex DeBrie has released The DynamoDB Book. I say this as someone with no financial stake in whether Alex thrives or starves to death in the street: it’s an amazing book and you should buy it.

The Information did a piece on Azure’s capacity woes, and picked it up. Normally that’d not be relevant to this newsletter, but I do so love seeing my own name in print so of course I’m linking to it.

Pulumi talks about how their product is addressing controlling AWS cost visibility.

Someone on Reddit’s r/datahoarder subreddit decided to play with a Snowball Edge (motto: “look up neither of those words on Urban Dictionary!”), or as they refer to it: a 100TB miniature jet engine.


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

No one likes managing EC2 instances, so you might like managing the team that replaces them with containers. That’s right, the Fargate team is hiring three Software Development Managers. People-focused servant-leaders are encouraged to apply. Help bring about an end to the Serverless vs. Containers war that doesn’t need to be fought in the first place. One last point: every team at AWS has internal principles that embody their culture, but this team publishes theirs on GitHub. I wonder how they’d take pull requests?

Choice Cuts

I get to ask a bunch of questions to Scalyr’s CEO on 4/23/20 at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT in the form of a webcast titled Logging at Scale: What Does Your Data Weigh?. Sign up and see if I can figure out what logging is, and misuse it as something worse! Sponsored

Amazon Cognito Identity Pools now supports Sign in with Apple – Fear not, Cognito as a whole continues to support Sign In With Six Straight Hours of Frustration Trying To Get It To Work.

Amazon Detective is now available in the US West (N. California) Region – Hard-boiled detective stories now come to the Bay Area.

Amazon DynamoDB global tables are now available in the AWS China (Beijing) Region, operated by Sinnet, and the AWS China (Ningxia) Region, operated by NWCD – I’m just going to point out the irony of referring to something as a “global table” but still restricting which regions it can exist within.

Amazon EMR announces EMR release 6.0.0 with new major versions of Hadoop, Hive, HBase, Amazon Linux 2, and support for Docker – This is exciting news: if you’re running Hadoop, just wait until you hear about this exciting brand new technology called Docker!

Amazon EMR is now available in the AWS Local Zone in Los Angeles – A reminder that first, the Local Zone in LA is a thing. Secondly, you probably don’t want to use it unless you have specific latency requirements that it can meet–it’s just not as durable as a standard region with its usual availability zones. I have loud angry thoughts on this that I’ll have to go into some depth on soon.

Amazon Managed Blockchain now supports Amazon CloudWatch Logs – You’d normally of course store the logs within Managed Blockchain itself, but let’s not kid ourselves: logs are actually important, and you need to store them somewhere that isn’t patently ridiculous.

Amazon Managed Cassandra Service now enables you to manage access to resources based on tags – Yet another service sees “the thing you use to organize your resources” become a latent security risk.

Amazon Managed Cassandra Service (preview) now helps you coordinate increments and decrements to column values by using counters – I wonder if I can misuse this feature to avoid having to write my own atomic counter logic with DynamoDB?

Amazon Personalize now provides scores for recommended items – …and you can see how very well it must work, given the amazing quality and discriminating selection available under the “Amazon’s Choice” offering on their e-commerce side.

Amazon QuickSight dashboards are now denser with slick look and feel – Well that’s certainly an interesting corporate voice AWS is using. I’d have gone with “the QuickSight UI team has finally come to accept that 1998 is well and truly over.”

Amazon RDS now supports MariaDB 10.4 – MariaDB is incredibly important to a lot of folks I talk to, specifically because it doesn’t give me the opportunity to pronounce “SQL “as “Squeal” like MySQL and PosgreSQL do.

Amazon RDS Proxy with PostgreSQL Compatibility (Preview) – PostgreSQL gets to fulfill its primary function once again: getting the same features other database engines already have.

Amazon Redshift now supports changing node types within minutes with elastic resize – Wow. With “pause and resume,” “quick changes between node types,” and “pay for what you use” billing, it seems that Amazon Redshift may be starting to embrace this whole “cloud’ thing.

Amazon Textract now reads Checkboxes and other Selection Elements more accurately – Well that’s certainly a feature. I wonder how far we are from it recognizing hand-drawn emoji?

Amplify CLI adds support for additional Lambda runtimes (Java, Go, .NET and Python) and Lambda cron jobs – …but still spits out frontend components entirely in Javascript, so you won’t escape that particular language so easily.

Amplify Framework announces new, rearchitected UI Component and modular JavaScript libraries – There have been so many Amplify incremental feature enhancements that they’re starting to drown each other out–and I just figured out why it’s called “Amplify.”

Announcing the ability to run Windows Server license included instances on EC2 Dedicated Hosts – I have no idea if this is good or bad, because I spend my time solving actual technical problems instead of playing slap and tickle with Microsoft licensing terms.

Announcing support for fine-grained IAM permissions for PrivateLink interface endpoints – Yay, a release for all of us to ignore in favor of wildcarding the permissions because we got tired of fighting with them in order to make our apps work.

AWS DeepLens launches new tutorials website and adds supports for Python 3 – Man, I haven’t thought about the DeepLens in ages, despite having one on my shelf. Nice to see it’s supporting a semi-modern version of Python too.

AWS Fargate launches Platform Version 1.4 – AWS only ever gives one of their platforms a version number when they’re exposing a choice for you to make. In this oddball release, “LATEST” uses 1.3.0, but you can explicitly select 1.4.0 too.

AWS Migration Hub now automatically tags migration results for cost tracking – Okay, this is huge provided it’s implemented like it should have been implemented. I’ll let you know after my next customer migration.

Create Amazon MSK clusters with T3 brokers for less than $2.50/day – Nice try, AWS Marketing, but I have a 3rd grade level of arithmetic: these cost $75 per month each.

Introducing Amazon Chime Proxy Phone Sessions – Disposable phone numbers to connect people are handy–particularly now that we’re seeing a renaissance in people talking to one another on the phone. Something like this can help curb abuse if implemented properly!

New AWS Elastic Beanstalk console now available – “Goldilocks and the Three Elastic Beanstalk Consoles” was a really messed up fairy tale that my toddler did NOT enjoy.

New Trailhead Training Content: Learn the AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials – The more we stay inside, the more AWS’s naming becomes evocative of the great outdoors. Cloud Practitioner’s a great cert for folks looking to get a baseline understanding of what AWS is and does; I have one myself. It’s the only cert I have.

Support for Queue hopping now available with AWS Elemental MediaConvert – The service can now cut in line; you’ll still get punched in the face if you try this yourself at the grocery store.

Amazon Elastic Container Service now supports Amazon EFS file systems | AWS News Blog – Way to bury the lede here: suddenly ECS tasks and Fargate get persistent storage. Yes, yes, there may be performance issues for some workloads and it’s not as picturesque a unicorn as you may have wished for, but this unlocks a host of new abilities and workloads for which containers frankly weren’t an option.

New – Accelerate SAP Deployments with AWS Launch Wizard | AWS News Blog – Helpful tip: “Ess Ay Pee” is how the product is pronounced; “sap” is what they call the folks who pay list price for SAP.

A public data lake for analysis of COVID-19 data | AWS Big Data Blog – I checked into this, and I say this non-snarkily: this data set is free. AWS is picking up the storage, transfer, and request charges. Please do something good with it–and by “something good,” I mean things that actual doctors agree would be helpful, not rando VCs posting on Medium things that they think are helpful.

Under the hood: AWS Fargate data plane | Containers – This post explains what goes on under the hood with Fargate; in other words, it explains why you don’t want to be a cloud provider.

Automate RDS Aurora Snapshots for disaster recovery | AWS Management & Governance Blog – But before you do, please stop for a minute and consider something. If your database (and thus your entire site / company) were wiped off of the internet, would the internet be better off for it? If the answer is yes, please disregard everything in this post.


Running a business is hard. Your cloud doesn’t have to be. DigitalOcean is the cloud that offers transparent, predictable pricing – even for Kubernetes clusters, which you’d have thought was impossible! You also won’t need 12 weeks of cloud school to absorb a zillion ancillary services just to be able to SSH into an instance. Is this the kind of simplicity you need out of your cloud provider? Check out DigitalOcean today. Sponsored

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned troposphere, a python library to manage CloudFormation effectively. Think of it like the CDK but without the constant upheaval.

budget limiter is a CloudFormation template to limit spend on AWS resources based on a tag, and then optionally stops compute instances at predefined thresholds.

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

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