Good morning!

Welcome to issue number 84 of Last Week in AWS.

If you have an A Cloud Guru subscription and/or wonder what I look and sound like, check out one of my new pasttimes; this week I review Systems Manager Session Manager. If you don’t have a subscription, you should probably buy one; it’s well worth it even without my ridiculous nonsense.

I’m in Australia this week to speak at LatencyConf in Perth, but I’m speaking Tuesday evening at the InfraCoders Melbourne meetup if you’ll be around. I promise not to be dull.For those of you on the other side of the planet…

DigitalOcean’s TIDE SF conference is in town this week! I’m bummed I won’t be able to attend; I’m in Australia instead. If you’re around San Francisco, you should absolutely attend; the speakers and panelists are incredible. TIDE SF: The Power Of Simplicity

Community Contributions

A fantastic guide to re:Invent, from the perspective of someone who survived it.

In case you weren’t aware, I’m an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. My reasoning might not be what you’d expect; there’s a hidden re:Invent tip!

I’m incredibly annoyed with the complicated structure required just to spit out EC2 instance pricing. If you are too and want to fix that as an open source project with me, hit reply and let me know.

A collaboration between Jerry Hargrove and Maish Saidel-Keesing, a set of Visio stencils for AWS from the community. “But why?” you ask. After all, there are official stencil sets available. Simply put: these convey a sense of character, a humanizing touch that the official stencil sets simply lack.

If you’re looking to fill your re:Invent schedule, consider the excellent developer community track. (No, this isn’t self-promotional; I’m not giving a formal track talk this year). There are still slots available for most of these sessions!

AWS has now taken ownership of the; for those who don’t speak CIDR notation that represents 16,777,214 usable IPv4 addresses. That’s… a decent chunk of the internet.

I caught up with Adam Johnson of IOpipe on Screaming in the Cloud last week; Episode 35: Metered Pricing: Everyone Hates That! Charge Based on Value.

Choice Cuts From the AWS Blog

Amazon API Gateway Adds Support for AWS WAF – The “architecture of tomorrow” gets the Internet defense technology of 1999.

Amazon EC2 Spot Console now Provides Access to Spot Savings Information – It still baffles me that this wasn’t a launch feature. I’m a consultant who focuses on optimizing and understanding the AWS bill; it would never occur to me to complete a client engagement and not tell them how much money I’d saved them. If your service saves people money, TELL THEM ABOUT IT!

Amazon Aurora with PostgreSQL Compatibility Supports IAM Authentication – Having used IAM authentication for RDS previously, this is a wonderful thing until you hit an undocumented rate limit somewhere and then it’s a terrible thing oh no the site is down shut it off shut it off shut it off!

Amazon EC2 H1 Instances are Now Available in Additional Availability Zones in the US East (N. Virginia) AWS Region – I don’t normally comment on region expansions, but this one’s a bit of a special case. It highlights that not every service is available in every AZ of a given region. Let’s also not forget that naming isn’t consistent between accounts; my us-east-1a could easily be your us-east-1d (which means that my warning you to avoid us-east-1c because it’s a tire fire is completely meaningless; that only holds true in my account). As a result, the current state is that there are some services that you simply can’t spin up in a particular AZ in your account–and you’ll only realize that after you’ve built out significant existing infrastructure that now has a core component that has to live elsewhere (and incur data transfer charges). Please fix this, AWS.

Amazon Pinpoint announces support for transactional emails and the addition of rich email analytics dashboards – As someone who writes an email newsletter, this is interesting to me. That said, when someone asked me if I’d ever considered using Pinpoint for this newsletter, my response was “what the heck is Pinpoint, are you making up services again?” It’s real, but it still feels a bit more “aimed at mobile apps than email newsletters” for the time being. That said, I’m attentively watching this space.

Amazon Route 53 Releases Interactive Map for Traffic Flow Geoproximity Routing – A designer for how you want traffic to flow geographically? Sign me up! Even if I have no use for this I still want it. It’s something that even non-technical people can look at and appreciate. Blog post with screenshots please!

Amazon S3 Management Console is Now Available in Five New Languages – Sorry, folks; “Rust” still isn’t one of them.

Amazon API Gateway Announces Tiered Pricing – Ugh. While this does save large API Gateway customers money, which I always approve of, this has an unfortunate side effect of yet again complicating the arithmetic behind “what will this service cost me to run.” Note to AWS: when we say “please fix the bill” we’re not asking for more variables.

AWS Key Management Service Has a New Console Experience – “Hey, by the way we’ve redesigned the console for the service you trust to secure your priceless corporate data. Just click through, it’s fine.”

Access Reserved Instance Purchase Recommendations for All of Your Linked Accounts From a Central Location – Holy crap, you mean I don’t have to undertake a scavenger hunt reminiscent of the Legend of Zelda in order to get sane purchase recommendations anymore?! Did someone lose a bet?

New AWS CloudFormation Management Console Now Available – A complete redesign of the thing you use to manage YAML and JSON files is probably not hugely impactful, but I do confess I like the new shiny even so.

AWS Security Profiles: Becky Weiss, Senior Principal Engineer | AWS Security Blog – I’m really hoping I get to attend one of Becky’s sessions this year. She’s obviously incredibly good at what she does (“Senior Principal Engineer” at AWS is something like two levels below “can set things on fire merely by thinking about them hard enough”), but beyond that her service (IAM) is a marvel of engineering. Despite my complaints about some of the IAM model, there’s no disputing that it’s a top-flight service, and one of only two AWS services of which I’m aware that feature a 100% SLA.

New Podcast: Preview the security track at re:Invent, learn what’s new and maximize your time | AWS Security Blog – For those of you with an auditory bent, this podcast may make for decent listening. It’s always fascinating to me to see how AWS folks describe re:Invent; it gives clues into how they perceive the conference from the inside.

New Lower-Cost, AMD-Powered M5a and R5a EC2 Instances | AWS News Blog – It hasn’t been Intel’s month. First Apple snubs them during a keynote, and now AWS is actively pushing AMD instances that cost less. This is either incredibly thoughtless, or incredibly shrewd. It’s a direct shot across Intel’s bow, one of only four “Emerald” (or “top”) tier sponsors for re:Invent. Is this because they didn’t buy two of those sponsor offerings? Is this trying to get AMD (a paltry “Bronze” level sponsor, a level which still costs more than some houses) to step up its game? That would be like me talking in glowing, loving terms about some random continuous delivery vendor, but then telling you…

This issue has been generously sponsored by GoCD, from ThoughtWorks. CI/CD doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive; the community version is always free, while they offer enterprise offerings as your company matures to the point of needing such things. Give GoCD a test drive and see what you think–and remember to let me know about your experiences with them, too! Thanks again for their continuing support of this newsletter.

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

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