Welcome to issue number 123 of Last Week in AWS.

Saturday was Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison’s 75th birthday, so I made a video just for him. It smacks him pretty hard, but by far my favorite feedback so far was that people think I’m joking when I say he’s 75. Evil never dies, so here’s to another 75, Larry.

From the Community

Ever wondered why your CEO doesn’t give a toss about technical debt? The folks at Raygun set out to learn why, interviewing the executive leadership at Xero, Pushpay, and Vend to find out what’s really going on and how they think about engineering effort and software quality. Sponsored

A thoughtful post on why a VPC is like the London Underground. There’s nowhere near enough sarcastic Tube references for my tastes, though.

Atlassian uses an internal PaaS to control AWS access. Watch them justify the antipattern in this post.

A fun discussion about the collaboration between Engineering and Finance to tackle AWS spend. Think “FinOps without the stupid name / single third-party vendor focus.”

It would have been handy to see this when trying to map NVMe devices to blocks.

An AWS smackdown fight: Terraform vs. CloudFormation!

AWSgeek Jerry Hargrove is back with another summary of a service, this time AWS Lake Formation.

I wrote an analysis about how Microsoft’s license changes screw over its customers and Azure Advocates alike.

A pair of morons have sued Apple for secretly using cloud hosting services instead of running their own bespoke datacenters exclusively. With proper encryption, who owns the spinning disks isn’t relevant to anything except a procurement department; their argument that “if customers had known this they’d just buy S3 services themselves instead of iCloud” is laughable.


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

I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time. If I were to mention the AWS Commerce Platform, you’d shrug and figure it was some obscure division out of some satellite office. What if instead I told you that it was the department that handles all of the AWS billing system? That they work on petabyte-scale systems that do stream processing? That if you work in this team you get to feel the brunt of my slings and arrows more directly? There are incredibly gifted people working on ridiculously hard problems on this team. I suggest you check them out.

X-Team is hiring for a fully remote team, anywhere on the planet. The work is interesting, they partner with companies you’ve heard of, and you can work from wherever you care to be. Now before you wind up getting cynical, let me save you some time–I already did, and hopped on a phone call to chat with them and then berate them for their crappy culture. Instead I was pleasantly surprised: they invest in their people (including a personal development stipend), they have distributed community events (both online and in person around the world), and actually work with their employees; this isn’t a “send us a postcard if you ever get there” body shop. They’re looking for folks with AWS skills, as well as a wide variety of other technical abilities; this is legit. Take my word for it; join X-Team and see for yourself. Tell them Corey sent you…

Do you want to work in the Bay Area? Almost certainly not; the people are insufferable here. Consider instead staying wherever the hell in the US you happen to be and talking to Truss, a software consultancy. Picture all of the advice that I’d give you, and now envision that wrapped in something you could tell a customer without getting punched right in your sarcastic mouth. That’s what Truss does, but they for some unknown reason don’t describe it that way. Currently, they are seeking Senior Software Engineers anywhere in the US (yes, even the crappy parts) to help them with commercial and government contracts. Seriously, read this thing–they tell you what levels they’re looking to hire at AND THEN THEY EXPLAIN THEM SO YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE A MORON FOR NOT KNOWING THEIR INTERNAL RUBRIC! Virtually any other hiring manager who happens to be reading this should look at their job descriptions and feel comparatively ashamed.

Choice Cuts

Alexa for Business customers can now manage how their data improves Amazon’s Services – Whiny customers apparently don’t want recordings of their strategy sessions being sent directly to Amazon for some unfathomable reason.

Amazon Athena now supports querying data from Amazon S3 Requester Pays Buckets – …in turn setting up a hilarious prank where people write blog posts that talk them through learning Athena, but incurring $50,000 in S3 charges.

Amazon EC2 now supports Diagnostic Interrupts – “This is bad, some of our EC2 instances are kernel panicking. What do we do?” “Call it a feature!”

Amazon Elasticsearch Services announces support for Elasticsearch versions 6.8 and 7.1 – …along with continuing distrust for Open Distro for ElasticSearch, seeing as how that was intended more as a shot across Elastic’s bow than anything a human being might want to actually use.

Amazon Kinesis Data Analytics Announces Full Unicode Support – It’s amazing how many bugs you can force AWS to fix if all of your variables, resource names, column names, and security group identifiers are simply emoji.

Amazon Managed Blockchain now supports AWS CloudFormation – This is simply a “nice to have,” since the folks who care about process, well run infrastructures, and repeatable provisioning almost certainly aren’t screwing around with blockchain.

Amazon Neptune is Now Available in the AWS GovCloud (US-West) Region – This would be more impressive if the Planet Neptune were available in the AWS GovCloud US-West region.

Amazon RDS now supports Oracle Database 18c – Customers now support Oracle screwing the hell off with their license audits.

Amazon Rekognition improves Face Analysis – “We don’t sell Rekognition to ICE” states Amazon unequivocally. Instead of being taken as something comforting, apparently AWS takes that as a sales challenge and released “improved age range detection” and “fear detection” in an effort to tempt them to become customers. You may argue that this release commentary isn’t funny. You’re correct; it really, really isn’t. Is this who we are?

AWS App Mesh now supports routing based on HTTP headers and specifying route priorities – And App Mesh continues to catch up with other service meesh.

AWS CodeBuild adds Support for Amazon Linux 2 – It took over a year to convince the General Manager of AWS CodeBuild that “Amazon Linux 2” wasn’t a prank. This is what I get for the practical jokes I’ve pulled…

AWS RoboMaker now supports log-based simulation, event driven simulation termination, and simulation event tagging – Which is funny if we’re all in a simulation ourselves.

AWS Site-to-Site VPN now Supports Certificate Authentication – Good news, your site-to-site VPNs can now expire!

AWS Step Functions Adds Support for Nested Workflows – Behold as the Step Function invokes itself!

AWS Support API Now Available in AWS GovCloud (US) – This replaces the old method of getting support in GovCloud, which entailed writing your congressperson.

Amazon CloudFront announces new Edge location in Israel – This is their first infrastructure location in the country; having been there and witnessed the abysmal internet speeds to the rest of the world, I’m optimistic that this the first announcement of many.

Introducing the new AWS Co-Branding Guide – The guide originally wasn’t behind a login-required link, until the internet started making fun of it. The Seven Things You Can’t Say at re:Invent include multi-cloud, calling yourself an AWS partner, disparaging AWS, mentioning other cloud vendors, implying AWS is expensive or insecure, claiming you’re the first to do something, or saying your solution runs “in” AWS.

New AWS Training Courses Teach APN Partners to Better Help Their Customers – …while taking care not to mention multi-cloud, competitors, speak disparagingly of AWS, talk about on-premises workloads, or imply partnership with AWS.

New Capacity-Optimized Allocation Strategy for Provisioning Amazon EC2 Spot Instances – This makes it way less fun for the Spot team to watch capacity erode under your workloads, thus dooming them. It’s a win for customers though.

Amazon Prime Day 2019 – Powered by AWS | AWS News Blog – Suspiciously missing is any mention of the economic angle on something like this. I ran some back-of-the-envelope numbers and while it’s not cheap, it’s definitely incredibly reasonable for the traffic volume, and roughly what you’d spend in a given weekend if you unceremoniously checked your AWS credentials into a public GitHub repository.


If you have to work with multiple AWS accounts in the console, this firefox container may help out.

provisionpad is a handy CLI tool that spins up EC2 instances for development, then turns them off. It integrates well with VS Code, as well as other, lesser editors.

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

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