Good morning!

Welcome to issue number 69 of Last Week in AWS.

Last week was a triumph– in Wednesday’s episode of Screaming in the Cloud, I got to speak with AWS’s own Jeff Barr. We chatted about Workspaces, I needled him for his incorrect pronunciation of “AMI,” and we explored the nature of the Dogs of AWS. It’s worth a listen.

Amazon’s quarterly earnings came out last week, showing $6.1 billion in revenue for the quarter just from AWS. It would have been about $2 billion higher, but I’m reallygood at my job.This issue is sponsored by Cloudcraft. If you’re anything like me, your artistic abilities aren’t up to task, and you’ve got better things to do than scream and cry at Visio. Cloudcraft does the heavy lifting– a dynamic realtime view of your AWS resources, along with the connections between them. For example, the account that powers this newsletter looks like this (I’ll write a blog post explaining it one of these days): 

If you’ve got painful architectural diagramming issues, give Cloudcraft a try.


The inaugural REdeploy conference (exploring the intersections of resilient technology, organizations, and people) is coming to San Francisco this August. Last Week in AWS is proud to be a media sponsor. Coupon code LASTWEEK will get you 10% off of any ticket.

I’ll be at ServerlessConf all week. Sconf15offSHARE gets you a 15% discount on all tickets if you want to attend. This is not to be missed if you’ll be in San Francisco.

I’ve made gentle fun of EKS for while now, but I’m done being subtle about it: in association with my client ReactiveOps, I’ll be conducting an introductory training on EKS at AWS’s San Francisco office this Friday. Attendance is free, space is very limited. Register now, and bring your EKS questions.This week’s issue is also sponsored by DigitalOcean. If you’ve ever gone for a walk in the woods, tripped, fallen down a well, and weren’t sure you’d ever get out alive. This is, of course, a metaphor for attempting to understand the depths of Kubernetes networking. They’ve got a writeup that covers the topic in plain English, for which I’m eternally grateful. Thanks once again to DigitalOcean for their continuing support of this newsletter.

Community Contributions

This article series goes on a dive into using DeepLens to detect diesel vehicles. Be advised that while most articles about machine learning are all Greek to me, this article is in German. Translation may be required.

GrubHub (motto: “You’re hungry and lazy!”) gives us a peek at its cloud infrastructureand how it’s architected.

If you want Lambda functions that are able to talk to both the internet and the contents of a VPC, this setup guide will be invaluable to you. It’s harder than you think.

Several architectural decision points that arose when implementing DynamoDB makes for a well-drafted lessons learned post.

A former AWS employee talks candidly about Amazon’s culture of discomfort. It’s poignant, and speaks better than most thinkpieces about what really drives Amazon.

There’s a new hackathon– build serverless apps for Social Good. Gain fame and fortune, make the world a better place, and get featured in the glorious Serverless Application Repository. Many will enter, few will win.

Teaching Alexa sign language is one of those things that’s obvious in hindsight, but easy to overlook. Anything that makes technology more accessible to people is worth at least considering.

It turns out that calling my podcast “Screaming in the Cloud” was slightly ahead of its time.

A deep dive into the Snowball Edge for a fascinating and uplifting use case: on-site disaster response imagery.

Choice Cuts From the AWS Blog

Amazon EC2 Fleet Now Supports Two New Allocation Strategies: On-Demand Prioritized List, and Lowest Price – …and still fails to support Auto-Scaling groups. I’m sure nobody will notice or mind.

Amazon RDS now Provides Best Practice Recommendations – Clippy comes to RDS. “It looks like you’re creating a JOIN; would you like to drop a table accidentally along the way?”

Amazon Route 53 Expands Into Africa With New Edge Locations in Cape Town and Johannesburg – Wow. This marks the first time that I can recall where Route53 is called out publicly as having different edge locations than CloudFront. We now return to publicly calling out CloudFront in general.

New AWS Greengrass Version Deploys Executable Code Written in C, C++, and Other Languages That Import C Libraries, and More – Either you can now write Lambda functions for on-premise execution in C, or someone’s found a way to inject fake stories into my newsfeed.

AWS IoT Core and AWS IoT Device Management Now HIPAA Eligible – I’m assuming this means that you can now embed IoT technology inside of your body without regulatory issue.

AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store integrates with AWS Secrets Manager, and adds labeling for easy configuration updates – “Should I use Parameter Store or Secrets Manager” has now been answered with a resounding “yes.”

Elastic Load Balancing Announces Support for Redirects and Fixed Responses for Application Load Balancer – Translation: ALBs can now do redirects for you without disturbing your backend servers.

Introducing Amazon EC2 R5 Instances, the next generation of memory-optimized instances – Wow, that was fast. I didn’t even get time to deploy this :

Introducing the Serverless Bot Framework – This is of course not to be confused with the Serverless Framework, the Alexa Skills Kit or 15 other confusingly similarly named services.

Copying Amazon RDS Encrypted Snapshots across Regions now Completes Faster with Less Storage – Incremental improvements that make life better are what the majority of AWS feature enhancements are all about.

Thoughts On Machine Learning Accuracy | AWS News Blog – Amazon responds to the ACLU’s absolutely brilliant marketing stunt by deploying Dr. Matt “Please, call me Doctor” Wood to opine on the current state of machine learning accuracy. He makes excellent points– I’m curious to see how this debate evolves.

Building a GPU workstation for visual effects with AWS – If you’ve enjoyed Amazon Workspaces, check out this dive into running a high performance GPU workstation on AWS Instead of in your home or office.


If I were to offer to give you a lambda warmer, most people would think I was offering you something that sounds like the sort of thing you’d need in a cold barn, but it isn’t.

rsync is great– and rclone is rsync for cloud storage. I wish I’d known about this years ago.

veritable cornucopia of open source AWS security tools, curated for your use.

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

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