Category Archives: AWS

AWS re:Invent 2017 – re:Cap from Chris

AWS re:Invent 2017By Chris Williams

This was my very first AWS re:Invent conference and there are so many things to talk about!

I’m going to briefly talk about the new services that have were announced, but I’m not going to do a deep dive on any one of them… the reason being that (a) there is going to be MUCH more coming out on the services in the future & anything I say here will probably be incorrect and (b) you can go straight to the source... so I’ll link where appropriate, and (c) there were so many new services that I’m only going to hit on the big ones that I have better than passing knowledge of anyway 🙂

  • Amazon Sumerian 
    • Create and run VR, AR, and 3D applications without requiring specialized programming or 3D expertise.
  • Alexa for Business
    • Start meetings, shared devices, use for conference calls, create private skills for your business… the sky’s the limit with this & I’m excited to see where it goes.
  • Amazon ECS for Kubernetes (EKS)
    • This has been a long time coming.  Most of the Docker instances on EC2 were managed by K8s anyway.
  • New EC2 instances:
    • M5
    • H1
    • T2 Unlimited
  • Lambda
  • Amazon Time Sync Service (NTP)
  • AWS Serverless Application Repository
    • … Just signed up for the preview – can someone do WordPress please!?  😉
  • AWS Server Migration Service for Hyper-V
  • Aurora
    • Multi-Master – scale write nodes across multiple AZs increasing scalability and availability
    • Serverless – A new serverless mode that will save time and money by automatically adjusting database capacity to match application needs
  • DynamoDB
    • On-Demand Backup
    • Global Tables – Fully managed, multi-region, multi-master.
  • AWS Cloud9
    • It is a browser-based IDE where you can write/run/debug.  As long as you have a web browser… you have access to your code to work and share.  I haven’t tried it yet but it sounds very cool.
  • IoT
  • Machine Learning (or as I call it the Skynet initiative…)
    • DeepLens – Skynet eyeball, but I still WANT ONE
    • Comprehend – “analyzes text and tells you what it finds, starting with the language, from Afrikans to Yoruba, with 98 more in between. It can identify different types of entities (people, places, brands, products, and so forth), key phrases, sentiment (positive, negative, mixed, or neutral), and extract key phrases, all from text in English or Spanish. Finally, Comprehend‘s topic modeling service extracts topics from large sets of documents for analysis or topic-based grouping.” … not super creepy at all…
    • Rekognition Video – Rekognition, but for video now
    • SageMaker
    • Translate – a neural machine translation service that uses advanced machine learning technologies to provide fast language translation of text-based content
    • Transcribe – add speech to text capability to your apps!

There were many more announcements.  If you want the whole comprehensive list please go here: https://aws.amazon.com/new/reinvent/

Alternatively, if you are on the road I recommend listening to the AWS Podcast & the AWS Tech Chat, both are excellent.

Something else to keep in mind:

I suggest you go to as many hackathons, chalk talks, hands-on labs, and workshops that you can. Basically, anything that isn’t being recorded that you can watch later that you want to do, go do that. I met some really excellent people at the 1 hackathon that I attended. Next year I will try to hit at least 2. In terms of getting the most value out of my time, Hackathons, the Expo hall (here’s my interview with Linux Academy!), and simply walking up and talking to people were my top 3.

My hackathon team thanks to Calvin’s 360 camera… which I am now ordering 🙂 

 

Team Nakatomi in the house #reinvent #awsjamsessions – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

All in all, I had a great time. Sure the conference had some issues that needed tweaking, but I learned more, came away with more energy and excitement than I have from a conference in a long time. Now I need to rest up on the couch with #ITKitty, Kim, and a giant iced coffee 🙂

Thanks for checking out my AWS re:Invent re:Cap 2017!

Migrating Your Network to AWS & Azure to Achieve Hyper-Flexibility

What to Consider When Migrating Your Network

Network Consultant, Bobby Mazzotti, discusses how to migrate Layer 2 MPLS Networks to AWS & Azure and by moving away from traditional networks, you can achieve hyper-flexibility in your network. He also discusses what you need to consider first when migrating your network. The Azure vs AWS showdown has been going on for some time now. There’s no easy answer, so always take the time to figure out which is best for you!

Contact your account manager or reach out to us and set up a meeting to discuss your AWS/Azure migration initiatives.

By Jake Cryan, Digital Marketing Specialist

Preparing for the AWS-SA Exam with GreenPages’ Chris Williams

GreenPages Enterprise Consultant and Cloud Architect, Chris Williams, is currently preparing for his AWS-SA professional certification. Check out his 9 article series on the AWS Solutions Architect exam. Start with the intro here: http://mistwire.com/2016/10/aws-certified-solutions-architect-pro-study-notes/

Remaining eight articles here:

http://mistwire.com/2016/10/aws-certified-solutions-architect-pro-study-notes/

http://mistwire.com/2016/10/aws-certified-solutions-architect-pro-study-notes-domain-1/

http://mistwire.com/2016/10/aws-certified-solutions-architect-pro-study-notes-domain-2/

http://mistwire.com/2016/10/aws-certified-solutions-architect-pro-study-notes-domain-3/

http://mistwire.com/2016/10/aws-certified-solutions-architect-pro-study-notes-domain-4/

http://mistwire.com/2016/11/aws-certified-solutions-architect-pro-study-notes-domain-5/

http://mistwire.com/2016/11/aws-certified-solutions-architect-pro-study-notes-domain-6/

http://mistwire.com/2016/11/aws-certified-solutions-architect-pro-study-notes-domain-7/

http://mistwire.com/2016/11/aws-certified-solutions-architect-pro-study-notes-domain-8/

To learn more, email us here.

GreenPages’ Chris Williams Hosting #vBrownBag AWS Exam Prep Webinar

GreenPages Enterprise Consultant Chris Williams will be hosting a webinar on August 24th to help IT professionals pass the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam. The series is brought to you by #vBrownBag and follows the official certification blueprint published by Amazon. If you’re thinking of taking this AWS exam, you don’t want to miss out!

The webinar is titled Domain 1.0 Part 4 – Designing highly available, cost-efficient, fault-toleration, scalable systems. In the webinar Chris will cover:

  • Hybrid IT architectures
  • Direct Connect
  • Storage Gateway
  • VPC
  • Directory Services

 

To learn more about the webinar and to register, visit the #vBrownBag site!

 

About #vBrownBag

vBrownBag is a community of people who work in IT infrastructure who help other professionals in the IT industry perform their jobs at a higher level by providing helpful resources and advice through podcasts, TechTalks, and other mediums.

Google backs multi-cloud strategy with Orbitera purchase

Googlers having funGoogle has confirmed the acquisition of cloud commerce platform Orbitera, marking an alternative strategy to its main cloud rivals AWS and Microsoft, reports Telecoms.com.

The Orbitera platform acts as a marketplace for cloud solutions which simplifies the way in which customers search and purchase products. The platform currently supports deploying applications on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, but not currently Google Cloud Platform, though the company said it would continue to support software deployments on platforms other than its own.

As the practise of cloud computing has become normalized throughout the industry, multi-cloud strategies have become more common as enterprise organizations aim to spread workloads to reduce risk. It would appear Google are using the move to multi-cloud environments to further establish its platform and build credibility in the industry. Although Google is generally ranked in the top three cloud providers worldwide, the gap between Microsoft and AWS, and Google in third place has been widening slightly in recent quarters.

Microsoft and AWS do also support multi-cloud propositions, though the majority of the marketing messages are focused on standardizing on a single platform. It would seem Google are moving to a position which would be more aligned with customer trends in the cloud ecosystem.

“At Google, we partner closely with our enterprise customers and software providers to ensure their transition to the cloud is as simple and seamless as possible,” said Nan Boden, Head of Global Technology Partners, on the company’s blog. “We recognize that both enterprise customers and ISVs want to be able to use more than one cloud provider and have a way to conduct product trials and proofs of concept before building a full production deployment, all using their trusted SIs (System Integrators), resellers and normal sales cycles.”

The deal ties in well with another acquisition which the internet giant made in recent months. Back in November the company acquired enterprise development platform start-up bebop, which some industry commentators believed was a move to lure former VMware CEO Diane Greene to head a new business-oriented cloud service. The bebop business created a set of tools which simplified the process for enterprise organizations to build cloud apps. Combining Orbitera with Bebop could potentially form the central theme of a new marketing message for Google; simplifying the cloud.

Google are still playing catch-up with cloud rivals AWS and Microsoft, though it does have lofty ambitions. Last year, Urs Hölzle, SVP for Technical Infrastructure, stated he believes the cloud business has the potential to exceed advertising revenues for the internet giant, which stood at $19 billion for the last quarter. Although the company has been growing in the cloud space, its competitors are expanding at a faster pace. Taking Microsoft and AWS on at their own game does not appear to be working, though a new strategy have the potential to act as a differentiator, as it does match customer trends moving towards multi-cloud strategies.

AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM continue cloud market dominance

male and female during the run of the marathon raceNew research from Synergy states while the cloud market is growing at a healthy rate quarter-by-quarter, the four dominate cloud brands are continuing to pull away from the pack, controlled more market share month-by-month, reports Telecoms.com.

Data from Synergy Research claims the four companies now collectively control more than 50% of worldwide cloud market share (IaaS, PaaS and Hosted Private Cloud), with AWS maintaining its lead at the top of the leader board controlling almost a third of worldwide share. Over the course of the second quarter of 2016, the top four grew revenues by 68%, while the next 20 players, who roughly account for a quarter of the market share, grew 41%. All other vendors in this space grew by a collective 27%.

“In a variety of ways Amazon and the other big three players have distanced themselves from the competition in this market and continue to widen the gap,” said John Dinsdale, Research Director at Synergy Research Group. “What marks them out as different is their global presence, marketing muscle, ability to fund huge investments in hyper scale data centres and, in most cases, a determination to succeed in the market.

“The ranking of the next 20 largest cloud providers features some interesting companies, with Alibaba and Oracle growing particularly strongly, but they are all starting from a long way behind Google, which is itself growing by well over 100% per year and yet remains only a sixth the size of Amazon.”

Although AWS is still the dominant market player, growth is slowing. Google and Microsoft both posted growth figures of more than 100%, though it is far too soon to write AWS’ obituary, as it still controls more than three times the market share of its nearest rival, Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft has been going through a number of transformation projects in recent years, and while the market share for cloud shows it will still be some time before it catches AWS, the team are finding success in other arenas. According to additional research from Synergy, in the data centre infrastructure market, HPE and Cisco may be leading the way for public and private cloud hardware, but Microsoft now accounts for just over 40% of cloud software share, with VMWare its nearest competitor at roughly 20%. The research including share for servers, server OS, storage, networking, network security and virtualization software.

“With spend on cloud services growing by over 50% per year and spend on SaaS growing by over 30%, there is little surprise that cloud operator capex continues to drive strong growth in public cloud infrastructure,” said Jeremy Duke, Synergy Research Chief Analyst. “But on the enterprise data centre side too we continue to see a big swing towards spend on private cloud infrastructure as companies seek to benefit from more flexible and agile IT technology. The transition to cloud still has a long way to go.”

AWS posts 60% boost as it creeps towards $10bn revenues

amazon awsAWS has continued its promising progress towards breaking the $10 billion barrier, after reporting revenues of $5.4 billion for the first six months of 2016, a boost of 60% from the same period last year, reports Telecoms.com.

Speaking during its Q1 earnings call in April, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky highlighted there was a very realistic chance the AWS business would exceed $10 billion in annual revenues, becoming the first cloud infrastructure company to do so. After another quarter of healthy growth, revenues were up 58% to roughly $2.9 billion, the team are well on track to exceed the ambitious target. Progress has been healthy over the last few quarters, but the team are looking to push the accelerator harder.

“We actually see nine availability zones in four regions coming out in the next – in the coming year,” said Olsavsky. “The impact on short-term is pretty much indistinguishable from the growth that we’re seeing in our expansion of our base customers in our existing regions, so we don’t see a large step-up from the addition of new regions relative to the large and rapid growth in the business itself.”

With new data centres popping up all over the world to meet the demand of the burgeoning cloud computing sector, AWS is keeping trend, opening up in Mumbai last month, as planning nine new availability zones within the next 12 months. The impact of these new assets are unlikely to be felt during the next quarter, though long-term there the current cloud leader could reinforce its position at the top of the leader board.

“Again, we like our position, our industry leading position in the cloud space, and we’re working on things that would incent more and more customers to accelerate their cloud conversion,” said Olsavsky. “The lower prices and services that we offer, and as I said, we’ll work on things that will make it easier and easier for customers to work with us with their hybrid data centers or transfer their volume to us.”

One area of growth which could have a more short-term impact is the new FedRAMP High compliance certification, which will allow government agencies the ability to use the AWS Cloud for highly sensitive applications and workloads like patient records, financial data, and law enforcement data. Government contracts represent lucrative wins in the technology sector, which could underpin the company’s surge towards $10 billion. The accreditation also creates a useful precedent for the business if/and the team look to expand its footprint with government organizations in the international markets.

AWS – Monitoring the Memory of your Virtual Machine (AMI)

Out of the box, AWS CloudWatch by default monitors 4 things:

  1. CPU
  2. Network
  3. Disk
  4. Status Checks

Can you tell which resource CloudWatch doesn’t monitor out of the box? Memory! (update:  According to AWS technical support “Right now, you do not need to deploy anything in you AMI to monitor your instance. Metrics like memory utilization and disk space require us to look into the OS running in the instance and that is why we do not have these valuable metrics.  We are looking at ways to provide more insight into your OS and applications and will have more details as we firm up the plans”).  Amazon provides 2 articles for doing this, one for most Linux flavors and another for Windows. This article is basically a walkthrough of the Linux article (since I know Windows and want to learn more Linux anyway).

  1. Create a CloudWatch role in IAM (if you don’t know how to do this see my previous article)
  2. Spin up a new Amazon Linux AMI instance using the new CloudWatch role in the IAM section of the instance creation (check out THIS article if you get stuck)
  3. SSH into your new instance & run the following command:
    1. sudo yum install perl-Switch perl-DateTime perl-Sys-Syslog perl-LWP-Protocol-https
    2. curl http://aws-cloudwatch.s3.amazonaws.com/downloads/CloudWatchMonitoringScripts-1.2.1.zip -O
    3. unzip CloudWatchMonitoringScripts-1.2.1.zip
    4. rm CloudWatchMonitoringScripts-1.2.1.zip
    5. cd aws-scripts-mon
  4. At this point you have downloaded and unzipped the Perl script necessary to make the remote calls to CloudWatch and installed the Perl bits needed to run said script.

 

To read the rest of Chris’ post, click here!

 

By Chris Williams, Enterprise Consultant

 

The cloud is a utility, and we’re fine with that – AWS

amazon awsWhile the telco industry is fighting to avoid being relegated to the likes of utilities, AWS has already accepted cloud computing is commoditised, reports Telecoms.com.

As cloud as a concept continues to become normalized within the business world, the number of competitors is growing day by day. AWS would generally still be considered the leader in the market, though progress from Microsoft and Google, as well as a number of new players appearing has slightly eroded this dominant position. According to Brendan Bouffler, AWS’ lead for the team responsible for developing the scientific computing segment, the prospect of cloud becoming utilized would not bother the market leader.

“It already is,” said Bouffler. “You can move in and out of our cloud whenever you like. There’s no long term commitment as our standard terms and conditions last for an hour. You can sign up for an hour and then move out. We see it all the time. We’re constantly holding our feet to the fire and forcing ourselves to innovate, that’s how we keep customers.”

Within the telco industry, operators are fighting against the tide to prevent the business being classed in the same bracket as utilities. Competing on price and constantly attempting to undercut challengers is not a battle ground the industry wants to operate in. The telcos would like to compete on value adds and brand equity, though Bouffler believes there is enough untapped business in the cloud market for the utility model to be successful.

Estimates on the value of the global cloud computing market vary, though statista believes it is worth in the region of $114 billion this year. Should AWS continue its healthy start to 2016, it will account for $10 billion. By 2020 the market is predicted to grow to roughly $159 billion, offering plenty of opportunity for competitors to establish themselves, and AWS to continue its growth.

“Running a company like a hardware vendor does where they are looking for high margins is a legitimate business model, but ours is different to that,” said Bouffler. “We’re a high volume, low margin business and it’s successful for us. It was pretty successful in disrupting the retail industry in the way books were sold. As a consumer of books, I’m in awe of that. You can put books in the hands of people for almost pennies. We democratized reading and we’re going to do the same for cloud.”

Bouffler believes the disruptive nature of Amazon and AWS is fuelling future growth within the business itself. Competing on price is not a worry for the team, as this was the origins of the Amazon book business. Amazon was launched in 1994 and shook up the retail book industry. It drove down prices, opened up new distribution channels and created an entirely new way of consuming literature. Bouffler believes the same is being done for computing.

Although the telco industry is concerned with the direction it is heading, the potential for growth within the cloud computing industry means being classed as a utility is not necessarily a terrible fate for AWS. While there are some organizations who would like to create an industry with higher margins, Bouffler believes the origins of Amazon, the disruptive nature of the business and the experience of operating in a low margin/high volume environment puts the company in a strong position to compete and succeed in a utility environment.

“This is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Bouffler. “Some of our customers are people doing something they wouldn’t have usually done without cloud computing. It wasn’t that they were substituting for money which would have been spent on a hardware cluster, these are projects that weren’t going to happen. This is net new stuff. This whole net new universe is still in front of us, I think we’re only just scratching the surface.

“It’s incredibly sustainable. Even though we’re a low margin business and a high volume business we’re good with that. We’ve been doing this since Amazon came into business (22 years ago), and the model is still working. I think there is still tons to be done before anyone writes obituaries about that business model.”

AWS expands footprint in India with new data centre

Location India. Red pin on the map.AWS has expanded its reach in the Asia Pacific region, opening two new Availability Zones in Mumbai, taking the total globally to 35.

The company already has 75,000 customers in the country, which is one of the fastest growing economies worldwide. According to the CIA World Factbook, India is listed as the 12th fastest growing nation with a 7.3% real GDP growth rate, as well as a population growth rate of 1.22% per annum. The new region will support numerous services including Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), as well Elastic Block Store (EBS), Virtual Private Cloud, Auto Scaling, and Elastic Load Balancing.

“Indian start-ups and enterprises have been using AWS for many years – with most Indian technology start-ups building their entire businesses on AWS, and numerous enterprises running mission-critical, core applications on AWS,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS. “These same 75,000 Indian customers, along with others anxious to start using AWS, have asked for an AWS India Region so they can move their applications that require low latency and data sovereignty.

“We’re excited to make this available today, with the same pay-as-you-go pricing, ability to get started immediately without having to negotiate enterprise agreements or wait days for access, and unmatched functionality that customers enjoy in AWS Regions worldwide – all of which allows customers to go from idea to launch faster than ever before was possible.”

Although India is one of the company’s fastest growing markets worldwide, AWS have been slower to market than its competitors. Last year, Microsoft has brought online three cloud data centres in India for its Azure offering, and IBM opened its first data centre in Chennai for Softlayer. Google is yet to gain traction in the market.

Making the announcement through the official blog, the team also announced numerous local partners ranging from Managed Service Providers such as Spruha Technologies and Consulting Partners including HCL, Tata Consulting Services, and Wipro.