AWS News – January Round Up


With the endless flood of new products, features and changes from AWS and its surrounding ecosystem, it can be easy to miss an update. Our monthly round up highlights major AWS news, announcements, product updates and behind the scenes changes we think are most relevant.

Amazon EC2 Spot Instances can now be stopped and started similar to On-Demand Instances

This is really big because it now allows spot instances to be stopped rather than terminated. Previously, Spot Instances could only be terminated, which could cause problems or be a hassle. For EBS volumes, the data will be saved and persist, and once the instance is started, the EBS volumes will be restored from their prior state and all subsequent EBS volumes attached to the instance will remain attached.

This is pretty awesome for anyone using Spot Instances or n-Demand Instances. It will bring similarity to the usage of the AWS UI. Start-stopping instances is sometimes required due to maintenance from Amazon, and having uniformity will be nice for those who are newer to the AWS and younger operations teams. Read the full announcement here.

 AWS Backup adds support for Amazon Elastic Cloud (EC2) instance backup

AWS Backup is a service that will automate the backup and recovery of EC2 instances without the need for custom scripts or third-party solutions. This will be performed at the EC2 level and will take backups of the AMI and attached EBS volumes. This service is also available in an on-demand as well as scheduled plan.

When restoring, the configurations can be restored to the original version, which can help make recovery extremely simple. I will definitely look at using this to take backups of some extremely important production instances my team uses as well as using it as a baseline for some dev and QA instances. In the event that my developers or younger OPS team members cause a problem, the recovery will be simple and sweet. Definitely something to check out. Read the full announcement here.

 AWS Backup supports cross-region backup

AWS Backup now supports cross-region backups, enabling customers to copy backups across multiple services to different regions. This is building more off of AWS Backup and will be great for EC2 instances that you would want to keep a backup of in a different AZ. Currently, we keep snapshots of EBS volumes in another region for redundancy. Being able to take backups of EC2 instances as well as other services via AWS backup will be great counter-measures to losing data. Building in this redundancy will be wonderful, and as I said earlier, I have some production, dev and QA instances and services with which I would like to test this out. Read the full announcement here.

Amazon EKS announces a 50 percent price reduction

This is possibly my favorite announcement. Don’t get me wrong; being able to make my life easier and less stressful with AWS Backup for EC2 instances is great, but saving money! That is the best part here! We use Kubernetes (k8s) and Amazon EKS, so this price reduction is going to save our company a lot of money each month. I think this also will bring in people who were on the fence about using Amazon EKS and save them some money, as well. Read the full announcement here.

 Miscellaneous News:

  • Introducing AWS Systems Manager Calendar: Using this feature will allow you to manage events and changes to your AWS resources. This can be helpful to prevent major changes during important business hours and ensure they happen after hours.
  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk CLI is now open source: This is really interesting, as it will allow developers to have access to the code, allowing more brilliant minds to collaborate and make AWS Elastic Beanstalk CLI much more robust and amazing. Those who use it will be excited to have their hands on the source code.
  • AWS CodePipeline Enables Stopping Pipeline Executions: This is great, as now with CodePipeline executions, you can stop them in the middle of the execution. Before, you needed to wait for it to terminate or disable transitions between stages, making the process much more tedious. Now it can be stopped in the middle, making it much more feasible to use. I’m excited for this change.
  • AWS Certificate Manager Private Certificate Authority Now Offers CloudFormation Resources: This is pretty awesome, as you can now create templates for the service or application architectures you want and have AWS CloudFormation use those templates for quick and reliable provisions of the services or applications. This essentially offers templates for CAs, CA activation and private certificates.

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