AWS News – October 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.

There have been a lot of big announcements over the past few months, and October was no exception. AWS re:Invent is less than 2 weeks away, but AWS does not seem to be stockpiling their announcements as they have in years past.

Longer Lambda Execution Times

Your Lambdas can now run for up to 15 minutes, a significant jump from the previous 5 minute limitation. Azure caps you at 10 minutes, and it’s safe to assume that had a lot to do with why AWS went with a bigger than expected increase. If your Lambdas currently finish well under 5 minutes and you don’t specify a timeout, consider adding one. You’ll pay more if your Lambdas go rogue. In most circumstances, consider looking at your 95th percentile execution time and doubling it to get a safe timeout value.

And think twice about whether something that takes 10+ minutes should be a Lambda function at all. It may not be the best choice for design and cost.

New RDS Instance Types / Database Versions

RDS adds the m5 instance family (finally). The m5 family fills a lot of gaps, so consider resizing existing instances.

MySQL 8.0 is now generally available in RDS, roughly 6 months after it was released by MySQL. That’s not that bad considering that quite a bit changed under the hood. This is a significant release with major updates. Read the GA Announcement from April to learn more.

A New Calculator!

Not much has changed in the AWS Simple Calculator over the past decade. New AWS services have been wedged into the old UI, but that’s about it. Last month, AWS released a new calculator. It only supports EC2 and EBS at the moment, but they will be adding in other services with the goal of eventually retiring the old calculator. We won’t miss it.

AWS Console Improvements

AWS has been focusing on improving the web console this year. RDS, Lambda and CloudFormation each had updates in October:

  • RDS adds Recommendations, similar to the Trusted Advisor reports. Recommendations will report on security, configuration and sizing guidance.
  • Lambda adds a new tab to group related functions and track their performance and usage.
  • CloudFormation gets the new look and feel that services like RDS have received over the past year. It’s optional for now, but it will likely become the required interface in a few months. As with any UI change, expect to hate it–even though there’s nothing wrong with it.

Inter-VPC Routing Improvements

Both ELBs and EFS file systems can now be used in between regions. EFS can also extend across DirectConnect and VPN as well. Even though you can, ask yourself whether or not you should. There are few appropriate use cases for this.

Absurd Instance Sizes

You can create instances with as much as 12TB of memory in select regions. The new instance types run on metal, giving you 224 cores on Intel Skylake chips. They’re meant for SAP HANA and are not available on demand–3 year reservation required, please. So, these instances aren’t for you. But, it shows AWS is pursuing every type of workload, gradually eliminating things that can’t run in the cloud.

Miscellaneous News

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