9. October 2017 12:05
by Aaron Medacco

Announcing AWS Reactions - Send Me Your Memes

9. October 2017 12:05 by Aaron Medacco | 0 Comments

For those unaware, there are a lot of micro-blogs out there within technology that like to poke fun at the craft by sharing memes and captioned GIFs describing what it's like in the life of a professional in technology. Some examples include:

There isn't (at least, not that I'm aware of) anything I could find like this for those in the cloud community, much less the AWS community. 

So I'm starting one! Go check it out! And also, go submit a meme!


AWS Reactions

And I'm going to do my best to maintain it. However, it gets a lot easier to do so if there's a steady stream of submissions. Therefore, if you're reading this post right now, go submit a meme describing your encounters in and about Amazon Web Services here!

If nothing else, bookmark the site and keep checking in to get some periodic lulz!


7. October 2017 22:45
by Aaron Medacco

AWS re:Invent 2017 Schedule: Where I Plan To Be

7. October 2017 22:45 by Aaron Medacco | 0 Comments

AWS re:Invent 2017 is only 50 days away and with the latest announcement made by AWS for reserved seating and this year's mobile app, it's time to figure out where to spend my time within the 5-day conference. I figured why not post the sessions I'm interested in going to? If anyone sees me or wants to connect you'll know where to find me!

AWS re:Invent 2017

This year, like those prior, there are a crazy amount of sessions available (check them out here), and no way to attend everything so it's kind of a seating race, but here's the following is what's on my radar. AWS seems to be posting more and more sessions as the date for re:Invent gets closer so if you're going, you might want to keep checking in. It's unlikely I'll be able to attend each of these since times will overlap or be in different locations where it's not practical to run around the Las Vegas strip like a madman.

Breakout Sessions:

  • ARC401 - Serverless Architectural Patterns and Best Practices
  • ENT401 - Successfully Migrating Business-Critical Applications to AWS
  • BAP201 - Realizing the Benefits of the AWS Cloud: Confident Decision Making Based on Insights and Control
  • BAP204 - How Amazon Is Moving to Amazon Chime
  • CMP202 - Optimizing EC2 for Fun and Profit #bigsavings #newfeatures
  • DAT202 - Getting Started with Amazon Aurora
  • DEV204 - Monitoring Modern Applications: Introduction to AWS X-Ray
  • GPSBUS203 - GPS: AWS Partner Network 2018 and Beyond: Building Successful AWS Practices and Solutions
  • GPSBUS204 - GPS: Building a Profitable Next-Generation AWS MSP Practice
  • ABD304 - Best Practices for Data Warehousing with Amazon Redshift & Redshift Spectrum
  • ABD305 - Design Patterns and Best Practices for Data Analytics with Amazon EMR
  • ABD311 - Deploying Business Analytics at Enterprise Scale with Amazon QuickSight
  • ABD315 - Building Serverless ETL Pipelines with AWS Glue
  • ARC303 - Running Lean Architectures: How to Optimize for Cost Efficiency
  • ARC306 - High Resiliency & Availability of PlayStation Communities Using Multiple AWS Regions
  • ATC303 - Cache Me If You Can: Minimizing Latency While Optimizing Cost Through Advanced Caching Strategies
  • DAT305 - ElastiCache Deep Dive: Best Practices and Usage Patterns
  • DEV306 - Embrace DevOps and learn how to Automate Operations
  • ENT315 - Landing Zones: Creating a Foundation for You AWS Migrations
  • ENT316 - Keeping Pace With The Cloud: Managing and Optimizing as You Scale
  • GAM301 - Migrating the League of Legends Platform into the AWS Cloud
  • GPSTEC302 - GPS: Anti-Patterns: Learning from Failure
  • GPSTEC307 - GPS: Too Many Tools? Amazon EC2 Systems Manager Bridges Operational Models
  • NET304 - Deep Dive into the New Network Load Balancer
  • SRV305 - The State of Serverless Computing
  • STG307 - Deep Dive on Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS)

Chalk Talks:

  • GPSCT305 - GPS: Thinking Microservices as Workflows: AWS Lambda and AWS Step Functions

Demo Sessions:

  • DEM24 - Protecting your Web Application on AWS: Best Practices for Third-Party WAF Deployment
  • DEM29 - Cooking in the Cloud with AWS and Chef
  • DEM54 - Know before You Go: Planning a Successful Application Migration to AWS
  • DEM59 - Confidence, Clarity, and Control: How to Achieve a 30% Reduction in AWS Cloud Migration Timelines


  • GPSWKS401 - GPS: Designing a Cloud Enterprise Data Warehouse
  • GPSWKS402 - GPS: Architecture Rodeo
  • GPSWKS407 - GPS: Strategies for Migrating Microsoft SQL Server Databases to AWS
  • GPSWKS408 - GPS: Migrate Your Databases with AWS Database Migration Service and the AWS Schema Conversion Tool
  • RET305 - Turbo Charge Your E-Commerce Site with Amazon Cache and Search Solutions
  • SID311 - Designing Security and Governance Across Multiple AWS Accounts
  • SID312 - DevSecOps Capture the Flag
  • SID341 - Using AWS CloudTrail Logs for Scalable, Automated Anomaly Detection

So...yeah, there's a lot and those are the few I cherry picked. I'll also be attending some of the other events as I can fit them in. The goal is to cram as much knowledge into my head within the short (is 5 days short?) 5 day event as possible. The keynotes will be packed but assuming there's room, I'm hoping to get a good seat for that, too. Those are in the morning on Wednesday (Nov. 29th) and Thursday (Nov. 30th). I'll be skipping the hackathons and the 5k (what!?), but I'm going to see what Broomball is and I'll be attending the Pub Crawls as well as the re:Play Party (DJ Werner Vogels?).

Unfortunately, this doesn't really leave a lot of time for playing poker around Vegas (I'll have to get it in there somehow) and I've also decided to delay getting the Professional certifications since I can do those without being at re:Invent at a later date. Amazon Web Services posts the sessions on their YouTube channel post-event, which is nice since there's no way I'll have time to get to everything. 

I also just bought a new video camera to do some vlogs while at the event. I think the internet could do with some more content on what AWS re:Invent is like in the first-person, but we'll see how that goes. I can already see me running out of battery during a key event or dropping the camera on Day 1.

Aaron's New Video Camera

Maybe I can even get some face-to-face with some of the bigger names over at Amazon or even some of the larger figures in the AWS community. I'll be making a post for each day, although they won't be published until after the event, as I will definitely not be writing blog posts in a hotel room when there's Vegas to be had! I'll post a follow up of my schedule as the reserved seating opens up. For those not registered yet, what are you doing!? For those that are, you might want to check out the webinar AWS is producing so you get a seat in the sessions that matter to you.


10. September 2017 14:04
by Aaron Medacco

Tracking Request Counts of Your S3 Objects

10. September 2017 14:04 by Aaron Medacco | 0 Comments

There are cases where you might be interested in knowing how many times your content hosted in S3 is requested by end users. Maybe you want to determine what content you serve is most popular or just want to have more metrics available for an application that heavily relies on S3 storage. Your knee-jerk reaction when trying to find this kind of information should be to look within CloudWatch under the S3 metrics. However, you might be surprised to find there's nothing there, as this is something you need to enable.

 S3 Request Metrics

Additionally, there is a charge for enabling these metrics which is identical to that of custom CloudWatch metrics. CloudWatch costs are pretty cheap, but you can review them here.

Amazon has provided documentation on how to accomplish this in their documentation

Keep in mind that these metrics are what Amazon defines as "best-effort":

"The completeness and timeliness of metrics is not guaranteed. The data point for a particular request might be returned with a timestamp that is later than when the request was actually processed, or the data point for a minute might be delayed before being available through CloudWatch, or it might not be delivered at all. CloudWatch request metrics give you an idea of the nature of traffic against your bucket in near real time. It is not meant to be a complete accounting of all requests."


24. August 2017 20:32
by Aaron Medacco

New Pluralsight Course: Getting Started with AWS Athena

24. August 2017 20:32 by Aaron Medacco | 0 Comments

After a few months of developing and recording content, my first Pluralsight course, Getting Started with AWS Athena, is live and published. A lot of work went into this, especially since I've never recorded video content of professional quality, so I'm relieved to finally cross the finish line. I never realized how much can go into producing an online course which has given me a newfound respect for my fellow authors. 

AWS Athena Get Started

Besides learning how to produce quality video content, I underestimated how much more I would learn about AWS and Athena. There's certainly a difference between knowing enough to solve your problem with AWS, and knowing enough to teach others how to solve theirs with it. 

For those interested in checking it out, you can find the course here. You'll need to have an active Pluralsight subscription, otherwise you can start a free trial. If you work in technology, the value of a subscription is pretty crazy given the amount of content available.

The course is separated into 7 modules:

  1. Exploring AWS Athena

    Sets the stage of the course. I speak to the value proposition of Athena, why you would want to use it, the features, supported data formats, limitations, and pricing model. If you're someone whose unfamiliar with Athena, this module's designed to give you a primer.

  2. Establishing Access to Your Data

    Athena's not very useful if you can't invoke it. In this module, I show you how to upload data to S3 and configure a user account with Athena access within IAM. Many will find this review, especially those practiced with Amazon Web Services, but it's a prerequisite before getting your hands dirty in Athena.

  3. Understanding AWS Athena Internals

    You never want to be in a place where things seem like magic. Here I address the technologies that operate underneath Athena, namely Apache Hive and the Presto SQL engine. If you've never used these tools to query data before, knowing what they are and how they fit within Athena is important. The only real barrier to entry for using Athena is the ability to write SQL, so I imagine a lot of users with no experience with big data technologies will be trying it out and this module gives a small crash course to help offset that.

  4. Creating Databases & Tables to Define Your Schema

    We start getting our hands dirty in this module. We talk about what databases and tables are within Athena's catalog and how they compare to those of relational databases. This one's pretty hands-on heavy as I demonstrate how to construct tables correctly using both the console or using third-party tools over a JDBC connection.

  5. Retrieving Information by Querying Tables with SQL

    Here we finally get to started eating our cake. I cover the Presto SQL engine in brief detail and show how easy it is to query S3 data using ANSI-SQL. Athena's built to be easy to get started, so by the end of this module, most will feel comfortable enough to start using Athena on their own datasets.

  6. Optimizing Cost and Performance Using Best Practices

    My favorite module of the course, tailored to those who want to get more performance and keep more of their money. I review what methods you can employ to improve query times and reduce the amount of data scanned. The 3 primary ways of doing this involve compression, columnar formats, and table partitioning. In a lot of cases, it's not as simple as "Just compress your data and win." or "Columnar formats are faster so just use that." and I talk about what factors are important when deciding on an optimization strategy for Athena workloads. I also demonstrate how you would transform data into a columnar format using Amazon Elastic MapReduce for those who may have never done it before.

  7. AWS Athena vs. Other Solutions

    Finally, I thought it would be interesting to discuss how Athena stacks up against other data services with the Amazon cloud. Knowing when to use each service is vital for anyone responsible for proposing solutions within AWS, so I felt some high-level, admittedly apples to oranges, comparisons would help steer viewers in the right direction.

Right, so go watch the course! And leave feedback! I want to keep improving the quality of the content I create, and comments are extremely helpful.


19. August 2017 19:11
by Aaron Medacco

No More Excuses for AWS S3 Bucket Leaks

19. August 2017 19:11 by Aaron Medacco | 0 Comments

You hear about it all the time. Customers of Amazon Web Services storing sensitive information in their S3 buckets leaking it to the world because of misconfiguration. Well, per one of the announcements at AWS Summit New York, there is no longer an excuse for misconfiguring an S3 bucket. AWS Config now has new managed policies that will evaluate your account for any S3 buckets allowing global read and/or write access. 

Exposed S3 Bucket

I won't regurgitate what's already been said on AWS's blog, which you can read here. AWS Config is a pretty easy service to set up. Just know that you'll be charged $2 for each rule you enable on your account, which shouldn't be a problem for any business or organization storing sensitive information in S3. 

You have no excuse anymore! Protect against your own incompetence. No matter how comfortable you are in AWS.


Copyright © 2016-2017 Aaron Medacco