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Cloud Month In Review – July 2016

This July, AWS shares some of its best updates this month in terms of infrastructure, software, and database improvements.


To Improve AWS EC2 networking performance, AWS has launched the Elastic Network Adapter. The new ENA provides high performance networking for the EC2 X1 instance type and is entirely free.

Designed for modern processors, it gives up to 20Gbps of consistent, low-latency performance within a placement group. It also lowers the workload on the host processor and helps efficiently distribute packet processing across multiple vCPUs using checksum generation, multi-queue device interface, and receive-side steering.


There’s no stopping AWS Internet of Things (IoT) as it opens in the Asia-Pacific Region (Sydney), bringing the total number of regions to six.

On that note, AWS also released two new SDKs for IoT: AWS SDK for Java and AWS SDK for Python. These SDKs allow you to quickly and securely connect your devices and applications to AWS IoT. You may also communicate through the MQTT or the MQTT over the websocket protocol, and share data with Device Shadows.

AWS has also announced improvements to their own relational database, Amazon Aurora. Aurora now allows you to create MySQL clusters based on a backup.


In terms of software improvements, AWS announced that their new Elastic File System is available now in three regions. EFS was designed to give shared low latency access to a file system using multiple EC2 instances. Currently available in the US East (North Virginia), US West (Oregon) and Europe (Ireland) regions.

AWS EBS, which previously allowed users to encrypt data using KMS, is allowing users to copy encrypted snapshots between accounts, even across different regions.

EC2 Run Command, which was launched last year, made it simple for IT professionals to manage large numbers of EC2 instances on Windows or Linux. AWS has made EC2 Run Command even more useful by letting you use EC2 Run Command for servers outside of EC2. These servers, known as Managed Instances, can be controlled by installing an AWS SSM agent. From there you can create and/or issue command documents.

Amazon Inspector, which was a hit with users, can be made even more useful through automated notifications. Once AWS Inspector completes an assessment, it can send the results through an Amazon SNS topic. This message then invokes a Lambda function which formats the results into an email, which is sent using another SNS.

The Amazon EC2 Container Service (Amazon ECS) also received an update: you may now specify IAM roles for ECS tasks. By specifying an IAM role for each task you require. The applications in the tasks containers may then use the SDK or CLI to make requests.

Monitoring continues to be easier with EC2 Run Command. This service can now notify you on the status of your command or a code block within a command changes. You can then receive the reports through CloudWatch Events or even through Amazon SNS.

Success Story

Gaming and accessories company Gamestop serves millions of customers worldwide. They needed an infrastructure that could support their multichannel marketing platform and thus turned to the AWS cloud.

The move proved successful, with AWS EC2 servers keeping the Gamestop website online despite high demand during the 2015 shopping season.

Gamestop took a step further by reforming their IT organization into a cloud infrastructure team, training for cloud skills, turning to DevOps and Agile practices, and using cloud technologies like microservices and containers. Currently, their goal is to move IT resources and functionality from their on-site “data rooms” to the AWS cloud.

On another front, AWS continue to contribute to the sciences by providing infrastructure for NOvA, the U.S. large-scale experiment for discovering quantum-level particles. NOvA focuses on unstable particles called neutrinos, which may hold the key to understanding why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe.

With about 10 Petabytes of data generated annually, NOvA needs not just a hefty amount of storage but also a continuous amount of computing capacity. AWS helped in this regard by supplying data storage through S3 and computing power through EC2 Spot Instances. NOvA was able to feed the analysis programs data at speeds of over 1Gbps which lowered IO waiting time and cost. It also allowed for a large peering connection to other national laboratories, with speeds reaching 100Gbps.


That’s all for now. Join us next month for more amazing cloud updates from AWS!



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