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Category Archives: Cloud

AWS Certified Developer: DynamoDB Exam Notes

Episode 81

We were exploring AWS service groups for a while with some generic description of each service, and sometimes a list of tips regarding which service should be chosen for a given situation. Today, while still being in the topic of AWS, we will do something a bit more specific. Since I’ve recently passed an AWS Certified Developer Associate exam (with 96% score, yay!), I’ve produced quite a lot of notes as I was preparing to the test. The most important service by far on the Developer exam is DynamoDB, so I’ve decided to extract those notes in particular, edit them to be not-me-only-readable, and here we are.

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This is not intended to be a description of DynamoDB, an introduction nor developer guide. The idea is to pinpoint the exact topics that are covered on an actual exam. During preparations, I went through probably over a thousand of questions in various practice / mock exams available here and there. A lot of questions were duplicated, and a lot of them was later on the actual exam, so this should give you a good overview of what to expect. In order to actually get to know DynamoDB, not only get the paper, it is recommended to Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in AWS, Cloud, Technology

 

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Amazon Application Services

Episode 80

As mentioned in the previous Episode, about messaging on AWS, today we are going to look into the application services group. Not so long ago, the group consisted of messaging stuff too, but it was split into two as the number of services grew.

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The group name is an umbrella term for services designed to work closely with web applications hosted on AWS or elsewhere. It’s not very precise, since basically all AWS services can be used from web applications via rest api, SDK or even CLI, but let’s live with that. Without further ado, let’s have a look at Simple Workflow Service, Elastic Transcoder, API Gateway and Step Functions.

Simple Workflow Service

AWS SWF is a task coordinator and state tracker, suitable for running long and multi-part workflows with parallel or sequential steps. The acronym is deceiving, since it doesn’t follow typical Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2017 in AWS, Cloud, Technology

 

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Amazon Messaging Services

Episode 79

As promised in the last episode, today we are going to look into the messaging category of AWS services group. Messaging is sometimes considered a part of application services group, however in the console they make up separate list, so let’s treat them the same here. Since the last article about security was quite long, this one will be shorter (also, it’s summer, the birds are shining, the sun is chirping, the water is wet, so…).

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AWS messaging currently consist of Simple Queue Service, Simple Notification Service and Simple Email Service. Everything looks simple, so let’s dive in.

Simple Queue Service

AWS SQS was the first web service ever introduced by Amazon. The year was 2004 and cloud computing was no quite yet there. SQS is a Message Queuing Service which is a Message Oriented Middleware (MOM), but in the cloud, instead of on premises. SQS allows to decouple system actors working in Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2017 in AWS, Cloud, Technology

 

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Amazon Security Services, Part Two

Episode 78

Last week we started with AWS security by introducing Identity and Access Management in details. Today we will look at what’s else in the security services group and talk about how not to get hacked in the cloud in general.

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Remaining named services we are interested in are Inspector, Certificate Manager, Directory Service, Web Application Firewall, Shield, Key Management Service, CloudHSM and Organizations. We will also look at Shared Responsibility Model.

Inspector

AWS Inspector is an automated auditing service. It uses a low-level agent deployed on EC2 instances to monitor system state, processes, network communication, installed software and other parameters in order to benchmark, spot security vulnerabilities and deviations from best practices. First we need to define an assessment template, which governs what targets should be tested, as well as subset of rules. There is plenty of Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2017 in AWS, Cloud, Technology

 

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Amazon Security Services, Part One: IAM

Episode 77

As promised in the last episode, we will start with Amazon Web Services security today. As this is large topic, I’ve decided to split it into two articles in a similar way I did with AWS networking. In the first part, we will cover the fundamental service from the security group: Identity and Access Management and all concepts related to it. In the second part, we will look into other security services and AWS security in general.

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Identity and Access Management is a service that let us control how people and machines access and operate on AWS resources. It’s used to facilitate authentication and authorization of different types of principals, organize them in groups and assign polices that allow flexible and fine grained regulation over who can do what and when. Not surprisingly, IAM can be controlled via AWS console, CLI or SDK.

Principals

First important concept in IAM is the Principal. It’s an entity that is allowed to interact with AWS resources, that may be permanent or temporary and it might be human being or an application. Principal related concepts include: Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2017 in AWS, Cloud, Technology

 

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Amazon Networking Services, Part Two

Episode 76

In the previous episode, we started dive into Amazon networking services group with VPC. I’ve mentioned networking services in the AWS introduction episode, as one of three most basic, along with storage and compute.

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Aside from VPC, networking category consists of three more services: Route 53, a DNS provider named after port number not the American Highway. CloudFront, for throwing pictures of cats at our users even faster. Finally, Direct Connect, to upload those pictures to the cloud while offline (and of course: faster).

Route 53

Route 53 is a Domain Name System (DNS), a naming service used since the beginning of the Internet. It facilitates translation of human-friendly names into IP addresses understood by routers, computers and other connected devices that supports TCP/IP stack. When we type an address in the browser, it’s checked whether it’s stored locally and if not, if it’s available in DNS cache. If it’s not, there is a query to Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2017 in AWS, Cloud, Technology

 

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Amazon Networking Services, Part One: VPC

Episode 75

We had a four-week break from AWS to talk extensively about GeeCON, as well as our guest author article about scaling Scrum. Let’s get back to the cloud again as we have another important group of services to tackle. I’ve mentioned networking services in the AWS introduction episode, as one of three most basic, along with storage and compute. This was supposed to be third article about group of services, but somehow it comes fourth, after an article on databases. Also, it will have two parts. Let’s start with VPC service.

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Virtual Private Cloud is used to divide our cloud into logically separate sections and conquer various network elements, including: subnets, route tables, DHCP, access control lists, security groups, internet gateways, elastic IPs, elastic network interfaces, endpoints, NAT gateways and instances, peering connections and VPN configurations. Lots of stuff to play with indeed.

Basics

VPC is a networking layer for EC2 instances. It was launched three years later than EC2 and, because of that, there are actually two networking platforms in AWS. The older one is called EC2-classic, but Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2017 in AWS, Cloud, Technology

 

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Amazon Database Services

Episode 70

Today we will continue with AWS stuff after a short break. You might remember a brief introduction to the database category in Episode 65: The Amazon Web Services Jungle. It’s time to expand upon that a bit as we did with compute and storage categories before.

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We will dive a bit deeper into four services, which somehow represents different approaches to organized data storage: Relational Database Service, DynamoDB – a NoSQL database, ElastiCache – an in-memory data grid and Redshift – data warehouse.

RDS – Long time ago…

Amazon RDS, released in 2009, is a service for managing “classic” relational databases, stuff that usually first comes to mind when we think of “database”.  RDS offers several engines: PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle database, MS SQL Server and Amazon’s own AuroraDB. The service simplifies setting up a database – we don’t have to prepare a machine, install the database server on it, care about updates, licensing, HDD size, CPU, RAM, scaling, backups, replication, stand-by and Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in AWS, Cloud, Technology

 

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Amazon Compute: To serve or not to serve?

Episode 68

This is the fifth article in the Amazon Web Services Series so far (or sixth, if you consider the cloud computing intro a part of it). Within three weeks, we went through a list of all currently available AWS services and then, in the previous article, we focused on storage category: S3, Glacier, EFS and EBS. Today we are going to dive into the compute category, particularly EC2 and Lambda services.

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EC2 and Lambda represents two main computing models we can consider when hosting any application in AWS. We can have a server – a classic virtual machine, either with or without containers, or we can bypass all that and just run a piece of code as a function. Let’s look at both solutions and compare.

Elastic Compute Cloud

EC2 was introduced by AWS in 2006, and in 2010 the entire Amazon retail business switched to it. In essence, EC2 service is about providing virtual machines, or computing instances. Instead of buying physical servers and taking care of them, we can just buy time of the machine, get more when our needs grow and discard if they shrink as with everything in the cloud. Instances come in many different Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2017 in AWS, Cloud, Technology

 

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Amazon Storage Services: S3 and beyond

Episode 67

April is definitely the AWS month in here. We started in episode 64 with an introduction, and an overview of first 3 service groups, then in the two following episodes we went through next 15 groups at a lightning fast pace for a total of 80 individual services. Oh my, that was a lot of links, and I bet, something new appeared meanwhile.

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Today we are going to expand a bit upon the storage category, most importantly: S3, Glacier, EFS and EBS. We will talk about what those are exactly, what are the options, use cases and we will present some tips. I actually missed EBS from the list in the first article, since it does not appear under storage category in the AWS console, it is however present there on the webpage. However, let’s start with the most commonly known service, the S3.

Simple Storage Service

S3 is one of the oldest publicly available AWS services, and was launched in 2006. It’s an object-based storage for files up to 5TB in size. In order to upload one, we have to create a bucket first. Buckets act as Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2017 in AWS, Cloud, Technology

 

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