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Skeddly news and announcements...

Delete Replicas and Switch to Single-AZ When Stopping RDS Instances

In order to help reduce your RDS costs, Amazon RDS allows you to stop and start your RDS instances. This is a very helpful cost-reduction technique that can be used in development, staging, or other environments where RDS instances do not need to be available 24/7.

However, if your RDS instances have any read-replicas, or are Multi-AZ, then your RDS instances cannot be stopped. These are restrictions imposed by AWS.

To help work-around this limitation, and to help reduce your RDS costs, we have enhanced our “Stop RDS Instances” action to allow you to delete read-replicas and switch to single-AZ before the RDS instances are stopped.

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EBS Volume Snapshot Report Action

EBS volumes enable you to regularly create EBS snapshots. Automating those snapshots is crucial to a healthy Disaster Recovery strategy. But getting a regular report on the health of your infrastructure can be incredibly beneficial, especially if the report can quickly inform you that you may not be meeting your DR requirements.

Today, we’ve added a new action to our arsenal of reporting actions: EBS Volume Snapshot Report. Here is an example report I ran yesterday:

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Lower Costs for Any RDS Instance

Amazon RDS recently announced the ability to start and stop RDS instances. This allows you to stop and restart RDS instances overnight, on weekends, and other times where your RDS instance isn’t needed. By following this best practice, you can drastically reduce your RDS costs, in some cases, by as much as 65%.

The catch though, is that it’s only supported on single-AZ, non-replicated RDS instances. This means that your Multi-AZ RDS instance is not supported.

But there is an alternative that will allow you to reduce your RDS costs for Multi-AZ RDS instances.

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Automating EC2 Backups from CloudFormation

DevOps and DevOps practices are growing in popularity every day, especially in the cloud-computing world. One key aspect in DevOps is automation. By automating your infrastructure and using infrastructure-as-code, you:

  • Reduce human errors,
  • Can easily duplicate your infrastructure,
  • Can inspect and review your infrastructure changes, and
  • Can manage your infrastructure along with the rest of your application source code.

AWS CloudFormation is Amazon’s infrastructure-as-code solution. By using CloudFormation, you can manage your AWS resources “the DevOps way”.

Today, I wanted to show an example of managing EC2 backups using CloudFormation. We will create our EC2 backups using EBS snapshots. AWS does not have a built-in mechanism for automating EBS snapshots, so we’ll use Skeddly to perform the actual backups. CloudFormation will be used to add our new EC2 resources into our Skeddly backup schedule.

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Stop RDS Instances Action

After Friday’s announcement for our new Start RDS Instances action, we’re excited to announce the complementary action: Stop RDS Instances. Both achieve similar cost-reductions to your RDS bills. The difference is simply your desired workflow.

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Start RDS Instances Action

Yesterday, Amazon announced the ability to start and stop RDS instances. This is a welcome feature since it now allows you to easily save money for development environments by stopping your RDS instances when they are not needed, like overnight and on weekends.

This new feature only works for RDS instances that are not Multi-AZ and are not part of a replication group.

Skeddly has had the capability to provide similar RDS cost-savings for quite some time, however, it involved deleting and restoring your RDS instances.

Today, we’re happy to announce a new action: Start RDS Instances. It allows you to take advantage of the new RDS start/stop functionality.

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Run Athena Query Action

Amazon Athena is a query service that allows you to query data directly from Amazon S3. We have talked about Amazon Athena before. Athena is part of Amazon’s “serverless” services. Simply dump data into S3, define a table schema, and start querying. You don’t need to allocate servers to host your data.

Today, we’re happy to announce a new action: Run Athena Query. It’s the first utilizing the Amazon Athena services.

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Attach IAM Role to EC2 Instances

Using IAM roles with your EC2 instances has been the recommended best practice for managing AWS credentials deployed to your instances. Previously, an EC2 instance needed to have an IAM role assigned to it at launch time. Only recently has AWS allowed IAM roles to be associated with EC2 instances after the EC2 instance has been launched.

Today, we’re happy to announce a new action in our ever-growing list of action types: Attach IAM Role to EC2 Instances.

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EBS Snapshots Explained

Amazon Elastic Block Store (or EBS for short) is a service for providing block storage to your EC2 instances. In other words, it provides reliable volumes (hard drives) to your cloud servers.

One very useful function of Amazon EBS is creating EBS snapshots of your EBS volumes. EBS snapshots are backups of your EBS volumes. But how do they work, and how can you use them? Let’s take a look.

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Stop Limits When Stopping EC2 Instances

We have added a new option on our “Stop Multiple EC2 Instances” action that allows you to limit the number of EC2 instances that are stopped.

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