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Skeddly news and announcements...

Stretch Your EC2 Free Tier 3x Farther

For the first 12 months of all new AWS accounts, Amazon EC2 includes 750 hours of running Linux EC2 instances and 750 hours of running Windows EC2 instances, as long as the EC2 instance type is t2.micro.

Doing the math, 750 hours is just enough time to run a single EC2 instance for an entire 31-day month.

During the early days of a startup, much of your AWS usage is going to be used for development. Many development resources don’t need to be running 24/7 like production resources do. The end result is that you’re wasting your precious EC2 free tier on unused resources.

By scheduling your EC2 instances to stop, you can expand your EC2 free tier from 1 EC2 instance up to 3 EC2 instances.

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Restore RDS Cluster Action

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.

Skeddly includes actions such as “Start RDS Instances” and “Stop RDS Instances” to help you automate this cost saving technique.

However, Aurora RDS clusters and instances cannot be stopped. They can only be terminated and recreated.

We have added a new action to Skeddly to help you lower your Aurora RDS costs by deleting and recreating your Aurora clusters. Our new action is called “Restore RDS Cluster”.

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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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