Skeddly Blog

Skeddly news and announcements...

Visit Skeddly at AWS re:Invent 2016

For the second year, we’re excited to be sponsoring AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas.

Where: AWS re:Invent 2016, Booth #919

When: November 28 - December 2, 2016

This year’s event is expected to be bigger and better than last year’s. There is an entire extra day of sessions, a bigger expo, and the return of “reserved seating” (ooooooooh).

Skeddly will be at booth #919 in the expo hall not far from the main AWS booth. Stop by the booth to:

  • see a demonstration of Skeddly,
  • get some one-on-one training,
  • get personal assistance setting up your Skeddly account,
  • have your questions answered about Skeddly and AWS in general,
  • have friendly conversation, and
  • pick up some cool Skeddly stickers.

Delete EBS Snapshots Enhancements

Skeddly includes an action called “Delete EBS Snapshots” which can be used to remove old EBS snapshots based on matching criteria and minimum age. It can also ensure that a minimum number of EBS snapshots are preserved.

Today, we’ve made two new enhancements to this action available:

  • We have improved the user interface for this action so that it is clearer as to what will be happening.
  • We have added a new delete scheme called “Grandfather-Father-Son” which is a more advanced selection process for deciding which snapshots will be preserved.


Adding Security Group Rules for Dynamic DNS

Security groups are a fundamental building block of your AWS account. Using security groups, you can permit access to your instances for the right people. Misusing security groups, you can allow access to your databases for the wrong people.

Using Skeddly’s “Add EC2 Security Group Rule” action, you can automatically add and revoke security group rules based on your desired schedule.


Stopping and Restarting EC2 Instances

For many AWS customers, Skeddly has become a cornerstone tool in reducing AWS costs. One key method they’re using to reduce their AWS costs is by stopping their EC2 instances at times when the EC2 instances are not needed. Using Skeddly’s reliable scheduling system, they can start the instances in the morning, and stop them in the evening.

Skeddly includes many actions that can be used to stop and restart your EC2 instances:

  • Start EC2 Instance - Starts, and optionally stops, an EC2 instance.
  • Start Multiple EC2 Instances - Starts, and optionally stops, zero or more EC2 instances.
  • Stop EC2 Instance - Stops an EC2 instance
  • Stop Multiple EC2 Instances - Stops zero or more EC2 instances.

Any of these actions can be used to reduce your AWS costs. The actions you choose to use depend on your desired workflow.

Until now, if you wanted to both start and stop your EC2 instances with a single action, you would use one of the “Start” actions. However, what if your desired workflow were to stop the instance at key times. Using the “Start” actions may work, but they may not be the exact fit for your workflow.

We have enhanced our “Stop EC2 Instance” and “Stop Multiple EC2 Instances” actions to better fit some workflows.


Deleting EBS Snapshots in Groups

Skeddly includes an action called “Delete EBS Snapshots” which can be used to delete old EBS snapshots. The snapshots that can be deleted can be selected based on their description, originating EBS volume ID, or resource tag. When the deletion process runs, snapshots can be preserved if they are younger than a desired snapshot age, and you can choose to preserve a minimum number of the most recent snapshots.

For example, you can choose to delete any snapshot older than 7 days, but preserve a minimum of 10 snapshots. This will preserve the 10 most recent EBS snapshots across all matching EBS snapshots.

But what if you want to preserve 5 snapshots from each of 2 projects? The 10 most recent snapshots may not be the 5 most recent snapshots from each of the 2 projects.


Account Activity Split by Actions

Many of our customers use Skeddly to managed multiple AWS accounts. Whether those are production vs. development accounts, accounts for multiple clients, or other single-purpose AWS accounts. For a while, Skeddly has included the ability to view monthly charges split by credentials. This allows you to see how the charges are distributed across different AWS accounts.

We have also heard from customers asking to view monthly charges split by action. Available now, you can view your monthly Skeddly charges split by action.


An Introduction to Amazon CloudTrail

Amazon CloudTrail records a history of all API calls that occur in your AWS account. Whether operations are performed using the AWS Management Console, AWS CLI, or any of the various SDKs, Amazon CloudTrail will record details about the API calls.

Recording of action data is important for the following reasons:

  • Security - Was there unauthorized access?
  • Governance - Know what your employees are doing, and track responsibility.
  • Tracking third-party services - If you allow third-party services to access your AWS account, know what they are doing.
  • Debugging and diagnosis - If a problem occurred, knowing the source of an API call may help diagnose it.


Stop WorkSpaces Workspaces Action

Yesterday, Amazon announced hourly pricing for Amazon WorkSpaces.

We evaluated the new hourly usage pricing for WorkSpaces in this post. And while it may not be cost-effective for full “business-hours only” usage, there still are valid use cases for hourly billing.

The new hourly usage pricing does automatically stop your workspace after a pre-determined amount of inactivity. However having a short timeout may impede productivity due to it’s slower start-up and connection time. And having a large timeout will incur extra, unnecessary costs.


Evaluating Amazon WorkSpaces Hourly Billing

Until yesterday, Amazon WorkSpaces were charged on a monthly basis. This meant that when you created a workspace, you were automatically charged a pro-rated monthly fee assuming you would be running the workspace for the remainder of the month. At the start of all subsequent months, you were automatically charged the full monthly fee.

Yesterday, Amazon announced an hourly billing option to Amazon WorkSpaces. Depending on your usage style, your workspace could cost less than the monthly “always on” cost.


Change EC2 Instances Action

For those of you who don’t know, Amazon Web Services allows you to change the EC2 instance type of your EC2 instances. This means that you can change your existing t2.micro to an m4.large if you want. This change can be accomplished using the AWS Management Console, the AWS CLI, or any of the AWS SDKs.

For many years, Skeddly has included the “Change EC2 Instance Type” action to automate this process. It’s a great way to lower your AWS costs, while keeping your EC2 instances available 24 hours a day. Many of our customers have had great success at lowering their AWS costs by changing the instance type of their EC2 instances at key times of the day or week.

Starting today, you are now able to reduce your AWS costs the same way but with an easier workflow.