Skeddly Blog

Skeddly news and announcements...

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.


Tag EBS Snapshots Action

Back in June, we announced our new Tag EBS Volumes action. Continuing with the theme of tagging, we’ve added a similar action for your EBS snapshots.


Reboot and Rebuild WorkSpaces Actions

Amazon WorkSpaces is Amazon’s managed desktop service. Using Amazon WorkSpaces, you can have a cloud-managed Windows desktop available using clients for Windows, Mac, Linux and tablets. We use WorkSpaces for our development environments.

Today, we have two new actions available to help manage your Amazon WorkSpaces workspaces:

  • Reboot WorkSpaces Workspaces
  • Rebuild WorkSpaces Workspaces


EC2 Instances Report Action

We have added a new action to our list of reporting actions: EC2 Instances Report.

You can use this action to select some or all of your EC2 instances, and generate a report of their configurations which is then emailed to you.


Tag EBS Volumes Action

Resource tagging is an important strategy for managing your AWS accounts. By adding tags to your AWS resources, you can:

  • identify resources more clearly,
  • document attributes such as cost, ownership, and teams,
  • group and select resources

Most DevOps strategies utilizing AWS use resource tags extensively. Tagging is so important these days that Amazon has added a dedicated Resource Tag Editor in the main AWS Management Console.

EBS volumes are a difficult resource to keep tagged. While they support tagging, EBS volumes are often secondary resources to EC2 instances. Because of this, they often are left untagged. Check out your own list of EBS volumes in the AWS Management Console. How many of them have any tags at all?


Giving AWS Credentials to Third-Party Services

Often, there comes a day when you’ve come across a killer SaaS or product that will work with your AWS account. It could be an automation tool (like Skeddly, a cost monitoring tool, a security tool, or any one of the many other products designed to work with your AWS account. Whatever the case, in order to read or modify information in your AWS account, you must provide credentials with which it will use to access your AWS account.

As a third-party vendor, we want you to be as safe with your AWS account as possible. So we’ve compiled some tips and best-practices to put in place when working with third-parties that are going to access your AWS account.