Have you been keeping up with AWS Storage options?

 

Did you miss re:Invent 2018?  You can still watch the videos.  Don’t forget to make your reservations for re:Invent 2019!

At re:Invent 2018, AWS introduced several new services that will allow companies greater competencies.

AWS Snowball Edge Compute Optimized is now generally available.  The new Compute Optimized option for Snowball Edge provides 52 vCPUs, 208GB of memory, 7.68TB of NVMe SSD, and 42TB of S3-compatible storage for running compute-intensive applications in physically harsh or offline locations.  It also comes with the option to add a NVIDIA TESLA V100 GPU for scenarios such as full motion video processing when connectivity is a challenge. AWS Snowball Edge Compute Optimized can even have EC2 instances on it to allow for offline computing and analytics.  This is a great product for demos, offline storage and compute capabilities. The new AWS Snowball Edge Compute Optimized can even be clustered together. This is a great tool for field work where you don’t have immediate access to online services. This is truly a mobile data center.

AWS DataSync is a data transfer service that makes it easy for you to automate moving data between on-premises storage and Amazon S3 or Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS).  AWS DataSync can transfer data at speeds up to 10 times faster than open-source tools. DataSync uses an on-premises software agent to connect to your existing storage or file systems using the Network File System (NFS) protocol, so you don’t have write scripts or modify your applications to work with AWS APIs.  The service enables one-time data migrations, recurring data processing workflows, and automated replication for data protection and recovery. Getting started with DataSync is easy: Deploy the DataSync agent on premises, connect it to a file system or storage array, select Amazon EFS or S3 as your AWS storage, and start moving data. You pay only for the data you copy.

AWS Transfer for SFTP is a fully managed service that enables the transfer of files directly into and out of Amazon S3 using the Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)—also known as Secure Shell (SSH) File Transfer Protocol. AWS helps you seamlessly migrate your file transfer workflows to AWS Transfer for SFTP—by integrating with existing authentication systems, and providing DNS routing with Amazon Route 53—so nothing changes for your customers and partners, or their applications. With your data in S3, you can use it with AWS services for processing, analytics, machine learning, and archiving.

Amazon FSx for Lustre provides a high-performance file system optimized for fast processing of workloads such as machine learning, high performance computing (HPC), video processing, financial modeling, and electronic design automation (EDA).  These workloads commonly require data to be presented via a fast and scalable file system interface, and typically have data sets stored on long-term data stores like Amazon S3. This is a great tool to build your own research cluster.

At long last, Amazon FSx for Windows File Server is now generally available!  Similar to Amazon EFS, which supports the NFS protocol, Amazon FSx for Windows File Server supports the SMB protocol.  Amazon FSx for Windows File Server provides a fully managed native Microsoft Windows file system so you can easily move your Windows-based applications that require file storage to AWS.  Built on Windows Server, Amazon FSx provides shared file storage with the compatibility and features that your Windows-based applications rely on, including full support for the SMB protocol and Windows NTFS, Active Directory (AD) integration, and Distributed File System (DFS).  Amazon FSx uses SSD storage to provide the fast performance your Windows applications and users expect, with high levels of throughput and IOPS, and consistent sub-millisecond latencies. This compatibility and performance is particularly important when moving workloads that require Windows shared file storage, like CRM, ERP, and .NET applications, as well as home directories.

 

 

 

 

 

The Digital Customer Experience with Amazon Lightsail

Author:  Rob Gould
Published:  June 6, 2019

Need to create a great website with 99.99999999999% uptime?  Need to develop a web-property on a platform that is scalable, secure and easily editable by your clients?

IMPLERUS Corporation has hosted numerous client sites over the years, and has found Amazon’s Lightsail service to make web-development quick and easy.  With a click of a button, you can have a WordPress webserver up and running in seconds – – – and very inexpensively:  $3.50/month (first month free).  You’d be hard-pressed to get much cheaper than that – – – and with Amazon’s 99.99999999999% uptime guarantee, you can sleep well at night knowing you won’t get phone calls about downed web-properties.

Amazon’s official description:

Amazon Lightsail is the easiest way to get started with AWS, providing everything you need to get your project running in the cloud. Lightsail provides developers compute, storage, and networking capacity and capabilities to deploy and manage websites, web applications, and databases in the cloud. Lightsail includes everything you need to launch your project quickly – a virtual machine, a managed database, SSD-based storage, data transfer, DNS management, and a static IP – for a low, predictable monthly price. You can also scale out your application or website over time and improve its availability and redundancy by adding other Lightsail resources, like load balancers, attached block storage and managed databases.

 

Within the Lightsail console, you select your platform, and then select your pricing plan:

 

 

From eCommerce environments like Magento, to Content Management systems like Drupal, to WordPress, Lightsail has a number of great options.  In the case of one of our clients, Lunewave.com, we chose the WordPress blueprint.  WordPress allows us to quickly build a multi-page marketing site that is designed out-of-the-box to render properly on desktop, tablet and mobile devices.

The secret-sauce to building a site that you clients can actually modify on their own: “Elementor Pro”.  Now as a web-developer you will of course build the initial site, but Elementor Pro makes it super-easy for your site owner to make edits later on:  to drag-and-drop a new text object on the page, or move an image, or edit a paragraph.  It also comes with a whole suite of web-elements like flip-boxes, navigation menus, sliders, headers, text-elements, etc.  Most of our clients make simple text and image swaps and the Elementor environment keeps urgent-edit requests to a minimum.  It’s for your own sanity.

 

 

 

 

Another secret to success:  SEO plugins

Another MUST, if you hope to take full advantage of the speed of AWS hosting AND get eyeballs on your site:  you’ve got to invest in a good Search-Engine-Optimization SEO plugin.  I believe the $89 spent on the Youst SEO plugin (Premium version) is well worth the cost.

 

Many people think that just adding a few keywords to the meta-data in the header of your site is all that’s needed – – – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  With years in development, the Youst SEO plugin contains all the “magic formulas” to getting your web-pages into Google, Bing, and social media in the best possible way to get higher up in the search rankings.  The best part is that Youst actually tells you, page-by-page, blogpost-by-blogpost, how your content is doing as a searchable element and provides ways to improve your SEO scores.  It is a must-have for any serious Digital Customer Experience developer.

Is there a limit to what Lightsail can handle?

Yes, though it’s a pretty high threshold:  If you expect your application consistently to manage more than 5 GB/hour of data or consistently to have a large number of connections (>400k new connections/hour, >15k active, concurrent connections), Amazon recommends using Amazon EC2 with Application Load Balancing instead.

 

How are SSL certificates handled?

One of the nice features of Lightsail and SSL certificates.  If you use a load-balancer, Amazon will provide you with a free SSL certificate for your site through the SSL certificate install wizard.  It will validate that you are indeed the owner of the domain or have access to the website, and install the certificate for you.  The best part is that it will automatically renew the certificate for you so you will never have to worry about installing a new one.

 

Need a database?

Lightsail automatically backs up your database and allows point in time restore from the past 7 days using the database restore tool, to help protect against data loss or component failure. Lightsail also automatically encrypts your data at rest and in motion for increased security and stores your database password for easy and secure connections to your database. On the maintenance side, Lightsail runs maintenance on your database during your set maintenance window. This maintenance include automatic upgrades to the latest minor database version and all management of the underlying infrastructure and operating system.

What kinds of databases and what versions of these databases does Lightsail support?

Lightsail managed databases support the latest major versions of MySQL. Currently, these versions are MySQL 5.6, 5.7, and 8.0. Lightsail only provides the latest minor version for each major version option.

 

Those are some of the key strategies to putting together a great Digital Customer Experience using Amazon’s Lightsail environment.  You really can’t go wrong at these prices and Amazon makes it easy to have an environment for experimentation.