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Author: matt

Happy Black Friday!

Happy Black Friday!

Today is the day we get to see which retailers have elastic scaling infrastructure and half decent architects with forward planning and those who do not.
CDKeys and ChaosCards have already been hit with downtime post mail shots – don’t email your customer base if you can’t cope with them all clicking the link at the same time.
Chaos tried to put a queing system in front but the site still ended up offline mid browse.
Promotional credit can not be used for Reserved Instances!

Promotional credit can not be used for Reserved Instances!

I’ve started to play around with Bamboo and a few other bits and pieces in an evening and I’ve managed to find a few promotional $150 vouchers for AWS that you would usually get from AWS training courses on ebay – prices range from about £11 to £35 depending on expiry.  Bamboo will not run on a T3 micro – it just doesn’t have the CPU capacity – definitely needs 2cpus, even for a tiny installation – that’s Java for you 😉


I had a spot instance running but it kept going away due to capacity.  It’s running again on a spot instance but I’ve whacked up the price to $1 an hour now so hopefully that’ll never go away.  But again, I’m putting database backups in place to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere, should it go down.


I’ve got $450 of credit on my account and it goes towards the EC2 cost along with quite a few other services.  Here’s the complete list:


  • Amazon Simple Storage Service
  • AWS Lambda
  • Amazon Glacier
  • Amazon Sumerian
  • Amazon Relational Database Service
  • Amazon SimpleDB
  • AWSCloudDirectoryInternal
  • Amazon CloudSearch
  • AWS IoT
  • Amazon Lightsail
  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk
  • Amazon Simple Notification Service
  • AWS Config
  • Amazon Redshift
  • AmazonCloudWatch
  • Amazon Elastic File System
  • AWS Data Pipeline
  • Amazon ElastiCache
  • Amazon CloudFront
  • Amazon Elastic Transcoder
  • Amazon Virtual Private Cloud
  • Amazon Lex
  • AWS Data Transfer
  • Amazon Simple EDI
  • AWS OpsWorks
  • AWS Storage Gateway
  • Amazon Simple Email Service
  • Amazon Machine Learning
  • Amazon SageMaker
  • Amazon Elastic MapReduce
  • AWS X-Ray
  • Amazon DynamoDB
  • Amazon EC2 Container Registry (ECR)
  • AWS Glue
  • AWS Budgets
  • Amazon Polly
  • Amazon Route 53
  • AWS Support (Basic)
  • Amazon Elasticsearch Service
  • AWS CloudTrail
  • Amazon Rekognition
  • AWS Key Management Service
  • Amazon Simple Queue Service
  • Amazon AppStream
  • Amazon Kinesis


So, seeing that EC2 was in the list, and there was no way in hell I was going to burn through that much credit by the end of next year, I decided to purchase some Reserved Instances.  A T3 micro for 3 years and a T3 small for one year, all upfront – total cost was $264 + 20% VAT.  And this charged itself directly to my credit card, with pretty much no confirmation.  To be fair to Amazon, I did click the purchase button, I just expected to see a final confirmation screen that showed me where the funds were going to be coming from.  That didn’t happen.


To be fair, there is documentation to support that:


I just didn’t see it before I clicked the old purchase button 😉


Their support team have been lovely, they’ve managed to cancel the Reserved Instances and are starting the process to refund me.  I upgraded to developer support at $29 a month to get my request actioned sooner.  I’ve not decided whether or not I’m going to keep this in place or not yet – there are benefits to it for sure, and as I start to do more and more with it over the coming months, it might be a good idea.  We’ll see.


Workmail isn’t covered by the credit, thats $4 per user per month, but to be honest, it is so much better than what I’m used to with my previous host, it makes me realise just how great an enterprise level solution it is.

WAF is pricey – for personal use

WAF is pricey – for personal use

Turns out that WAF costs $5 per acl and $5 per rule per month. And that $10 protection I had in place for a simple geo block against China and a few other countries I was getting probing attacks from wasn’t included in the AWS credit I’ve got so I’ve turned it off.



Done some playing around with ALBs and fail2ban including setting up a custom filter for script attacks but need to do some further refinement with x forwarded for headers and what not.


Hopefully i’ll get some more time to have a fiddle with it over the weekend.

We’re SSL enabled

We’re SSL enabled

Since I’ve got $300 of AWS credit to use up before December 2019 and my t3 micro instance isn’t really doing a good job of that, I decided I might as well throw up a load balancer, get the certificate assigned to it and set up route53 properly to that alias.

So far so good.  Green padlocks are fun.

What next?

What next?

So I passed my AWS solutions architect associate exam on the 27th September. I think I ended up with about 87%

Pretty happy with that. Now trying to decide if I’m going to go for the systems administrator exam and developer exam or if I’m going to concentrate on solutions architecture.

I’m also eyeing up an open university degree in computing. I say I’m eyeing it up, I’ve registered and I’m waiting to see if I get approved for a part time student loan.

BSc (Honours) Computing and IT

Sounds impressive doesn’t it?

From a career perspective, it won’t give me much more in terms of experience and career usable knowledge – especially in an ever changing cloud landscape.

What it will give me, is a revisit to solid maths for the first time in over 20 years and a grounding in programming that I felt has always been missing from my repertoire.

I feel a deeper understanding of the maths side of things along with some hardcore software development will help with both my python and bash scripting.

I can read most code (even badly commented code) and tell you what it does. What I struggle with is writing something from scratch. Hoping this will help. Plus there’s some cool modules like robotics which I’ve always had an interest in.

If I decided to go for the networking speciality there’s always the option to revisit the CCNA too. We’ll see.

Next few months promise to be exciting regardless.

Digital Mickey

Digital Mickey

Picked up the October Mickey Mouse memories edition from the Disney store this week.

Wasn’t sure about it when I first saw it but after looking at it for a few minutes and realising it’s the same terminal colour scheme as I use on SecureCRT for my Mac, and it’s full of binary, I absolutely love it.

Pretty sure the binary will say something. Haven’t worked it out it googled it yet.

Love it.

There’s a mug and a pin set too. I haven’t picked those up. Yet.

Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect

I’m 3/4 of the way through my acloudguru AWS training course for solutions architect associate and decided that now I’ve done most of the VPC chapter and my understanding of the subject is helped infinitely by my experience, it was time to use the practice exam voucher on the site to see how far off I am with less than 2 weeks to go until i sit it.

The questions were tough and certainly very similar – if you didn’t know for certain what a particular service is called or what a service does then you’re in trouble.

I scored 84%

Looks like the thing I need to focus on the most over the next week or so is security.

Also just need to firm up on a couple of bits of terminology that almost caught me out. The main thing is making sure I read the question all the way through and that I apply logic to the answers that ‘could’ be correct.

Studying is going well. Still enjoying the subject matter. Going all in on AWS.



This is absolutely crazy.


Look at the price difference between a t3 micro and a t3 small running spot.


It’s well under half the price.


Much cheaper running it this way than having apache on a t2 small and a seperate RDS instance.


S3 backups running well – or they are now that I’ve sorted out the cron job.  Had a little issue with a misplaced * instead of a 0 which meant I got 60 backups between 1am and 2am rather than just one backup at 1am 😉