Newsletters


July 2010 - EC2 Cluster Compute Instances and much more
Newsletter #63

Dear AWS Community,

Over the past month, several AWS service teams have released exciting features and capabilities to help customers be successful. Amazon EC2 has released several features, including Cluster Compute Instances, designed for high-performance computing (HPC) applications and support for user managed kernels. Amazon S3 has released support for Bucket Policies and support for Reduced Redundancy Storage in the AWS Management Console. Amazon Simple Queue Service has introduced a free tier, giving customers the first 100,000 requests at no charge. We have also released several resources: a web hosting whitepaper, a new Mechanical Turk best practices guide, and developer resources for Windows and .NET.

  • News & Announcements
    • Announcing Cluster Compute Instances for Amazon EC2
    • Amazon EC2 Support for User Managed Kernels
    • Amazon VPC Adds IP Address Assignment Capability
    • Amazon CloudWatch Adds Monitoring for Amazon EBS Volumes
    • Amazon CloudFront Enhances Log Files
    • Amazon S3 Announces Support for Bucket Policies
    • Amazon S3 Enhances Support for Reduced Redundancy Storage
    • Amazon RDS Now Supports SSL Encrypted Connections
    • Amazon SQS Introduces Free Tier and Adds Support for Larger Messages and Longer Retention
    • New Amazon Mechanical Turk Best Practices Guide
    • AWS Authentication Survey
  • Developer Resources
  • AWS On The Road
  • Virtual Events

News & Announcements

Announcing Cluster Compute Instances for Amazon EC2
We are excited to announce the availability of Cluster Compute Instances for Amazon EC2, a new instance type specifically designed for high-performance computing (HPC) applications and other demanding network-bound applications. Customers with complex computational workloads such as tightly coupled parallel processes, or with applications sensitive to network performance, can now achieve the same high compute and network performance provided by custom-built infrastructure while benefiting from the elasticity, flexibility and cost advantages of Amazon EC2. Learn more about the new Cluster Compute instances and their use in running HPC applications. Or, sign-up to attend the Introduction to Cluster Compute Instances webinar on July 21.

Amazon EC2 Support for User Managed Kernels
Many Amazon EC2 users have asked for the ability to load and manage their own kernels when they launch an instance, and now you can. Amazon EC2 has launched a special Amazon Kernel Image (AKI), based on Xen PV-GRUB, which loads a kernel of your choosing from your AMI when you launch an instance. We are working with popular AMI maintainers to begin using this feature, so that new instances launched with those AMIs will now have user managed kernels. Check with the maintainer of your AMI to see when they will make the switch. AMI maintainers choosing not to enable this feature will work just as they always have. If you bundle your own AMIs and want to start using this feature immediately, read this Feature Guide.

Amazon VPC Adds IP Address Assignment Capability
Now you can specify the IP address of any Amazon EC2 instance you launch within your VPC. This new feature makes it easier to run services within Amazon VPC that your users and applications expect to have a consistent IP address. For example, this feature makes it easier for you to run DNS servers and Microsoft Active Directory domain controllers within Amazon VPC. When you specify an IP address, it is retained for the instance’s lifetime. An IP address previously assigned to a running instance can only be used again once that instance is in a “terminated” state. For more information about how to leverage this highly requested capability, please see the Amazon VPC Getting Started Guide.

Amazon CloudWatch Adds Monitoring for Amazon EBS Volumes
Amazon CloudWatch has added monitoring support for all Amazon EBS volumes for no additional charge. This monitoring provides performance metrics for your Amazon EBS volumes on bandwidth, throughput, latency and queue depth accessible via the AWS CloudWatch API or the AWS Management Console. For information on the metric schema and the graphs available, please see the Amazon EC2 User Guide.

Amazon CloudFront Enhances Log Files
Amazon CloudFront, the easy to use content delivery network, now supports query string parameters added to access logs. This feature will help you analyze your traffic to images distributed through Amazon CloudFront. You can include unique identifiers to each of your requests to analyze things like which end users are making which requests, or which web pages are generating the most traffic for your objects, and these will be added query string parameters to access logs. You can read more about our access logs in the Amazon CloudFront Developer Guide.

Amazon S3 Announces Support for Bucket Policies
Amazon S3 bucket policies gives customers the ability to create conditional rules for managing access to their buckets and objects. Bucket policies can restrict access based on AWS account as well as request-based attributes, such as HTTP referrer and IP address. With bucket policies, customers can also now define security rules that apply to more than one object, including all objects or a subset of objects within a bucket. For more information, please refer to the Amazon S3 FAQs and Developer Guide or watch the Introduction to Bucket Policies recorded webcast.

Amazon S3 Enhances Support for Reduced Redundancy Storage
Amazon S3 has released two features for Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS): notifications for object loss and support in the AWS Management Console. Customers using the console can now select the RRS storage option when uploading new files and can easily move a set of objects or even an entire folder from Standard storage to RRS. Additionally, customers can now configure their bucket so that when Amazon S3 detects the loss of an RRS object, a notification will be sent through Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS). For more information on these new features, attend the webinar on July 20 or visit the Amazon S3 page for more details.

Amazon RDS Now Supports SSL Encrypted Connections
Amazon RDS, the relational database in the cloud, now generates an SSL certificate for each Database Instance that you can use to encrypt the data transferred between your application and your DB Instance. If you would like to encrypt your DB Instance connections for enhanced security or learn more about Amazon RDS SSL support, please visit the forum announcement for more information.

Amazon SQS Introduces Free Tier and Adds Support for Larger Messages and Longer Retention
Amazon SQS, the reliable, highly scalable, hosted queue service now offers a free tier that makes trying the service risk free. Starting July 1, Amazon SQS users will incur no charges for the first 100,000 requests. Many applications may be able to operate within this free tier limit and pricing for additional requests continues to be $0.10 per 100,000 requests. In addition, Amazon SQS now supports larger message sizes of up to 64 kB and message retention can now be configured for up to 2 weeks. These features increase the range of applications that can potentially use Amazon SQS for queuing.

New Amazon Mechanical Turk Best Practices Guide
This best practices guide has been expanded to help businesses manage the on-demand human workforce of Mechanical Turk and get better results. Learn techniques including how to qualify a group of workers, how to route your work to this qualified group, and how to set your price. These best practices will make it easier to get better, more accurate work results.

AWS Authentication Survey
If you have feedback on how AWS can help improve your organization's current authentication process or technology, we highly encourage you to participate in this survey. This short, 15 question survey will help us understand your authentication needs. We appreciate your feedback and time.

Developer Resources

Check out these developer resources to help you build and grow on AWS.

AWS Whitepaper: Web Application Hosting on the AWS Cloud
This whitepaper discusses best practices for hosting your web application on Amazon Web Services. It is targeted at IT Managers and Systems Architects who are looking to build a highly available, scalable Web application on the cloud. Download the whitepaper and see the list of whitepapers at aws.amazon.com/whitepapers.

Doing More With Amazon EC2 Security Groups
Learn more about using Amazon EC2 Security Groups by reading this article by Steve Riley, AWS security evangelist. The article describes how to use Security Groups to define a virtual three-tier architecture.

Single Sign-on with Windows ADFS to Amazon EC2 .NET Applications
This document provides step-by-step instructions for creating a test lab demonstrating identity federation between an on-premise Windows Server Active Directory domain and an ASP.NET web application hosted on Amazon EC2, using Microsoft’s Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) technology.

Using Windows PowerShell with the AWS SDK for .NET
This how-to article by Microsoft MVP Macro Shaw looks at how to use Microsoft Windows PowerShell 2 and the AWS SDK for .NET with Amazon S3. See all available resources for Windows & .NET in the .NET Developer Center.

AWS On The Road

We hope you can join AWS, our customers, and partners at the following events.

AWS Cloud for the Enterprise Event
July 20, Los Angeles

Casual Connect – Seattle
July 20-22, Seattle, WA
Join AWS at Casual Connect to learn how cloud computing allows social gaming companies to cost-effectively develop and scale with their rapidly growing user base.

Silicon Valley Cloud Computing User Group
July 19, Palo Alto, CA

Workshop: Getting Started with IBM Software on AWS, featuring WebSphere sMash and DB2
July 22, San Mateo, CA

AWS User Group - NYC
August 11, New York, NY

Seattle Hadoop Day
August 14, Seattle, WA

Virtual Events

Introducing Amazon S3 Notifications for Reduced Redundancy Storage Object Loss
July 20, 10 AM PDT
Attend this webinar to learn more about enhancements to Amazon S3’s Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS), specifically notifications for RRS object loss and support in the AWS Management Console. We will walk through these features and take questions from the live webinar audience.

Introduction to Cluster Compute Instances for Amazon EC2
July 21, 10 AM PDT
Attend this webinar and learn about the new offering from Amazon EC2: Cluster Compute Instances. Cluster Compute Instances are a new EC2 instance type that combine high compute performance with low latency, high bandwidth networking optimized for a number of tightly-coupled parallel workloads and other network intensive applications. Deepak Singh will walk through this feature and its use cases, and take questions from the live webinar audience.

The Amazon Cloud - Revolutionizing Rich Media Marketing
July 28, 2010, 10:00 AM PT
AWS invites you to learn how Interactive Agencies (IAs) and their clients are using cloud computing to power their rich media marketing strategies, increasing their flexibility and decreasing time to market and costs. This webinar will cover key marketing use cases deployed in the cloud, including microsites, interactive web media campaigns, social networking applications, and marketing analytics. You will also learn how companies have implemented successful campaigns on AWS and how easy it is to get started.

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