August 2011 - AWS GovCloud (US) Region, AWS Direct Connect, New Features for AWS CloudFormation

Dear AWS Community,

We are pleased to announce that Amazon Elastic MapReduce has now added support for Spot Instances. This new feature allows customers to significantly reduce the cost of processing vast amounts of data on EMR's managed Hadoop clusters by bidding on unused capacity. In addition to this new feature, we have announced the following in the last month: AWS GovCloud (US) Region, AWS Direct Connect, Identity Federation for IAM, New Features for AWS CloudFormation and Auto Scaling, and more. In order to help developers get started on AWS, we have released AWS Toolkit for Eclipse 2.0 and AWS SDK for Ruby. We are also excited about the recent kickoff of the 5th Annual AWS Start-Up Challenge which is now open to start-ups worldwide who can compete for a chance to win $100,000 in cash and credits.

  • Just Announced
  • News & Announcements
    • New Features for AWS CloudFormation
    • New Features for Auto Scaling
    • New Region: AWS GovCloud (US)
    • New Service: AWS Direct Connect
    • Amazon VPC Generally Available in Multiple AZs in All Regions
    • AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Enables Identity Federation
    • Amazon Simple Email Service Announces Attachment Support
    • AWS Import/Export for Amazon EBS
    • AWS Start-Up Challenge: Now Open to Start-ups Worldwide
    • Featured Case Studies: IMDb and foursquare
  • Developer Resources
  • AWS Solutions Provider News
  • AWS On The Road
  • Online Events

Just Announced

Amazon Elastic MapReduce Adds Support for Spot Instances
Starting today, customers have the ability to launch their Amazon Elastic MapReduce clusters on Spot Instances, significantly reducing the cost of processing vast amounts of data on managed Hadoop clusters. Customers can run their Elastic MapReduce applications entirely on Spot Instances to enjoy the largest potential cost savings or they can mix Spot Instances with On-Demand and/or Reserved Instances to protect against interruption. Further, customers can dynamically resize an already running cluster with additional Spot Instances. This feature is available through the Amazon Elastic MapReduce API, Java SDK, or AWS Management Console. For more information, please visit the Spot Instances section of the Amazon Elastic MapReduce Developer Guide.

News & Announcements

To keep you up-to-date, here are the latest news items and announcements from AWS.

New Features for AWS CloudFormation
AWS CloudFormation has released a set of exciting new capabilities to make it easier to provision your AWS resources. CloudFormer is a new prototype tool that enables you to create templates from the existing AWS resources in your account. AWS CloudFormation templates can now contain references to other templates enabling you to create re-usable building blocks encapsulating best practices. By using building blocks, you can enforce consistent configuration and standard operating policies across different stacks. In addition, AWS Cloudformation now supports the following: the ability to configure security groups for your EC2 instances so they'll only accept traffic from an Elastic Load Balancer; the ability to map your root domain, or "zone apex" directly to your load balancer; Amazon Route 53 Weighted Round Robin (WRR), allowing you to specify the frequency (“weights”) with which different DNS responses are returned to end users; and finally, Auto Scaling policies and notifications. AWS CloudFormation also allows you to attach arbitrary, structured metadata to any resource in your template allowing you to "tag" your resources with additional information such as configuration data. To get started with these new features, check out the new sample templates or visit the AWS CloudFormation User Guide for more details.

New Features for Auto Scaling
Auto Scaling has announced five new features that make it easier to manage your Amazon EC2 instances. You can now: get Amazon SNS notifications when Auto Scaling adds or remove instances, set scaling schedules on a recurring basis, control when to add instances to an Elastic Load Balancer, delete Auto Scaling groups more easily, and see Auto Scaling group names in your Amazon EC2 instance tags. For more information, read the related blog post.

New Region: AWS GovCloud (US)
AWS GovCloud is a new AWS Region designed to allow U.S. government agencies and contractors to move more sensitive workloads into the cloud by addressing their specific regulatory and compliance requirements. The new Region offers the same high level of security as other AWS Regions and supports existing AWS security controls and certifications such as FISMA, SAS-70, ISO 27001, and PCI DSS Level 1. AWS also provides an environment that enables agencies to comply with HIPAA regulations. AWS resources deployed from AWS GovCloud are available on-demand and agencies pay only for what they use, allowing the U.S. government to benefit from the flexibility, scalability and low pay-as-you-go pricing of AWS.

New Service: AWS Direct Connect
AWS Direct Connect is a new service that allows enterprises to establish a dedicated network connection from their datacenter, office or colocation environment to AWS. AWS Direct Connect allows you to bypass the public Internet when connecting to AWS, which in many cases can reduce your network costs, improve bandwidth throughput, and provide a more consistent network experience. AWS Direct Connect can be very useful in a variety of scenarios. Applications that require large and frequent data transfers to and from AWS or require more predictable network performance (real-time feeds for audio and video) can benefit from AWS Direct Connect. AWS Direct Connect also allows you to leverage your existing investment in equipment (such as SAN/NAS devices) by connecting them to AWS through a dedicated network connection. For more details, including product pricing, please refer to the AWS Direct Connect page and the list of frequently asked questions.

Amazon VPC Generally Available in Multiple AZs in All Regions
Amazon VPC is now out of beta and is generally available in multiple Availability Zones in all AWS Regions (US East, US West, EU, Singapore, and Tokyo.) Using Amazon VPC, you can provision a private section of the AWS cloud where you can a create virtual network that you control, including selection of IP address range, creation of subnets, and configuration or route tables and network gateways. You can connect your Amazon VPC directly to the Internet while also extending your corporate data center to the cloud using encrypted VPN connections. To get started using Amazon VPC, visit the Amazon VPC page.

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Enables Identity Federation
IAM now enables “identity federation,” or the ability for you to use your existing corporate identities to grant secure and direct access to AWS resources without creating a new AWS identity for those users. This capability enables you to programmatically request security credentials, with configurable expiration and permissions, that grant your corporate identities access to AWS service APIs and resources controlled by your business. To learn more about IAM and identity federation, please visit the IAM page.

Amazon Simple Email Service (SES) Announces Attachment Support
Attachment support for Amazon SES enables customers to exchange data files, send company newsletters, share photos, and more. Amazon SES has extended content filtering technologies to include attachments, which helps detect and block attachments containing spam or malware before they can be sent. Amazon SES also helps senders protect their reputations by providing additional protection for recipient email boxes. Amazon SES supports a variety of MIME types, including plain text, comma-separated values (CSV), images (.bmp, .gif, .jpg, etc.), and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). For more information, including a complete listing of supported MIME types, please refer to the Amazon SES Developer Guide.

AWS Import/Export for Amazon EBS
Customers with significant data sets can now use AWS Import/Export to import your data into Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) and attach to an Amazon EC2 instance. Using AWS Import/Export is often faster than Internet transfer and more cost effective than upgrading your connectivity. To create your first AWS Import/Export job for Amazon EBS, follow the steps in the Getting Started section of the Developer Guide.

AWS Start-Up Challenge: Now Open to Start-ups Worldwide
The 5th Annual AWS Start-up Challenge has launched and is open to start-ups worldwide. This contest is a great way for innovative start-ups and small businesses using Amazon Web Services to gain exposure and compete for a chance to win $100,000 in cash and credits. This year, we will recognize 15 regional semi-finalists, 6 global finalists, and select one global grand prize winner. The application process is now open and the contest submission closes October 2, 2011. To learn more and enter the competition, visit the AWS Start-Up Challenge page.

Featured Case Studies: IMDb and foursquare
IMDb: The Internet Movie Database ( is one of the world’s most popular sources for movie, TV and celebrity content with more than 100 million unique visitors per month. IMDb uses Amazon CloudFront to host search data for the IMDb magic search feature, finding the movie or person you're looking for in just a few clicks. CloudFront makes this experience fast by distributing the content in edge locations physically close to IMDb's worldwide users. Read the full case study.

foursquare: foursquare is a location-based social network in which its more than 10 million users check in via a smartphone app or SMS to exchange travel tips and to share their location with friends. By checking in frequently, users earn points and virtual badges. To perform analytics across more than 3 million daily check-ins, the company uses Amazon Elastic MapReduce, Amazon EC2 Spot Instances, Amazon S3, and open-source technologies Mongodb and Apache Flume. Read the full case study.

Developer Resources

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

AWS Toolkit for Eclipse 2.0
The AWS Toolkit for Eclipse 2.0 is now available. This release has a number of new features, including: AWS Explorer – easily access and administer all your AWS infrastructure, including Amazon S3, Amazon SNS, and Amazon SQS, along with previous support for Amazon SimpleDB and Amazon EC2 management; Multiple AWS Account Support; and AWS Elastic Beanstalk Debugging. Learn more at

Get Started with the AWS SDK for Ruby
The AWS Developer Relations team has released the official AWS SDK for Ruby, enabling developers to get started building scalable Ruby web applications in minutes. The AWS SDK for Ruby provides a gem, code samples, and documentation for developers to build Ruby applications that tap into AWS's cloud computing platform. Installing the AWS SDK for Ruby is as easy as gem install aws-sdk. Explore all resources for Ruby development at

50% Off from O’Reilly Media: Programming Amazon EC2 Book
Our friends at O’Reilly Media are offering AWS developers 50% off the price of “Programming Amazon EC2”. The promotion is available until September 8. For better rates on shipping, please select the link closest to your geographical location:

  • Customers in North, Central and South America, use promotional code OR555 at this checkout.
  • Customers in Europe, Middle East and Africa and elsewhere, use promotional code OR555 at this checkout.

    AWS Solutions Provider News

    Check out the latest announcements from the AWS Solution Providers community.

    Gluster Wins Two Awards for Accelerating Cloud Adoption
    Gluster, a leading provider of open source scale-out NAS solutions has been gaining momentum in the cloud storage space. Most recently, Gluster won two awards at the Citrix Synergy 2011 event. The first award was for Accelerating Cloud Adoption. Gluster won this award for its unique ability to deploy NAS in the AWS cloud along with its ability to support a global namespace spanning both the public and private cloud/data center. The second award was for Best of Show – demonstrating the significance Gluster's innovative technology brings to businesses. Find a free trial of the Gluster solution at

    New Whitepaper: WAN Optimization for the Cloud
    This new whitepaper from Riverbed demonstrates how WAN optimization solutions like Riverbed’s Cloud Steelhead can increase performance and make moving to the cloud easy. By reviewing various common use cases where WAN optimization can significantly improve performance in the cloud, Riverbed demonstrates how customers are using WAN optimization to overcome application and network performance challenges, accelerate the process of migrating data to and from the cloud, and improve access to that data from anywhere. Register to download this whitepaper.

    AWS On The Road

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


    AWS User Group - San Francisco "Mule iON Leveraging AWS"
    August 23, 6:30pm, San Francisco, CA

    AWS Genomics Event
    September 22, Seattle, WA
    Learn how the genomics field is utilizing the scale and flexibility of cloud computing in this one day deep technical seminar.

    O'Reilly Strata Conference
    September 19-23, New York, NY
    30% discount for AWS customers, use code AWS30 at registration

    Asia Pacific

    TechSparks 2011
    August 19, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

    Silicon India Java Conference
    August 20, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

    Pycon 2011
    August 20-21, Sydney, Australia

    August 23, Sydney, Australia

    AWS 101 Business Seminar - Making the Case for Cloud
    August 24, Sydney, Australia

    AWS 101 Business Seminar - Making the Case for Cloud
    August 25, Melbourne, Australia

    Conference on Cloud Computing
    August 25, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

    AWS Melbourne User Group Meeting
    August 25, Melbourne, Australia

    Cloud Computing World Tokyo 2011
    August 31 - September 1, Tokyo, Japan


    AWS UK North User Group
    Manchester, United Kingdom

    Virtual Events

    Learn more about AWS by attending an upcoming webinar or virtual event.

    Is your IT infrastructure ready for Thanksgiving and Black Friday?
    Presented by 8KMiles and Amazon Web Services. IT infrastructure planning for Thanksgiving and the holiday season is a real challenge for e-commerce companies. A typical e-commerce site sees a 4x to 6x spike in user visits to its website during Thanksgiving (Black Friday and Cyber Monday). You either provision less infrastructure and risk losing out on potential sales on account of your site going down or over-provision and risk having too much of spare capacity later. Learn more about running your IT infrastructure on AWS with Jeff Barr, Senior Web Services Evangelist, AWS and Harish Ganesan, Chief Technology Officer of 8KMiles Software Services.
    Register for August 23 webinar

    Monitoring AWS with Splunk and Automating with Chef
    A large online electronics retailer hosts a critical portion of its infrastructure in AWS and uses Splunk to monitor logs generated by its web and application servers. They use auto scaling to respond to high traffic volumes and need to ensure Splunk is deployed and configured on each of their scaled out instances. This webinar will cover some key best practices they have used to ensure consistent configuration of AWS instances, scaling their Splunk deployments in AWS, and the Chef recipes they use for this purpose.
    Register for September 8 webinar

    Extending Identity into the Cloud
    Do you want to move hosting of your business applications to Amazon Web Services, getting the benefits of agile deployment, quick scaling and reduced cost? Are you concerned about managing identity between your on-premises applications and the cloud? Join the cloud computing experts at Stoneburn to learn how to extend your existing Active Directory to serve Amazon Web Services, as well as popular SaaS products such as Google Apps and
    Register for September 9 webinar

    Microsoft License Mobility for Server Applications in the AWS Cloud: The Complete Story
    Microsoft now allows you to use Windows Server application software on Amazon Web Services. Microsoft License Mobility with Software Assurance allows Volume License customers to run existing Windows Server application licenses on Amazon EC2. In this webinar you will learn more about License Mobility and how to utilize Windows Server applications such as Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Standard, SQL Enterprise Edition, Dynamics CRM Server, Lync, and Systems Center servers, to deploy AWS cloud-based solutions.
    Register for September 13 webinar

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