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AWS Tips and Tricks

Author : Alex Parker Date : May 16, 2017
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AWS Tips and Tricks

Currently, Amazon holds one third of the cloud market share with its nearest rivals Microsoft and Google lagging far behind. It’s highly unlikely that the scenario will change soon, as Amazon promptly keeps adding new functionalities and services to stay ahead of the pack. So, if you belong to an enterprise that is considering migration to AWS or are just starting with AWS, these tips will come handy to you.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

What’s it about?
This is an attempt by AWS to provide an additional layer of security. You can enable MFA for your AWS account, individual IAM users and to restrict access to AWS service APIs. This technique combines two factors to provide authentication- something you know and something you have (a password and a virtual reality token or hardware token). The idea behind it is that if one of the factors is compromised, say someone gets hold of your password, you will still be safe.

How you go about it?
Some experts suggest that you must enable MFA at least for your root user immediately after you’ve created your AWS account.

Set Multiple Billing Alarms per Month

What’s it about?
AWS charges you monthly on pay-per-use basis. That is, if you’ve used a server or virtual machine for 5 hours and then turned it off, you’ll be paying for those 5 hours only. But as it happens so often, one may forget to kill a virtual machine which is no more in use or forget to turn off servers which are not in use. This is going to come as a huge shock at the end of the month in the form of an inflated bill. AWS comes with a novel solution to these problem-billing alarms.

How you go about it?
The key is to set billing alarms and use them intelligently. Most enterprises with good track record in cost optimization in AWS employ the practice of multiple alarms per month at regular intervals. You proceed by setting a target billing per month and set a weekly alarm. The alarm at the end of the week informs you if you’ve exceeded one fourth of your target billing, so that you can find out what’s wrong and take steps to check runaway billing early.

Automate Everything

What’s it?
You can control the whole infrastructure with help of small pieces of codes in order to reduce manual engineering effort and save cost. This is what automation does. With AWS, you can automate every part of your cloud infrastructure – launching a virtual machine, managing recovery or failovers, monitoring CPU utilization, etc.

How you go about it?
To get the most out of AWS, you must ensure automation. The way forward is to develop a single set of tools with a single central framework within a management hub to design, build, deploy and change a system. You must aim for infrastructure automation, deployment automation and self monitoring.

Make Use of the Services of AWS Trusted Advisor

What’s it about?
AWS trusted advisor is your customized cloud consultant. It inspects your cloud environment and comes up with recommendations for performance improvement, closing security gaps, cost optimization, fault tolerance, etc.

How you go about it?
You can hire a consultant or take help of cloud infrastructure management services to monitor and review your cloud environment. But until then, consult the AWS trusted advisor and act on its recommendations. The service comes for free for these checks- service limits check, IAM use check, MFA on root account check, security groups-specific ports unrestricted check.

Avail the Free Tier Services

What’s it about?
AWS offers a range of its services for free within a certain usage limit. The purpose is to give you hands-on experience. You can explore the option of AWS as a platform by setting up a website with servers and database.

How you go about it?
When you create an AWS account, you’re automatically signed up for the free tier services for 12 months. You must stay within the prescribed usage limit to avoid paying charges. Stay aware of the free usage limits- launch virtual machines for free if your usage is limited to 750 hours per month, you can store up to 25 GB data free of charge in the NoSQL database.

Use these tips, build your knowledge base on the more than 50 services on offer by AWS and stay up-to-date to make the best of your transition to cloud. Those who are already into AWS too can incorporate these tips for best results.



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