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Amazon Linux AMIs OpenSSL HeartBleed Vulnerability

A recent vulnerability has been detected within the OpenSSL package you can read more about this here and how it can effect your systems. If you have your applications running on a Amazon Linux Ami running openssl 1.0.1, which is any Amazon Linux AMI 2013.03 or later, and any Amazon Linux AMI that has upgraded to 2013.03 or later. OpenSSL is installed by default on the Amazon Linux AMI.

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Using IAM Accounts to secure your AWS resources

As a best practice it is advised/recommended to create AWS IAM (Identity and Access Management) accounts to secure your AWS services and resources.    IAM is natively integrated into most AWS services. This will allow more granular control of your users access to specific AWS resources. I have seen AWS administrators use the root account for common administrative tasks and day to day operations of their AWS resources.  This is not a secure way to manage your AWS services and resources as anyone getting a hold of this account could bring down critical instances or other AWS resources keeping your business online. 

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Connecting a VPC to another VPC

sing OpenSwan you can connect 2 or more VPCs together they can be in the same region or different regions using IPSec. This will allow  to have a DR plan within the Amazon infrastructure and can replicate the data using Windows/Linux clustering technologies or extend your infrastructure to a new region. Ensure you have the proper protocols and source configured correctly within your security groups. I prefer using the Amazon Linux AMI for this but OpenSwan can be installed in CentOs, Ubuntu, Red Hat or other Linux platforms. Read the link below to get a step by step instructions on configuring this within AWS.

Connecting Multiple VPCs

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Allocating an Elastic IP

will go thru the steps of adding an elastic IP onto your Amazon EC2 instance this will allow access from the public Internet on the specified ports you server is listening on. For example if this was a web server you would allow 0.0.0.0/0 for HTTP on your Amazon Security Group as this would allow any machine outside of your network to communicate to your server on the HTTP port

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Amazon S3 Price Reduction

Amazon will be reducing the price of S3 storage by 24-28% in the US standard region and will be making commensurate price reductions in all nine AWS worldwide regions.In addition there will also be a price reduction of RRS (Reduced Redundancy Storage). Below are the new prices for the US Standard Region:

The new prices will take effect December 1, 2012 and will be applied automatically. See the following link Amazon S3 Price Reduction for the new price listing.


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ElasticWolf

ElasticWolf is a free tool to manage your Amazon Web Services cloud resources via a GUI. It can be installed in Windows,Mac or Linux platforms. It's based on the Mozilla tool ElasticFox but this does not work in a browser but as a stand-alone tool. I have been using this tool for the last 2 months and its great I can Stop,Start and Terminate EC2 instances from the GUI as well as manage the Volumes for your EC2 instances and many other features. Please go to the URL below to find more information and download the tool.

http://www.elasticwolf.com/

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Free EC2 Scheduler

A great little free tool that allows you to schedule tasks such as Start, Stop, Terminate, Save Elastic IPs and Restore Elastic IPs on a Amazon EC2 instance. You can schedule to stop your non-essentials instances during off-business hours and start them during business hours. This will save on your monthly Amazon bill. The only drawback is that it does not run as a service but has to be kept open for it to operate. There should be a version that will have the option to run minimized in the tray and also as a service in the near future. See the link below for the download info and also for further instructions on how to use the tool.

http://blog.simple-help.com/2012/03/free-ec2-scheduler/

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Amazon RDS SQL Server now supports SQL 2012

Amazon RDS SQL Server now supports SQL 2012 you can begin launching new Amazon RDS SQL 2012 instances in editions of the Express, Web, Standard and Enterprise. You can use the new column store indexes that were introduced in SQL 2012 for any data warehousing applications in your environment this column store index is favored for data warehousing applications as the performance in your data warehousing queries will see large improvements. Also the contained database security feature is available which ties the SQL login to the databases instead of the instance therefore if you need to move the database to another SQL instance you won't have to worry about syncing the SQL login back to the database.

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Amazon RDS now available in High-Performance IOPS Storage

Amazon announced today that they have made available high-performance storage for Amazon RDS instances. It will allow for the provision of up to 10,000 IOPS with up to 1TB of storage for your new instances. This is exciting news as this will allow to host applications that require high IOPS for performance without having to pay for the additional overhead of the operating system resources. See below for the official announcement from Amazon.

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