Cloud Report

Cloud Report – June, 2017

 Cloud Report is a monthly blog post aimed to keep IT administrators and developers up to date on the world of cloud computing. We focus on the latest news and releases from cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and GCE. We’ll also be talking about other popular technologies and tools, such as containers, load balancers and more.

Here are the highlights on current release notes from each cloud platform and what’s going on in the cloud today.


X-Ray, a powerful service that helps trace application requests for errors and bugs, is now generally available. It has also received a lot of minor updates for the SDK, and now includes support for AWS Lambda to help diagnose your serverless code.

AWS CloudTrail now supports CodeStar, which is Amazon’s new concept of a single UI to handle building, deploying, and scaling applications for teams. Via CloudTrail, you can now log actions that happen through the CodeStar console and the API.

DynamoDB Accelerator (DAX) is generally available across the globe. DAX is a caching service that adds in-memory acceleration to your DynamoDB tables, returning cached responses in microseconds. It’s a managed service, so all you do is create your DAX cluster and use it as the target for your existing reads/writes.

In other DynamoDB news, you can now set Auto-Scaling on your DynamoDB tables.

AWS SaaS Contracts – We’re all familiar with the traditional SaaS model – pay X dollars per month for access to a service. In AWS this usually comes in the form of developer tools like Chef, specific versions of an OS, or analytics software. With SaaS contracts, if you lock into a certain contract, i.e. 12 months/36 months/48 months, you get a reduction in cost. This makes sense because for the majority of companies with infrastructure on a cloud provider, you’ll be there for the foreseeable future so it doesn’t hurt to get those discounts.

AWS Database Migration Service now adds support to the AWS Schema Conversion Tool, which filters the data extracted from your data warehouse.

AWS RDS – You can now stop and restart database instances. RDS also added support for Microsoft SQL Server 2016 SP1 CU2. And best of all, you can now copy DB snapshots across regions.


Azure Marketplace Test Drive – Try your software before you buy: Test Drives are ready to go environments that allow you to experience a product on Azure Marketplace for free without needing an Azure subscription, and everything is pre-provisioned so there’s no additional setup necessary.

Application Insights for Node.js – Azure Application Insights is an application performance management (APM) platform similar to NewRelic or Datadog APM, which provides performance and diagnostic information about your running applications to help you diagnose issues quickly. Use App Insights works with Node.js application, containers, and even Electron desktop apps.

Azure Government services are now available through the Cloud Solution Provider program (CSP). With the CSP program, partners can now create service offerings that combine use of Azure Government with solution management, customer support, and billing to U.S. government customers. If you build and manage solutions for federal, state and local government entities then this is for you.

Disaster Recovery for Azure IaaS virtual machines – You can now replicate and protect IaaS (infrastructure as a service) based applications running on Azure to a different Azure region within the same geographical cluster without deploying any additional components. This, along with Azure Backup for IaaS virtual machines, allows you to create a disaster recovery strategy for your IaaS applications.

Storage Service Encryption with Customer Managed Keys (preview) – Storage Service Encryption with Customer Managed Keys uses Azure Key Vault that provides highly available and scalable secure storage for RSA cryptographic keys backed by Hardware Security Modules.
This is for enterprise customers looking to better protect sensitive data as part of their regulatory or compliance needs, HIPAA and BAA compliant. Here’s what that looks like:


All is (relatively) quiet on the GCP front. Hit the link for some great content on using Cloud Spanner, Spinnaker, and other Google cloud services.


Public cloud costs push CBA to OpenStack – While there’s no major news/updates from the OpenStack Projects, this was an interesting read on how Commonwealth Bank has switched to private cloud environments to reduce their costs of the public cloud. They made a great point about the public cloud at scale: ‘once you get past 1000 servers and you’re running at a high utilization rate, the economics quickly flip on you and they don’t make sense’.

Alibaba Cloud

Alibaba Cloud is planning to upgrade and optimize the network of it’s US West and US East regions on June 29th, 2017. The OSS (Cloud Object Storage Service) and RDS products will be affected by this change. As per their notice: ‘During the time, there may be 4 times of 3 second network jitter happening, and the network latency will be increased. Network requests may also fail in extreme cases.’

The reason we mentioned Aliyun/Alibaba Cloud is because while it’s not relevant for most (if not all) of our US/European based businesses, they are the number one cloud provider in China, and it doesn’t hurt to learn more about how Alibaba is playing catch up to Amazon and Google outside of China. Upgrading Aliyun US data centers and giving out very liberal usage credits like Amazon first did is all part of the strategy. It’ll be very exciting to see what the public cloud race will look like in another five years.

And that’s it for this edition of Cloud Report – hope you enjoyed it. Don’t bother sifting through release notes, product updates and bug logs – that’s our job.

Questions, comments, or concerns? Shoot us an email and let us know what you’d like to hear more about. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact me at

See you for the next one.