It’s Friday again, and that means it’s time we take another look at the releases and announcements made by AWS. Like always, we have a lot to cover this week and there are a few things everybody. In fact, there is so much to cover this week, we actually had to break it up into two separate articles. In this article, we look at the ability to add additional website authorization providers to WorkLink. We also have an update on AWS Ground Station and changes to Amazon Worklink. And finally, some updates to pricing models and the budgeting tools you use to monitor them. In our second update for the week (to be released later today) we take a look at a range of updates from the RDS teams.

Each of the AWS Weekly updates we publish on this blog isn’t an exhaustive list of all the week’s updates. Instead, we try to focus on changes that might help business operating in the Australian Market. As always, if you would like to talk to somebody about how you might be able to leverage some of these new technologies and services, please feel free to reach out using the contact link at the top of the page.

The key takeaways from this week are:

  • Announcing General Availability of AWS Ground Station
  • AWS Step Functions Add Support for Callback Patterns in Workflows
  • Announcing Amazon WorkLink support for Additional Website Authorization Providers
  • AWS Budgets now supports variable Budget Targets for Cost and Usage Budgets
  • Announcing the new pricing plan for AWS Config rules

Announcing General Availability of AWS Ground Station

This week’s rundown starts off with the announcement that AWS Ground Station is now generally available. Now I will admit, this probably isn’t a service that every customer of ours has been hanging out for. However, it is an interesting product announcement none the less. AWS Ground Station is a fully managed service that lets you control satellite communications, uplink, downlink, and process satellite data. Ground stations are facilities that use antennas to provide communications between the earth and your satellite.

Starting today, you can provision AWS Ground Station resources in US-West-2 and US-East-2 with more stations coming soon. Pricing appears to start at $3 a minute for narrowband and upwards of $22 a minute for On-Demand Wideband usage. It’s important to note that you only pay for the time you need the antenna. This makes it quite an interesting option when compared to building your own ground station. More information can be found in the blog article written by Jeff Barr available here.

AWS Step Functions Add Support for Callback Patterns in Workflows

This one already has my brain percolating with possible applications. Overnight, there was an announcement that AWS Step Functions now support callback patterns. Callback patterns would be useful for Step Functions containing human activities requiring an unknown amount of time to complete. In a callback pattern, Step Functions pauses execution of the workflow until your application returns a token through the Step Functions application programming interface. Callback Patterns comes free of charge, making it an even sweeter announcement.

This feature could be used in a range of applications. From adding managerial or customer approvals to workflows to interfacing with services/systems not contained within your cloud environment. There will definitely be some blog articles appearing in the coming days demonstrating its use and application. If you can’t wait for those to come out you can take a look at the announcement page here. In addition, AWS has also provided a sample project (here) and updated the Step Functions developer guide (here).

Announcing Amazon WorkLink support for Additional Website Authorization Providers

Amazon WorkLink is a service that provides users with secure, easy access to your internal corporate websites using their mobile phones. To enable access to even more content, Amazon WorkLink now allows customers to add website authorization from multiple identity providers.

This is an interesting service and helps solve a number of issues around providing users remote access to internal resources. Unfortunately, it’s not currently available in the Sydney region. So for the moment is only useful for protecting workload in the US and Ireland. If you’d like to know more about Amazon WorkLink, you can visit the Amazon WorkLink Website available at https://aws.amazon.com/worklink/.

AWS Budgets now Supports variable Budget Targets for Cost and Usage Budgets

AWS Budgets gives you the ability to set budgets and receive alerts when you exceed the amount. Now, you can specify variable targets for each month and/or quarter for up to one year in advance. This change allows organizations to better define their budgets within the AWS environment.

Taken from the official announcement: Using the new AWS Budgets planning features, you can easily create budgets which account for your projected growth or seasonal usage patterns. For example, as an online retailer, you could set a $3,000 monthly budget for your AWS costs which starts in February but increases to $7,500 for November and December to account for holiday shopping before returning to $3,000 for January. You can also create a $10,000 quarterly budget which tracks your costs for your ‘Test Environment’ tag and automatically increases your budgeted amount by 10% each quarter for the coming year, in line with your forecasted growth. From there, you can then analyze the accuracy of your forecasts over time by measuring your actual spend against your projected spend for each budgeted period.

Recently, we released a blog article demonstrating how to use AWS Budgets within your environment. Given these new updates, we will release an updated version of the article in the coming days. In the meantime, those wanting to get started can take a look at the AWS Budgets user guide available here.

Announcing the new pricing plan for AWS Config rules

AWS Config is one of those services that form part of every AWS environment we deploy. It helps you assess and maintain compliance over your AWS resource configurations. Effective August 1st, 2019, AWS Config rules will switch to a new pay-per-use pricing model. Based on the example available on the AWS Config pricing page (available here) it appears that most customer will pay less under the new model.

Under the current pricing model, customers are charged based on the number of active rules in the account. Under the new model, you will be charged based on the number of AWS Config rules evaluations recorded. Looking at the pricing examples, we can see that the example workload drops by more than 30% under the new model.

And that’s it for part one of our AWS update for Friday the 24th of May 2019. As highlighted at the beginning of the article, we will be taking a closer look at the recent RDS announcements in another article later today. Also, keep an eye out for our continuing series on Amazon Connect. We post updates every Friday as well as detailed tutorials and deep dives on products throughout the week. If there something you’d like to see on the Kloud Blog, please feel free to drop a comment below.

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