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AWS month in review: Enable snapshot automation for Redshift

Expanded AWS snapshot capabilities of two prominent database services should make them more versatile for data backup.

Amazon RedShift can now take automatic, incremental data snapshots that users can schedule and bulk-delete. To enable AWS snapshot automation, users can configure their snapshot schedule with a cron-style granularity through the AWS Management Console or an API. Once the schedule is set, based on a period of time or per node of change,- it’s attached to a Redshift cluster to generate data backups. Users can then delete groups of unneeded snapshots to limit S3 storage costs.

Also, Amazon Aurora Serverless has been updated so users can share database cluster snapshots publicly or with other AWS accounts. Approved users can access snapshot data directly rather than copy it. This may be useful to share data between development and production environments, or for collaboration between an enterprise and its research partner. Users will have to be careful with this capability and watch what information they share publicly.

Clusters snapshots can also be copied across regions, which is a feature — along with AWS snapshot automation — organizations may want to incorporate into their disaster recovery or migration strategy.

AWS packs block storage into Snowball Edge

AWS expanded its hybrid cloud capabilities with block storage on AWS Snowball Edge. Users can now access block, file, and object storage for edge applications. Block storage enables AWS users to quickly deploy EC2 Amazon Machine Image (AMI) based applications that need at least one block storage volume. AWS continues to advance the capabilities of its edge devices, which have been a natural shortcoming in cloud computing.

T3a instances offer a Nitro boost

AWS has added seven new T3a EC2 instances that cost 10% less than comparable existing T3 instances. Similar to the new M5ad and R5ad instances, T3a instances are built on the AWS Nitro System and deliver burstable, cost-effective performance. The instance will work best for workloads that require a baseline of around 2 vCPUs but experience temporary spikes in usage.

T3a instances are available in five regions so far: U.S. East (N. Virginia), U.S. West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), U.S. East (Ohio) and Asia Pacific (Singapore).

More migration support

AWS Server Migration Service (SMS) can now transfer Microsoft Azure VMs to AWS cloud, which makes it easier to incorporate Microsoft Azure applications into AWS. Use AWS SMS to discover Azure VMs, sort them into applications and then migrate the application group as a single unit, without the need to replicate individual servers or decouple application dependencies. While this service is free, users still pay for AWS resources used — and keep in mind the potential costs of Azure-to-AWS migration.

AWS is also launching a service to migrate your files to Amazon WorkDocs. The WorkDocs migration service could help enterprises consolidate their files, if they choose to go all on AWS. The migration service enables organizations to configure their migrations tasks, i.e. what source they want to migrate to which WorkDocs account and site. Backed by AWS DataSync, the Amazon WorkDocs migration service enables users to execute a data transfer all at once, over a specific period or in recurring syncs.

Amazon Elasticsearch updates

Amazon Elasticsearch Service (ES) now supports open source Elasticseach 6.5 and Kibana 6.5. This update includes several added features, such as auto-data histogram, conditional token filters and early termination support for min/max aggregations.

Amazon ES also provides built-in monitoring and alerting, which enable AWS users to track data stored in their domain and send notifications based on pre-set thresholds. Alerting is a key feature of the Open Distro for Elasticsearch, AWS’ Apache-licensed distribution of Elasticsearch co-developed by Expedia and Netflix.

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