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In Cloud Computing This Week [May 8th 2020]

Written by Team Hava | May 8, 2020

This week's roundup of notable cloud news.


Hello cloud land,  like always, we've read the news, so you don't have to.  

Here's this week's round up of everything that's happening in cloud computing this week. 

There's not a huge amount going on this week, with a general feeling that parts of the market are treading water while CV19 plays out, however cloud spend continues to rise as organisations scale their distributed workforce capabilities and online retailers enjoy some of their best weeks on record.   

Did you check out our recent blog post on places to source cloud training courses for free or mostly free?  You can find it here:  https://www.hava.io/blog/best-free-aws-gcp-and-azure-training-in-2020



General Availability of UltraWarm for AWS ElasticSearch   

This week AWS announced the general availability of UltraWarm for Amazon Elasticsearch Service.

This new low-cost storage tier provides fast, interactive analytics on up to three petabytes of log data at one-tenth of the cost of the current Amazon Elasticsearch Service storage tier.

UltraWarm, complements the existing Amazon Elasticsearch Service hot storage tier by providing less expensive storage for older and less-frequently accessed data while still ensuring that snappy, interactive experience that Amazon Elasticsearch Service customers have come to expect. Amazon Elasticsearch Service stores data in Amazon S3 while using custom, highly-optimized nodes, purpose-built on the AWS Nitro System, to cache, pre-fetch, and query that data.

There are many use cases for the Amazon Elasticsearch Service, from building a search system for your website, storing, and analyzing data from application or infrastructure logs. AWS think this new storage tier will work particularly well for customers that have large volumes of log data.



Building a Continuous Integration Workflow with Step Functions and AWS CodeBuild

Automating your software build is an important step to adopt DevOps best practices. To help you with that, AWS built AWS CodeBuild, a fully managed continuous integration service that compiles source code, runs tests, and produces packages that are ready for deployment, and AWS CodePipeline, a fully managed continuous delivery service to automate your release pipelines.

However, there are so many possible customizations in AWS customers’ build processes, and they have seen developers spend time in creating their own custom workflows to coordinate the different activities required by their software build. For example, you may want to run, or not, some tests, or skip static analysis of your code when you need to deploy a quick fix. Depending on the results of your unit tests, you may want to take different actions, or be notified via SNS.

To simplify complex use cases that cannot be easily implemented with CodePipeline, AWS launched a new AWS Step Functions service integration with CodeBuild. Now, during the execution of a state machine, you can start or stop a build, get build report summaries, and delete past build executions records.


Easy Access to stream analytics with SQL, real-time AI & more.

During times of challenge and uncertainty, businesses across the world must think creatively and do more with less in order to maintain reliable and effective systems for customers in need. In terms of data analytics, it’s important to find ways for bootstrapped engineering and ops teams working in unique circumstances to maintain necessary levels of productivity. Balancing the development of modern, high-value streaming pipelines with maintaining and optimizing cost-saving batch workflows is an important goal for a lot of teams. Google Cloud, launched new capabilities to help developers and ops teams easily access stream analytics.

Highlights across these launches include:  

  • Streaming pipelines developed directly within the BigQuery web UI with general availability of Dataflow SQL

  • Dataflow integrations with AI Platform allow for simple development of advanced analytics use cases

  • Enhanced monitoring capabilities with observability dashboards

Built on the autoscaling infrastructure of Pub/Sub, Dataflow, and BigQuery, Google Cloud’s streaming platform provisions the resources that engineering and operations teams need to ingest, process, and analyze fluctuating volumes of real-time data to get real-time business insights. GCP are honored that The Forrester Wave™: Streaming Analytics, Q3 2019 report named Google Cloud a Leader in the space. These launches build on and strengthen the capabilities that drove that recognition.


New Zealand gets its own Microsoft Cloud region

Microsoft plans to open its first data centre region in New Zealand, hailing it as a first step toward providing local access to enterprise-grade cloud services there.

“This significant investment in New Zealand’s digital infrastructure is a testament to the remarkable spirit of New Zealand’s innovation and reflects how we’re pushing the boundaries of what is possible as a nation,” Vanessa Sorenson, general manager of Microsoft New Zealand, said in a statement.



Windows Server containers on GKE now generally available.

As organizations look to modernize their Windows Server applications to achieve improved scalability and smoother operations, migrating them into Windows containers has become a leading solution. And orchestrating these containers with Kubernetes has become the industry norm, just as it has with Linux. 

GCP launched the preview of Windows Server container support in Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) earlier this year, and today, it’s generally available for production use. Running your Windows apps in containers on Kubernetes can provide significant cost savings, as well as improved reliability, scalability, and security—things that are especially important in times of uncertainty. 

Since GCP launched the preview, many customers have kicked the tires on GCP Windows Server containers. Thanks to their feedback, GCP have added features like support for private clusters and regional clusters, choice of Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) and Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) versions, integration with Active Directory using group Managed Service Account (gMSA) and much more. 

This release also includes integration with the Google Cloud Console to simplify creating new GKE clusters or updating existing clusters with Windows Server node pools.


Microsoft announces next evolution of Azure VMware Solution 

Azure were excited to announce the preview of the next generation of Azure VMware Solution, designed, built, and supported by Microsoft and endorsed by VMware.

With the current economic environment, many organizations face new challenges to find rapid and cost-effective solutions that enable business stability, continuity, and resiliency. The new Azure VMware Solution empowers customers to seamlessly extend or completely migrate their existing on-premises VMware applications to Azure without the cost, effort, or risk of re-architecting applications or retooling operations.

This helps Microsoft customers gain cloud efficiency and enables them to innovate at their own pace with Azure services across security, data, and artificial intelligence, as well as unified management capabilities. Customers can also save money with Windows Server and SQL Server workloads running on Azure VMware by taking advantage of Azure Hybrid Benefits.


Manage and find data with Blob Index for Azure Storage (preview) 

Blob Index—a managed secondary index, allowing you to store multi-dimensional object attributes to describe your data objects for Azure Blob storage—is now available in preview. Built on top of blob storage, Blob Index offers consistent reliability, availability, and performance for all your workloads. Blob Index provides native object management and filtering capabilities, which allows you to categorize and find data based on attribute tags set on the data.

Manage and find data with Blob Index

As datasets get larger, finding specific related objects in a sea of data can be difficult and frustrating. Previously, Azure clients used the ListBlobs API to retrieve 5000 lexicographical records at a time, parse through the list, and repeat until you found the blobs you wanted. Some users also resorted to managing a separate lookup table to find specific objects. These separate tables can get out-of-sync—increasing cost, complexity, and frustration. Azure note that customers should not have to worry about data organization or index table management, and instead focus on building powerful applications to grow their business.

Blob Index alleviates the data management and querying problem with support for all blob types (Block Blob, Append Blob, and Page Blob). Blob Index is exposed through a familiar blob storage endpoint and APIs, allowing you to easily store and access both your data and classification indices on the same service to reduce application complexity.



Upcoming Events:   


AWS Summit Online

This virtual event is designed to educate you about the skills needed to design, deploy, and operate your infrastructure and applications. Sessions are delivered by AWS subject matter experts and customers who have successfully built solutions on AWS. Whether you are new to the cloud or an experienced user, you can learn something new at AWS Summit Online Australia & New Zealand.

When:  Australia & NZ - May 13th  Online     Starts 09:00AM (AEST) 

             USA & Canada -  May 13th Online     Starts 09:00AM  (PT)

             India                   -  May 13th Online     Starts 09:00AM (IST)


AWS Summit Online - Europe, UK, Middle East & Africa

Join the AWS Summit Online on June 17 and deepen your cloud knowledge with this free, virtual event.

Hear from your local AWS country leaders about the latest trends, customers and partners in your market, followed by the opening keynote with Werner Vogels, CTO, Amazon.com. After the keynote, dive deep in 55 breakout sessions across 11 tracks, including getting started, building advanced architectures, app development, DevOps and more. Tune in live to network with fellow technologists, have your questions answered in real-time by AWS Experts and claim your certificate of attendance. All sessions will be available in English with subtitles in French, Italian, German and Spanish.

So, whether you are just getting started on the cloud or are an advanced user, come and learn something new at the AWS Summit Online. 

When:  June 17  Online  Starts 09:00  (UTC+1)



How to Build a "Powered by Looker" Web Application 

When: May 14

The Servian team will take you through the process we went through to build out a Powered by Looker web application for the National Rugby League. You will get to see how feature and experience-rich a PBL application is, compared to the usual BI product implementation.

The usecase is an interesting one. The webinar will feature a demonstration of a set of sports analytics dashboards that were built into a PBL application focused on specific insights around the sport and based on player GPS data.

Hear from Looker and Servian, as well as the data team at the National Rugby League, who will join at the end to talk to you about what worked well for them.

The webinar will cover the following:

  • Customise your axes with html
  • Design your own legend with markdown
  • Write your own looker chart with d3
  • Use filters to switch between explores
  • Embed your dashboard into a web app
  • Build functional navigation using axis and legend links
  • Apply custom colour palettes to standardise a dashboard
  • Use table calculations to enhance the visualisations
  • Visualise fine gained location data
  • Animate your charts
  • Repurpose a dashboard
  • Calculate intuitive measures with derived tables
  • Apply row numbers to derived tables
  • Preprocess location data in BigQuery
  • Limit costs using both Looker and BigQuery

See here for speakers and further information.



Virtual API Jam  (GCP Security)

When: May 13th

Virtual API Jam - Security is an advanced hands-on workshop for API developers and architects who want to understand how to secure APIs exposed through Apigee Edge. Our experts will walk you through five lab exercises that will help you throttle, protect and secure your APIs, by utilizing modern security principles like OAuth 2.0 and JWT, and simplifying developer on-boarding.


Virtual Masterclass: Cloud Practitioner Bootcamp with AWS

Designed to kickstart your AWS Practice, this bootcamp will focus on both the commercial and technical skills needed to build success.

About this Event

This introductory-level course is intended for APN Partners who seek an overall understanding of the AWS Cloud. It provides a detailed overview of cloud concepts, AWS services, security, architecture, pricing, and support.

Delivered through an interactive online format, at the end of the course there will be an online assessment which will provide a certification upon successful completion.

Ran by AWS and Ingram Micro expert trainers, this course will teach you how to succeed both technically and commercially.

The tailored training will teach you how to:

  • Define the AWS Cloud
  • Describe the key services on the AWS platform using common use cases
  • Describe basic AWS Cloud architectural principles
  • Describe the AWS Shared Responsibility Model with reference to basic security and compliance
  • Define pricing models
  • Identify sources of documentation, including where to go for further information, how to describe the AWS Cloud value proposition, and the different ways to define characteristics of deployment/operation in the AWS Cloud

Course Outline

This course covers the following concepts:

Module 1: AWS Cloud Concepts

Module 2: AWS Core Services

Module 3: AWS Security

Module 4: AWS Architecting

Module 5: AWS Pricing and Support

Please note you will be required to follow the registration link in the confirmation email to secure your place.


DockerCon Live

When: May 28


Cloud Data Summit North America

When: May 26-27



If you need a fix of AWS goodness, there is an extensive program of online tech talks scheduled:

Join AWS for live, online presentations led by AWS solutions architects and engineers. AWS Online Tech Talks cover a range of topics and expertise levels, and feature technical deep dives, demonstrations, customer examples, and live Q&A with AWS experts.

Note – All sessions are free and in Pacific Time. Can’t join them live? Access webinar recordings and slides on the On-Demand Portal


Microsoft also has a full training and events calendar underway : 

Source : https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/community/events/

Some are going ahead, but we'd suggest contacting the organisers before putting any concrete plans in place.

Thanks for reading, we hope you found something useful. Talking of useful: 

hava.io allows users to visualise their AWS, GCP and Azure cloud environments in interactive diagram form including unique infrastructure, security and container views. hava.io continuously polls your cloud configuration and logs changes in a version history for later inspection which helps with issue resolution and provides history of all configs for audit and cloud pci compliance purposes.

If you haven't taken a hava.io free trial to see what it can do for your workflow, security and compliance needs - please get in touch.


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