Category Archives: AWS

AWS Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region Now Open to All, with Three AZs and More Services

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AWS has had a presence in Japan for a long time! We opened the Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Region in March 2011, added a third Availability Zone (AZ) in 2012, and a fourth in 2018. Since that launch, customers in Japan and around the world have used the region to host an incredibly wide variety of applications!

We opened the Osaka Local Region in 2018 to give our customers in Japan a disaster recovery option for their workloads. Located 400 km from Tokyo, the Osaka Local Region used an isolated, fault-tolerant design contained within a single data center.

From Local to Standard
I am happy to announce that the Osaka Local Region has been expanded and is a now a standard AWS region, complete with three Availability Zones. As is always the case with AWS, the AZs are designed to provide physical redundancy, and are able to withstand power outages, internet downtime, floods, and other natural disasters.

The following services are available, with more in the works: Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), Amazon API Gateway, Auto Scaling, Application Auto Scaling, Amazon Aurora, AWS Config, AWS Personal Health Dashboard, AWS IQ, AWS Organizations, AWS Secrets Manager, AWS Shield Standard (regional), AWS Snowball Edge, AWS Step Functions, AWS Systems Manager, AWS Trusted Advisor, AWS Certificate Manager, CloudEndure Migration, CloudEndure Disaster Recovery, AWS CloudFormation, Amazon CloudFront, AWS CloudTrail, Amazon CloudWatch, CloudWatch Events, Amazon CloudWatch Logs, AWS CodeDeploy, AWS Database Migration Service, AWS Direct Connect, Amazon DynamoDB, Elastic Container Registry, Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), EC2 Image Builder, Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon EMR, Amazon ElastiCache, Amazon EventBridge, AWS Fargate, Amazon Glacier, AWS Glue, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), AWS Snowball, AWS Key Management Service (KMS), Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose, Amazon Kinesis Data Streams, AWS Lambda, AWS Marketplace, AWS Mobile SDK, Network Load Balancer, Amazon Redshift, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), Amazon Route 53, Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS), Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Simple Workflow Service (SWF), AWS VPN, VM Import/Export, AWS X-Ray, AWS Artifact, AWS PrivateLink, and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

The Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region supports the C5, C5d, D2, I3, I3en, M5, M5d, R5d, and T3 instance types, in On-Demand, Spot, and Reserved Instance form. X1 and X1e instances are available in a single AZ.

In addition to the AWS regions in Tokyo and Osaka, customers in Japan also benefit from:

  • 16 CloudFront edge locations in Tokyo.
  • One CloudFront edge location in Osaka.
  • One CloudFront Regional Edge Cache in Tokyo.
  • Two AWS Direct Connect locations in Tokyo.
  • One Direct Connect location in Osaka.

Here are typical latency values from the Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region to other cities in the area:

City Latency
Nagoya 2-5 ms
Hiroshima 2-5 ms
Tokyo 5-8 ms
Fukuoka 11-13 ms
Sendai 12-15 ms
Sapporo 14-17 ms
Seoul 27 ms
Taipei 29 ms
Hong Kong 38 ms
Manila 49 ms

AWS Customers in Japan
As I mentioned earlier, our customers are using the AWS regions in Tokyo and Osaka to host an incredibly wide variety of applications. Here’s a sampling:

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) – This financial services company adopted a cloud-first strategy and did their first AWS deployment in 2017. They have built a data platform for their banking and group data that helps them to streamline administrative processes, and also migrated a market risk management system. MUFG has been using the Osaka Local Region and is planning to use the Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region to run more workloads and to support their ongoing digital transformation.

KDDI Corporation (KDDI) – This diversified (telecommunication, financial services, Internet, electricity distribution, consumer appliance, and more) company started using AWS in 2016 after AWS met KDDI’s stringent internal security standards. They currently build and run more than 60 services on AWS, including the backend of the au Denki application, used by consumers to monitor electricity usage and rates. They plan to use the Asia Pacific (Osaka) Region to initiate multi-region service to their customers in Japan.

OGIS-RI – Founded in 1983, this global IT consulting firm is a part of the Daigas Group of companies. OSIS-RI provides information strategy, systems integration, systems development, network construction, support, and security. They use AWS to provide their enterprise customers with ekul, a data measurement service that measures and visualizes gas and electricity usage in real time and send it to corporate customers across Japan.

Sony Bank – Founded in 2001 as an asset management bank for individuals, Sony Bank provides services that include foreign currency deposits, home loans, investment trusts, and debit cards. Their gradual migration of internal banking systems to AWS began in 2013 and was 80% complete at the end of 2019. This migration reduced their infrastructure costs by 60% and more than halved the time it once took to procure and build out new infrastructure.

AWS Resources in Japan
As a quick reminder, enterprises, government and research organizations, small and medium businesses, educators, and startups in Japan have access to a wide variety of AWS and community resources. Here’s a sampling:

Available Now
The new region is open to all AWS customers and you can start to use it today!

Jeff;

 

AWS DeepRacer League’s 2021 Season Launches With New Open and Pro Divisions

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AWS DeepRacer League LogoAs a developer, I have been hearing a lot of stories lately about how companies have solved their business problems using machine learning (ML), so one of my goals for 2021 is to learn more about it.

For the last few years I have been using artificial intelligence (AI) services such as, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Comprehend, and others extensively. AI services provide a simple API to solve common ML problems such as image recognition, text to speech, and analysis of sentiment in a text. When using these high-level APIs, you don’t need to understand how the underlying ML model works, nor do you have to train it, or maintain it in any way.

Even though those services are great and I can solve most of my business cases with them, I want to understand how ML algorithms work, and that is how I started tinkering with AWS DeepRacer.

AWS DeepRacer, a service that helps you learn reinforcement learning (RL), has been around since 2018. RL is an advanced ML technique that takes a very different approach to training models than other ML methods. Basically, it can learn very complex behavior without requiring any labeled training data, and it can make short-term decisions while optimizing for a long-term goal.

AWS DeepRacer is an autonomous 1/18th scale race car designed to test RL models by racing virtually in the AWS DeepRacer console or physically on a track at AWS and customer events. AWS DeepRacer is for developers of all skill levels, even if you don’t have any ML experience. When learning RL using AWS DeepRacer, you can take part in the AWS DeepRacer League where you get experience with machine learning in a fun and competitive environment.

Over the past year, the AWS DeepRacer League’s races have gone completely virtual and participants have competed for different kinds of prizes. However, the competition has become dominated by experts and newcomers haven’t had much of a chance to win.

The 2021 season introduces new skill-based Open and Pro racing divisions, where racers of all skill levels have five times more opportunities to win rewards than in previous seasons.

Image of the leagues in the console

How the New AWS DeepRacer Racing Divisions Work

The 2021 AWS DeepRacer league runs from March 1 through the end of October. When it kicks off, all participants will enter the Open division, a place to have fun and develop your RL knowledge with other community members.

At the end of every month, the top 10% of the Open division leaderboard will advance to the Pro division for the remainder of the season; they’ll also receive a Pro Welcome kit full of AWS DeepRacer swag. Pro division racers can win DeepRacer Evo cars and AWS DeepRacer merchandise such as hats and T-shirts.

At the end of every month, the top 16 racers in the Pro division will compete against each other in a live race console. That race will determine who will advance that month to the 2021 Championship Cup at re:Invent 2021.

The monthly Pro division winner gets an expenses-paid trip to re:Invent 2021 and participates in the Championship Cup to get a chance to win a Machine Learning education sponsorship worth $20k.

In both divisions, you can collect digital rewards, including vehicle customizations and accessories which will be released to participants once the winners are announced each month. 

You can start racing in the Open division any time during the 2021 season. Get started here!

Image of my racer profileNew Racer Profiles Increase the Fun

At the end of March, you will be able to create a new racer profile with an avatar and show the world which country you are representing.

I hope to see you in the new AWS DeepRacer season, where I’ll start in the Open division as MaVi.

Start racing today and train your first model for free! 

Marcia

Amplify Flutter is Now Generally Available: Build Beautiful Cross-Platform Apps

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AWS Amplify is a set of tools and services for building secure, scalable mobile and web applications. Currently, Amplify supports iOS, Android, and JavaScript (web and React Native) and is the quickest and easiest way to build applications powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Flutter is Google’s UI toolkit for building natively compiled mobile, web, and desktop applications from a single code base and is one of the fastest-growing mobile frameworks.

Amplify Flutter brings together AWS Amplify and Flutter, and we designed it for customers who have invested in the Flutter ecosystem and now want to take advantage of the power of AWS.

In August 2020, we launched the developer preview of Amplify Flutter and asked for feedback. We were delighted with the response. After months of refining the service, today we are happy to announce the general availability of Amplify Flutter.

New Amplify Flutter Features in GA
The GA release makes it easier to build powerful Flutter apps with the addition of three new capabilities:

First, we recently added a GraphQL API backed by AWS AppSync as well as REST APIs and handlers using Amazon API Gateway and AWS Lambda.

Second, Amplify DataStore provides a programming model for leveraging shared and distributed data without writing additional code for offline and online scenarios, which makes working with distributed, cross-user data just as simple as working with local-only data.

Finally, we have Hosted UI which is a great way to implement authentication, and works with Amazon Cognito and other social identity providers such as Facebook, Google and Amazon. Hosted UI is a customizable OAuth 2.0 flow that allows you to launch a login screen without embedding the SDK for Cognito or a social provider in your application.

Digging Deeper Into Amplify DataStore
I have been building an app over the past two weeks using Amplify Flutter, and my favorite feature is Amplify DataStore, primarily because it has saved me so much time.

Working with the REST and GraphQL APIs is great in Amplify. However, when I create a mobile app, I’m often thinking about what happens when the mobile device has intermittent connectivity and can’t connect to the API endpoints. Storing data locally and syncing back to the cloud can become quite complicated. Amplify DataStore solves that problem by providing a persistent on-device data store that handles the offline or online scenario.

When I started developing my app, I used DataStore as a stand-alone local database. However, its power became apparent to me when I connected it to a cloud backend. DataStore uses my AWS AppSync API to sync data when network connectivity is available. If the app is offline, it stores it locally, ready for when a connection becomes available.

Amplify DataStore automatically versions data and implements conflict detection and resolution in the cloud using AppSync. The toolchain also generates object definitions for Dart based on the GraphQL schema that I provide.

Writing to Amplify DataStore
Writing to the DataStore is straightforward. The documentation site shows an example that you can try yourself that uses a schema from a blog site.

Post newPost = Post(
    title: 'New Post being saved', rating: 15, status: PostStatus.DRAFT);
await Amplify.DataStore.save(newPost);

Reading from Amplify DataStore
To read from the DataStore, you can query for all records of a given model type.

try {
   List<Post> posts = await Amplify.DataStore.query(Post.classType);
 } catch (e) {
   print("Query failed: " + e);
 }

Synchronization with Amplify DataStore
If you enable data synchronization, there can be different versions of an object across clients, and multiple clients may have updated their copies of an object. DataStore will converge different object versions by applying conflict detection and resolution strategies. The default resolution is called Auto Merge, but other strategies include optimistic concurrency control and custom Lambda functions.

Additional Amplify Flutter Features
Amplify Flutter allows you to work with AWS in three additional ways:

  • Authentication. Amplify Flutter provides an interface for authenticating a user and enables use cases like Sign-Up, Sign-In, and Multi-Factor Authentication. Behind the scenes, it provides the necessary authorization to the other Amplify categories. It comes with built-in support for Cognito user pools and identity pools.
  • Storage. Amplify Flutter provides an interface for managing user content for your app in public, protected, or private storage buckets. It enables use cases like upload, download, and deleting objects and provides built-in support for Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) by default.
  • Analytics. Amplify Flutter enables you to collect tracking data for authenticated or unauthenticated users in Amazon Pinpoint. You can easily record events and extend the default functionality for custom metrics or attributes as needed.

Available Now
Amplify Flutter is now available in GA in all regions that support AWS Amplify. There is no additional cost for using Amplify Flutter; you only pay for the backend services your applications use above the free tier; check out the pricing page for more details.

Visit the Amplify Flutter documentation to get started and learn more. Happy coding.

— Martin

New – Amazon Elastic Block Store Local Snapshots on AWS Outposts

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Today I am happy to announce that AWS Outposts customers can now make local snapshots of their Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes, making it easy to meet data residency and local backup requirements. AWS Outposts is a fully managed service that extends AWS infrastructure, services, APIs, and tools to virtually any datacenter, co-location space, or on-premises facility for a truly consistent hybrid experience. Until now, Amazon EBS snapshots on Outposts were stored by default on Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) in the AWS Region. If your Outpost is provisioned with Amazon S3 on Outposts, now you have the option to store your snapshots locally on your Outpost.

Customers use AWS Outposts to support applications that need to run on-premises due to low latency, local data processing, or data residency requirements. Customers looking to use AWS services in countries where no AWS Region exists today can opt to run their applications on Outposts. Sometimes data needs to remain in a particular country, state, or municipality for regulatory, contractual, or information security reasons. These customers need the data for snapshots and Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to be stored locally on Outposts to operate their applications. In addition, some of our customers could also see value for workloads that need low latency access to local backups.

EBS Local Snapshots on Outposts is a new capability that enables snapshots and AMI data to be stored locally on Amazon S3 on Outposts. Now you can create and manage EBS Local Snapshots on Outposts through the AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), and AWS SDKs. You can also continue to take snapshots of EBS volumes on Outposts, which are stored in S3 in the associated parent Region.

How to Get Started With EBS Local Snapshots on Outposts
To get started, visit the AWS Outposts Management Console to order an Outposts configuration that includes your selected EBS and Amazon S3 storage capacity (EBS snapshots use Amazon S3 on Outposts to store snapshots), or you can add S3 storage to your existing Outposts. EBS Local Snapshots are enabled on Outposts provisioned with Amazon S3 on Outposts.

To create a local EBS snapshot on Outposts, go to the EBS volume console and select the volume you want to create a snapshot from. Click the Actions button, then select Create Snapshot in the dropdown menu.

You can create a snapshot either in the AWS Region or your Outposts when you choose the Snapshot destination. The AWS Region snapshot uses Amazon S3 in the region and the AWS Outposts snapshot uses S3 storage on Outposts for storing the snapshots. Amazon S3 on Outposts is a new storage class, which is designed to durably and redundantly store data on Outposts. Note that due to its scale, Amazon S3 in a region offers higher durability than S3 on Outposts.

You can call CreateSnapshot with the outpost-arn parameter set to the Outposts ARN that uniquely identifies your installation. If data residency is not a concern, you can also get the CreateSnapshot API to create the snapshot in the parent AWS Region by specifying AWS Region as the destination.

$ aws ec2 create-snapshot 
     --volume-id vol-1234567890abcdef0 
     --outpost-arn arn:aws:outposts:us-east-1:123456789012:outpost/op-1a2b3c  
	 --description "local snapshots in outpost"

You can also use commands for the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) and AWS SDKs e.g. CreateSnapshots, DescribeSnapshot, CopySnapshot, and DeleteSnapshot to manage snapshots on Outposts, and use Amazon Data Lifecycle Manager to automate snapshots management on Outposts. All local snapshots on Outposts are Encrypted by Default (EBD).

You can set IAM policies for data residency of your snapshots. The policy example below will enforce data residency on the Outposts by denying CreateSnapshot(s) calls to create snapshots in the region from outpost volumes.

{
   "Version":"2012-10-17",
   "Statement":[
      {
         "Effect":"Deny",
         "Action":[
            "ec2:CreateSnapshot",
            "ec2:CreateSnapshots"
         ],
         "Resource":"arn:aws:ec2:us-west-2::snapshot/*",
         "Condition":{
            "StringEquals":{
               "ec2:SourceOutpostArn":"arn:aws:outposts:us-west-2:1234567890:outpost/op-1a2b3c"
            },
            "Null":{
               "ec2:OutpostArn":"true"
            }
         }
      },
      {
         "Effect":"Allow",
         "Action":[
            "ec2:CreateSnapshot",
            "ec2:CreateSnapshots"
         ],
         "Resource":"*"
      }
   ]
}

You can audit your own data residency compliance by calling the DescribeSnapshots API that will return the snapshot’s storage location. All creation, update, and copy operations are logged in AWS CloudTrail audit logs.

You can copy AMI snapshots from the AWS Region to your Outposts and register them as AMI to launch your EC2 instances on Outposts.

Also, you can do this via simple AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) commands as follows:

$ aws ec2 copy-snapshot 
     --region us-west-2 
     --source-region us-west-2 
     --source-snapshot-id snap-1 
     --destination-outpost-arn arn:aws:outposts:us-west-2:123456789012:outpost/op-1a2b3c  
	 --description "This is my copied snapshot."

Now you can register the snapshot as a local AMI for launching your EC2 instances on your Outposts.

$ aws ec2 register-image 
    --root-device-name /dev/sda1 
    --block-device-mappings '[ 
       {"DeviceName": "/dev/sda1", "Ebs" :{"VolumeSize":100, "SnapshotId":"snap-1-copy"}}]'

You can also copy your regional AMIs to Outposts using the copy-image command. Specify the ID of the AMI to copy, the source Region, and the ARN of the destination Outpost.

$ aws ec2 copy-image 
       --source-region us-west-2 
	   --source-image-id ami-1234567890abcdef0  
	   --name "Local AMI copy"  
	   --destination-outpost-arn arn:aws:outposts:us-west-2:123456789012:outpost/op-1a2b3c

Copying of local snapshots on Outposts to the parent AWS Region is not supported. In scenarios where data residency is required, you can only create local snapshots or copy snapshots from the parent Region. To ensure your data residency requirements are met on AWS Outposts, I recommend you refer to whitepapers such as AWS Policy Perspectives: Data Residency and Addressing Data Residency Requirements with AWS Outposts, and confirm and work closely with your compliance and security teams.

CloudEndure Migration and Disaster Recovery services, offered by AWS, allow customers to migrate or replicate workloads for recovery purposes into AWS from physical, virtual, or cloud-based sources. Up until now, if customers selected an Outposts device as a migration or recovery target, the snapshot data had to be copied to a public region before being copied back into the Outposts device. This led to increased cutover and recovery times, as well as other data transfer impacts.

With the newly launched availability of EBS Local Snapshots on Outposts, you can migrate, replicate and recover workloads from any sources directly into Outposts, or between Outposts devices, without requiring the EBS snapshot data to go through a public region, leading to lower latencies, greater performance, and reduced costs. Supported use cases related to Outposts for migration and disaster recovery include: from on-premises to Outposts, from public AWS Regions into Outposts, from Outposts into public AWS Regions, and between two Outposts devices. Learn more about CloudEndure Migration and CloudEndure Disaster Recovery.

Available Now
Amazon EBS Local Snapshots on AWS Outposts is available for all Outposts provisioned with S3 on Outposts. To learn more, take a look at the documentation. Please send feedback to the AWS Outposts team, your usual AWS support contacts, or Outposts partners.

Learn all the details about AWS Outposts and get started today.

Channy

AWS PrivateLink for Amazon S3 is Now Generally Available

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At AWS re:Invent, we pre-announced that AWS PrivateLink for Amazon S3 was coming soon, and soon has arrived — this new feature is now generally available. AWS PrivateLink provides private connectivity between Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and on-premises resources using private IPs from your virtual network.

Way back in 2015, S3 was the first service to add a VPC endpoint; these endpoints provide a secure connection to S3 that does not require a gateway or NAT instances. Our customers welcomed this new flexibility but also told us they needed to access S3 from on-premises applications privately over secure connections provided by AWS Direct Connect or AWS VPN.

Our customers are very resourceful and by setting up proxy servers with private IP addresses in their Amazon Virtual Private Clouds and using gateway endpoints for S3, they found a way to solve this problem. While this solution works, proxy servers typically constrain performance, add additional points of failure, and increase operational complexity.

We looked at how we could solve this problem for our customers without these drawbacks and PrivateLink for S3 is the result.

With this feature you can now access S3 directly as a private endpoint within your secure, virtual network using a new interface VPC endpoint in your Virtual Private Cloud. This extends the functionality of existing gateway endpoints by enabling you to access S3 using private IP addresses. API requests and HTTPS requests to S3 from your on-premises applications are automatically directed through interface endpoints, which connect to S3 securely and privately through PrivateLink.

Interface endpoints simplify your network architecture when connecting to S3 from on-premises applications by eliminating the need to configure firewall rules or an internet gateway. You can also gain additional visibility into network traffic with the ability to capture and monitor flow logs in your VPC. Additionally, you can set security groups and access control policies on your interface endpoints.

Available Now
PrivateLink for S3 is available in all AWS Regions. AWS PrivateLink is available at a low per-GB charge for data processed and a low hourly charge for interface VPC endpoints. We hope you enjoy using this new feature and look forward to receiving your feedback. To learn more, check out the PrivateLink for S3 documentation.

Try out AWS PrivateLink for Amazon S3 today, and happy storing.

— Martin

New – Multiple Private Marketplace Catalogs

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We launched AWS Marketplace in 2014, and it allows customers to find, buy, and immediately start using cloud-based applications developed by independent software vendors (ISVs). In 2018, we added the ability to add a Private Marketplace where you can curate a list of approved products your users can purchase from AWS Marketplace. Today we are adding a new feature so that you can create multiple Private Marketplace catalogs within your AWS Organizations. Each Private Marketplace can contain a different set of products to provide a tailored experience for particular groups of accounts.

Customers with diverse sets of users need to scale their governance to meet business needs. For example, a large enterprise with subsidiaries in different industries has varying software needs and policies for each subsidiary. IT administrators struggle with scaling their procurement process to address these differing needs across their organization and often revert to one procurement policy to govern their entire org. While there are exceptions, companies depend on time-consuming, manual processes to ensure the correct products are approved and procured. As a result, customers struggle to scale their procurement and governance process to meet their organization’s speed and agility demands.

After listening to customers explain these sorts of issues, we set about developing a solution to help, and the concept of multiple Private Marketplace catalogs was born. We call these Private Marketplace experiences. They represent the experience that your users will see when they browse their AWS Marketplace. Each experience is a collection of approved AWS Marketplace products that you, as an administrator, select and curate. You can add any of the 8000-plus products from AWS Marketplace to an experience and customize the look and feel by changing the Private Marketplace logo, wording, and color.

In the Private Marketplace admin portal, within the AWS Marketplace interface, you can create an Account group, which is essentially a way of grouping together a number of AWS accounts. You can then associate an experience with an Account group, enabling you to give different users distinct experiences. This association allows you to govern the use of third-party software subscriptions and ensure they adhere to your internal procurement policies.

To give you a flavor of this feature, I will create a new Private Marketplace experience.

How to Create a Private Marketplace Experience
I head over to the Private Marketplace interface and select the Experiences link; this lists the default experience called Private Marketplace Experience. I then press the Create experience button.

I give the experience a name and a description and click the Create experience button.

If I drill into the details for my newly created experience, I can then start to add products to my catalog. I use the search in the All AWS Marketplace products section and look for Tableau. I find the Tableau Server product and select it. I then click the Add button which adds the product to my catalog.

Screenshot, adding a product

To associate this experience with a set of AWS accounts, I click on the Create association button; this allows me to create a new Account group.

I give my account group the title Business Intelligence Group and add a description. I then associate AWS accounts that I want to be part of this group. Finally, I associate this group with the Business Intelligence Team experience I created earlier and finally click Create account group.

I now go to the settings for the experience and change the switch so that the experience is now live. On this screen I can also customize the look and feel of the Private Marketplace by uploading a logo, changing the color, and adding custom wording.

Now, if I log in and browse the AWS Marketplace using an account that is in the Account group I just created, I will see the Private Marketplace experience rather than the regular AWS Marketplace.

Available now
The ability to create multiple Private Marketplace catalogs is available now in all regions that support AWS Marketplace, and you can start using the feature directly from the Private Marketplace interface. Additionally, you can use the accompanying set of APIs so that you can integrate with existing approval or ticketing systems to simplify management across catalogs.

Visit the Private Marketplace page to get started and learn more. Happy curating.

— Martin

Amazon Lex Introduces an Enhanced Console Experience and New V2 APIs

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Today, the Amazon Lex team has released a new console experience that makes it easier to build, deploy, and manage conversational experiences. Along with the new console, we have also introduced new V2 APIs, including continuous streaming capability. These improvements allow you to reach new audiences, have more natural conversations, and develop and iterate faster.

The new Lex console and V2 APIs make it easier to build and manage bots focusing on three main benefits. First, you can add a new language to a bot at any time and manage all the languages through the lifecycle of design, test, and deployment as a single resource. The new console experience allows you to quickly move between different languages to compare and refine your conversations. I’ll demonstrate later how easy it was to add French to my English bot.

Second, V2 APIs simplify versioning. The new Lex console and V2 APIs provide a simple information architecture where the bot intents and slot types are scoped to a specific language. Versioning is performed at the bot level so that resources such as intents and slot types do not have to be versioned individually. All resources within the bot (language, intents, and slot types) are archived as part of the bot version creation. This new way of working makes it easier to manage bots.

Lastly, you have additional builder productivity tools and capabilities to give you more flexibility and control of your bot design process. You can now save partially completed work as you develop different bot elements as you script, test and tune your configuration. This provides you with more flexibility as you iterate through the bot development. For example, you can save a slot that refers to a deleted slot type. In addition to saving partially completed work, you can quickly navigate across the configuration without getting lost. The new Conversation flow capability allows you to maintain your orientation as you move across the different intents and slot types.

In addition to the enhanced console and APIs, we are providing a new streaming conversation API. Natural conversations are punctuated with pauses and interruptions. For example, a customer may ask to pause the conversation or hold the line while looking up the necessary information before answering a question to retrieve credit card details when providing bill payments. With streaming conversation APIs, you can pause a conversation and handle interruptions directly as you configure the bot. Overall, the design and implementation of the conversation is simplified and easy to manage. The bot builder can quickly enhance the conversational capability of virtual contact center agents or smart assistants.

Let’s create a new bot and explore how some of Lex’s new console and streaming API features provide an improved bot building experience.

Building a bot
I head over to the new V2 Lex console and click on Create bot to start things off.

I select that I want to Start with an example and select the MakeAppointment example.

Over the years, I have spoken at many conferences, so I now offer to review talks that other community members are producing. Since these speakers are often in different time zones, it can be complicated to organize the various appointments for the different types of reviews that I offer. So I have decided to build a bot to streamline the process. I give my bot the name TalkReview and provide a description. I also select Create a role with basic Amazon Lex permissions and use this as my runtime role.

I must add at least one language to my bot, so I start with English (GB). I also select the text-to-speech voice that I want to use should my bot require voice interaction rather than just text.

During the creation, there is a new button that allows me to Add another language. I click on this to add French (FR) to my bot. You can add languages during creation as I am doing here, or you can add additional languages later on as your bot becomes more popular and needs to work with new audiences.

I can now start defining intents for my bot, and I can begin the iterative process of building and testing my bot. I won’t go into all of the details of how to create a bot or show you all of the intents I added, as we have better tutorials that can show you that step-by-step, but I will point out a few new features that make this new enhanced console really compelling.

The new Conversation flow provides you with a visual flow of the conversation, and you can see how the sample utterances you provide and how your conversation might work in the real world. I love this feature because you can click on the various elements, and it will take you to where you can make changes. For example, I can click on the prompt What type of review would you like to schedule and I am taken to the place where I can edit this prompt.

The new console has a very well thought-out approach to versioning a bot. At anytime, on the Bot versions screen, I can click Create version, and it will take a snapshot of the state of the bot’s current configuration. I can then associate that with an alias. For example, in my application, I have an alias called Production. This Production alias is associated with Version 1. Still, at any time, I could switch it to use a different version or even roll back to a previous version if I discover problems.

The testing experience is now very streamlined. Once I have built the bot, I can click the test button on the bottom right hand of the screen and start speaking to the bot and testing the experience. You can also expand the Inspect window, which gives you details about the conversations state, and you can also explore the raw JSON inputs and outputs.

Things to know
Here are a couple of important things to keep in mind when you use the enhanced console

  • Integration with Amazon Connect – Currently, bots built in the new console cannot be integrated with Amazon Connect contact flows. We plan to provide this integration as part of the near-term roadmap. You can use the current console and existing APIs to create and integrate bots with Amazon Connect.
  • Pricing – You only pay for what you use. The charges remain the same for existing audio and text APIs, renamed as RecognizeUtterance and RecognizeText. For the new Streaming capabilities, please refer to the pricing detail here.
  • All existing APIs and bots will continue to be supported. The newly announced features are only available in the new console and V2 APIs.

Go Build
Lex enhanced console is available now, and you can start using it today. The enhanced experience and V2 APIs are available in all existing regions and support all current languages. So, please give this console a try and let us know what you think. To learn more, check out the documentation for the console and the streaming API.

Happy Building!
— Martin

New – AWS Transfer Family support for Amazon Elastic File System

This post was originally published on this site

AWS Transfer Family provides fully managed Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP) over TLS, and FTP support for Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), enabling you to seamlessly migrate your file transfer workflows to AWS.

Today I am happy to announce AWS Transfer Family now also supports file transfers to Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) file systems as well as Amazon S3. This feature enables you to easily and securely provide your business partners access to files stored in Amazon EFS file systems. With this launch, you now have the option to store the transferred files in a fully managed file system and reduce your operational burden, while preserving your existing workflows that use SFTP, FTPS, or FTP protocols.

Amazon EFS file systems are accessible within your Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and VPC connected environments. With this launch, you can securely enable third parties such as your vendors, partners, or customers to access your files over the supported protocols at scale globally, without needing to manage any infrastructure. When you select Amazon EFS as the data store for your AWS Transfer Family server, the transferred files are readily available to your business-critical applications running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), as well as to containerized and serverless applications run using AWS services such as Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), AWS Fargate, and AWS Lambda.

Using Amazon EFS – Getting Started
To get started in your existing Amazon EFS file system, make sure the POSIX identities you assign for your SFTP/FTPS/FTP users are owners of the files and directories you want to provide access to. You will provide access to that Amazon EFS file system through a resource-based policy. Your role also needs to establish a trust relationship. This trust relationship allows AWS Transfer Family to assume the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role to access your bucket so that it can service your users’ file transfer requests.

You will also need to make sure you have created a mount target for your file system. In the example below, the home directory is owned by userid 1234 and groupid 5678.

$ mkdir home/myname
$ chown 1234:5678 home/myname

When you create a server in the AWS Transfer Family console, select Amazon EFS as your storage service in the Step 4 section Choose a domain.

When the server is enabled and in an online state, you can add users to your server. On the Servers page, select the check box of the server that you want to add a user to and choose Add user.

In the User configuration section, you can specify the username, uid (e.g. 1234), gid (e.g 5678), IAM role, and Amazon EFS file system as user’s home directory. You can optionally specify a directory within the file system which will be the user’s landing directory. You use a service-managed identity type – SSH keys. If you want to use password type, you can use a custom option with AWS Secrets Manager.

Amazon EFS uses POSIX IDs which consist of an operating system user id, group id, and secondary group id to control access to a file system. When setting up your user, you can specify the username, user’s POSIX configuration, and an IAM role to access the EFS file system. To learn more about configuring ownership of sub-directories in EFS, visit the documentation.

Once the users have been configured, you can transfer files using the AWS Transfer Family service by specifying the transfer operation in a client. When your user authenticates successfully using their file transfer client, it will be placed directly within the specified home directory, or root of the specified EFS file system.

$ sftp myname@my-efs-server.example.com

sftp> cd /fs-23456789/home/myname
sftp> ls -l
-rw-r--r-- 1 3486 1234 5678 Jan 04 14:59 my-file.txt
sftp> put my-newfile.txt
sftp> ls -l
-rw-r--r-- 1 3486 1234 5678 Jan 04 14:59 my-file.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 1002 1234 5678 Jan 04 15:22 my-newfile.txt

Most of SFTP/FTPS/FTP commands are supported in the new EFS file system. You can refer to a list of available commands for FTP and FTPS clients in the documentation.

Command Amazon S3 Amazon EFS
cd Supported Supported
ls/dir Supported Supported
pwd Supported Supported
put Supported Supported
get Supported Supported including resolving symlinks
rename Supported (only file) Supported (file or folder)
chown Not supported Supported (root only)
chmod Not supported Supported (root only)
chgrp Not supported Supported (root or owner only)
ln -s Not supported Not supported
mkdir Supported Supported
rm Supported Supported
rmdir Supported (non-empty folders only) Supported
chmtime Not Supported Supported

You can use Amazon CloudWatch to track your users’ activity for file creation, update, delete, read operations, and metrics for data uploaded and downloaded using your server. To learn more on how to enable CloudWatch logging, visit the documentation.

Available Now
AWS Transfer Family support for Amazon EFS file systems is available in all AWS Regions where AWS Transfer Family is available. There are no additional AWS Transfer Family charges for using Amazon EFS as the storage backend. With Amazon EFS storage, you pay only for what you use. There is no need to provision storage in advance and there are no minimum commitments or up-front fees.

To learn more, take a look at the FAQs and the documentation. Please send feedback to the AWS forum for AWS Transfer Family or through your usual AWS support contacts.

Learn all the details about AWS Transfer Family to access Amazon EFS file systems and get started today.

Channy;

Amazon Location – Add Maps and Location Awareness to Your Applications

This post was originally published on this site

We want to make it easier and more cost-effective for you to add maps, location awareness, and other location-based features to your web and mobile applications. Until now, doing this has been somewhat complex and expensive, and also tied you to the business and programming models of a single provider.

Introducing Amazon Location Service
Today we are making Amazon Location available in preview form and you can start using it today. Priced at a fraction of common alternatives, Amazon Location Service gives you access to maps and location-based services from multiple providers on an economical, pay-as-you-go basis.

You can use Amazon Location Service to build applications that know where they are and respond accordingly. You can display maps, validate addresses, perform geocoding (turn an address into a location), track the movement of packages and devices, and much more. You can easily set up geofences and receive notifications when tracked items enter or leave a geofenced area. You can even overlay your own data on the map while retaining full control.

You can access Amazon Location Service from the AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), or via a set of APIs. You can also use existing map libraries such as Mapbox GL and Tangram.

All About Amazon Location
Let’s take a look at the types of resources that Amazon Location Service makes available to you, and then talk about how you can use them in your applications.

MapsAmazon Location Service lets you create maps that make use of data from our partners. You can choose between maps and map styles provided by Esri and by HERE Technologies, with the potential for more maps & more styles from these and other partners in the future. After you create a map, you can retrieve a tile (at one of up to 16 zoom levels) using the GetMapTile function. You won’t do this directly, but will use Mapbox GL, Tangram, or another library instead.

Place Indexes – You can choose between indexes provided by Esri and HERE. The indexes support the SearchPlaceIndexForPosition function which returns places, such as residential addresses or points of interest (often known as POI) that are closest to the position that you supply, while also performing reverse geocoding to turn the position (a pair of coordinates) into a legible address. Indexes also support the SearchPlaceIndexForText function, which searches for addresses, businesses, and points of interest using free-form text such as an address, a name, a city, or a region.

Trackers –Trackers receive location updates from one or more devices via the BatchUpdateDevicePosition function, and can be queried for the current position (GetDevicePosition) or location history (GetDevicePositionHistory) of a device. Trackers can also be linked to Geofence Collections to implement monitoring of devices as they move in and out of geofences.

Geofence Collections – Each collection contains a list of geofences that define geographic boundaries. Here’s a geofence (created with geojson.io) that outlines a park near me:

Amazon Location in Action
I can use the AWS Management Console to get started with Amazon Location and then move on to the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) or the APIs if necessary. I open the Amazon Location Service Console, and I can either click Try it! to create a set of starter resources, or I can open up the navigation on the left and create them one-by-one. I’ll go for one-by-one, and click Maps:

Then I click Create map to proceed:

I enter a Name and a Description:

Then I choose the desired map and click Create map:

The map is created and ready to be added to my application right away:

Now I am ready to embed the map in my application, and I have several options including the Amplify JavaScript SDK, the Amplify Android SDK, the Amplify iOS SDK, Tangram, and Mapbox GL (read the Developer Guide to learn more about each option).

Next, I want to track the position of devices so that I can be notified when they enter or exit a given region. I use a GeoJSON editing tool such as geojson.io to create a geofence that is built from polygons, and save (download) the resulting file:

I click Create geofence collection in the left-side navigation, and in Step 1, I add my GeoJSON file, enter a Name and Description, and click Next:

Now I enter a Name and a Description for my tracker, and click Next. It will be linked to the geofence collection that I just created:

The next step is to arrange for the tracker to send events to Amazon EventBridge so that I can monitor them in CloudWatch Logs. I leave the settings as-is, and click Next to proceed:

I review all of my choices, and click Finalize to move ahead:

The resources are created, set up, and ready to go:

I can then write code or use the CLI to update the positions of my devices:

$ aws location batch-update-device-position 
   --tracker-name MyTracker1 
   --updates "DeviceId=Jeff1,Position=-122.33805,47.62748,SampleTime=2020-11-05T02:59:07+0000"

After I do this a time or two, I can retrieve the position history for the device:

$ aws location get-device-position-history 
  -tracker-name MyTracker1 --device-id Jeff1
------------------------------------------------
|           GetDevicePositionHistory           |
+----------------------------------------------+
||               DevicePositions              ||
|+---------------+----------------------------+|
||  DeviceId     |  Jeff1                     ||
||  ReceivedTime |  2020-11-05T02:59:17.246Z  ||
||  SampleTime   |  2020-11-05T02:59:07Z      ||
|+---------------+----------------------------+|
|||                 Position                 |||
||+------------------------------------------+||
|||  -122.33805                              |||
|||  47.62748                                |||
||+------------------------------------------+||
||               DevicePositions              ||
|+---------------+----------------------------+|
||  DeviceId     |  Jeff1                     ||
||  ReceivedTime |  2020-11-05T03:02:08.002Z  ||
||  SampleTime   |  2020-11-05T03:01:29Z      ||
|+---------------+----------------------------+|
|||                 Position                 |||
||+------------------------------------------+||
|||  -122.43805                              |||
|||  47.52748                                |||
||+------------------------------------------+||

I can write Amazon EventBridge rules that watch for the events, and use them to perform any desired processing. Events are published when a device enters or leaves a geofenced area, and look like this:

{
  "version": "0",
  "id": "7cb6afa8-cbf0-e1d9-e585-fd5169025ee0",
  "detail-type": "Location Geofence Event",
  "source": "aws.geo",
  "account": "123456789012",
  "time": "2020-11-05T02:59:17.246Z",
  "region": "us-east-1",
  "resources": [
    "arn:aws:geo:us-east-1:123456789012:geofence-collection/MyGeoFences1",
    "arn:aws:geo:us-east-1:123456789012:tracker/MyTracker1"
  ],
  "detail": {
        "EventType": "ENTER",
        "GeofenceId": "LakeUnionPark",
        "DeviceId": "Jeff1",
        "SampleTime": "2020-11-05T02:59:07Z",
        "Position": [-122.33805, 47.52748]
  }
}

Finally, I can create and use place indexes so that I can work with geographical objects. I’ll use the CLI for a change of pace. I create the index:

$ aws location create-place-index 
  --index-name MyIndex1 --data-source Here

Then I query it to find the addresses and points of interest near the location:

$ aws location search-place-index-for-position --index-name MyIndex1 
  --position "[-122.33805,47.62748]" --output json 
  |  jq .Results[].Place.Label
"Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States"
"900 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109-3523, United States"
"851 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109-4348, United States"
"860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109-4330, United States"
"Seattle Fireboat Duwamish, 860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109-4330, United States"
"824 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109-4330, United States"
"9th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States"
...

I can also do a text-based search:

$ aws location search-place-index-for-text --index-name MyIndex1 
  --text Coffee --bias-position "[-122.33805,47.62748]" 
  --output json | jq .Results[].Place.Label
"Mohai Cafe, 860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States"
"Starbucks, 1200 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States"
"Metropolitan Deli and Cafe, 903 Dexter Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States"
"Top Pot Doughnuts, 590 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States"
"Caffe Umbria, 1201 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States"
"Starbucks, 515 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States"
"Cafe 815 Mercer, 815 9th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States"
"Victrola Coffee Roasters, 500 Boren Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States"
"Specialty's, 520 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States"
...

Both of the searches have other options; read the Geocoding, Reverse Geocoding, and Search to learn more.

Things to Know
Amazon Location is launching today as a preview, and you can get started with it right away. During the preview we plan to add an API for routing, and will also do our best to respond to customer feedback and feature requests as they arrive.

Pricing is based on usage, with an initial evaluation period that lasts for three months and lets you make numerous calls to the Amazon Location APIs at no charge. After the evaluation period you pay the prices listed on the Amazon Location Pricing page.

Amazon Location is available in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Regions.

Jeff;

 

New –  FreeRTOS Long Term Support to Provide Years of Feature Stability

This post was originally published on this site

Today, I’m particularly happy to announce FreeRTOS Long Term Support (LTS). FreeRTOS is an open source, real-time operating system for microcontrollers that makes small, low-power edge devices easy to program, deploy, secure, connect, and manage. LTS releases offer a more stable foundation than standard releases as manufacturers deploy and later update devices in the field. As we have planned, LTS is now included in the FreeRTOS kernel and a set of FreeRTOS libraries needed for embedded and IoT applications, and for securely connecting microcontroller-based (MCU) devices to the cloud.

Embedded developers at original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and MCU vendors using FreeRTOS to build long-lived applications on IoT devices now get the predictability and feature stability of an LTS release without compromising access to critical security updates. FreeRTOS 202012.00 LTS release applies to the FreeRTOS kernel and IoT libraries — FreeRTOS+TCP, coreMQTT, coreHTTP, corePKCS11, coreJSON, and AWS IoT Device Shadow.

We will provide security updates and critical bug fixes for all these libraries until December 31, 2022.

Benefits of FreeRTOS LTS
Embedded developers at OEMs who want to use FreeRTOS libraries for their long-lived applications want to benefit from security updates and bug fixes in the latest FreeRTOS mainline releases. Mainline releases can introduce both new features and critical fixes, which may increase time and effort for users to include only fixes.

An LTS release provides years of feature stability of included libraries. With an LTS release, any update will not change public APIs, file structure, or build processes that could require changes to your application. Security updates and critical bug fixes will be backported at least until Dec 31, 2022. LTS releases contain updates that only address critical issues including security vulnerabilities. Therefore, the integration of LTS releases is less disruptive to customers’ development and integration efforts as they approach and move into production. For MCU vendors, this means reduced effort in integrating a stable code base and faster time to market with vendors’ latest libraries.

Available Now
The FreeRTOS 202012.00 LTS release is available now to download. To learn more, visit FreeRTOS LTS and the documentation. Please send us feedback on the Github repository and the forum of FreeRTOS.

Channy