AWS Services Inconsistency

AWS still puzzles me at times. While the range of products and services is so huge and there is hardly something you cant accomplish with AWS at hand, still you find little gaps which can annoy, see my earlier discussion around VPC and VPN.

SimpleDB

I though every service would be accessible through the admin console. While looking for an alternative to place log data I came across AWS SimpleDB, just to learn there is no function in the web admin console to control it. I even created a support issue believing the service was not enabled for my account. You have to go through local html files (aka scratchpad) to access the console.

AWS Admin Console

AWS Admin Console

SimpleDB Console

SimpleDB Console

 

AWS MFA

While I can handle the above case, I cant appreciate the approach AWS chooses with the MFA they actively promote. Is a very good feature and you can opt for a hardware based MFA or a bit simlpler, with the virtual device. But here comes the contradiction, due to geo restrictions you cant download the AWS MFA app to your Android device if you dont have an US AWS account. Seriously, how much sense does this make ? I confirmed this with the AWS support.

You could go for an alternative solution with the Google Authenticator, but this creates a dependency to another third part which I am not willing to add, my “contract” is between AWS and me.

Is it related to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_of_cryptography_from_the_United_States ?

Hudson saves Artifacts to Amazon S3

I recently start to work a lot with Amazon AWS by utilizing EC2 servers and using S3 as online storage. While you should do your maths using the servers to generously (it quickly becomes expensive if you create instances on the fly and keep them running), S3 usage is a rather innocent matter. Currently 1GB costs you 0.15 U$ per month (more details here), but please dont forget to look at data transfer charges as well (not longer free from November 2010). I use the service mainly for backup purpose, while I still rely on local backups once a month, the continuous backup happens on S3 (which might be safer than my backup harddisk). The data volume I transfer is small enough (not maintaining a filesharing server !) to keep the costs low.

I was looking for a way to transfer my Hudson artifacts to my S3 account and could not find a regular promoted plugin, almost creating a manual script as workaround, until I found a plugin, which you still need by yourself, but works perfectly. This tutorial (based on Ubuntu) is a hands-on walk-through from the scratch. Some steps are rather simple.

In this previous tutorial I described my approach of using artifacts as a backup media.

Update 2010-10-04: There is another updater in github who added functionality to the plugin: here the address git://github.com/d6y/hudson-s3.git

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