Alexa, Lambda & One Time Passwords – A match made in heaven

By now, you must have heard of the amazing Amazon Echo devices; smart speaker/microphone devices backed up by the Alexa voice service. Now, the cool thing is you can build your own skills quite easily. Register as a developer and start building your custom skill so your Echo reacts to things like “what’s up for dinner?” or maybe something more useful. Your custom skill does require some programming but where to host this? Sounds event-driven… And yes, your custom skill can be implemented as a Lambda function running on AWS; reliable, scalable and only consuming resources when actually invoked. So what shall we build? Since we are well into AWS anyway, we’ve choosen… Read More

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Visualize EC2 Performance and Pricing

As a Unix expert, I used to think everything is a file. Now I know better: everything is an API (or should be). AWS took this to the max by even disclosing their prices and specifications through an API. That allows us to write code that presents the EC2 specs and prices in a whole new way. We ingest the AWS specs and prices daily and store it in a bucket for future reference. When you direct your browser to http://selec2or.info you get a view on this data. Hitting the big green ‘graphics’ button changes the view. From the traditional ‘table’ view we have got used to over the last hundreds… Read More

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A serverless EC2 scheduler using Lambda and Cloudwatch Events

In an attempt to further reduce costs of our EC2 instances, we determined some instances that are running 24/7 unnecessarily. An automated process to schedule  stop and start instances would greatly help cutting costs. Of course, the solution itself should not add an extra instance to our infrastructure. The solution has to be an example of serverless computing. Automagically stop running EC2 instances 24/7  unnecessarily We created a lambda function that scans all instances for a specific tag. The tag we use is named ‘Schedule’ and contains the desired ‘runtime’ for the specific instance. Instances without a Schedule tag will not be affected. We support the following content format in… Read More

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