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Exploring VPC Networking in AWS

This is a tutorial for a class I’m teaching right now.

Amazon’s documentation of Virtual Private Clouds (VPC) is excellent. It is in-depth, and covers many use cases. It’s too complicated for the class I’m teaching though.

This tutorial will cover the topic of creating Internet-accessible and non-Internet-accessible EC2 instances within the same VPC, by hand within the AWS Console. At the end we’ll have one Internet-accessible Linux box which will be able to talk to a second, non-Internet-accessible Linux box. The instances will be accessible on ports 22 and 4000 from anywhere.

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AWS Lambda Function URL Hello World

The ability to create a URL to AWS Lambda functions has existed for a long time - but has never been as easy as it is today. In April AWS announced Lambda Function URLs, and now adding a world-usable non-authenticated URL can happen in the Lambda function creation wizard.

With great power comes great foot-gun though… When the whole world can easily access your Lambda function URL, without authenticating, the whole world can run up your AWS bill easily.

Delete your Lambda function when you’re done with this tutorial

This blog post is a tutorial for creating a simple Hello World application using this new Lambda feature. I’m teaching some folks in my unit how to use AWS, and while there are many Lambda Hello World tutorials out there I didn’t find one that was quite right. This tutorial will go through almost the simplest setup possible, deploying Python code at a URL, then will iterate on the initial code to demonstrate some basic computation.

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Using AWS Lambda as Proxy

AWS Lambdas are some of the original “serverless computing” implementations. These little bits of code run when you hit an API endpoint, taking whatever inputs you provide and returning the output. They can be written in many programming languages, including my favorite: Python 3. So I wondered - could I use this to build a simple little proxy at a URL? Why not, right? They can run any Python code… If I wanted to, I could use the result to evade perimeter firewalls that might be blocking many arbitrary destination hosts, but not AWS assets.…

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Switching to My Own Cloud

Google Music is disappearing - it’s time to find a new way to host music in the cloud. Google wants folks to move to YouTube Music as their music locker, but I’m tired of being jerked around.

To get away from Google Music I needed the following capabilities:

  • Cloud-based method of storing music
  • Browser-based method for listening to that music
  • Android app for listening to music, with method for downloading some music to device storage
Judge Judy saying 'next', with a confused look on her face.

Nextcloud hosted on Dreamhost with Dreamobjects is the solution I chose. This post will talk about how I settled on this, and how I made it work well.

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Providing Cloud Services in the Air Force

I was thinking this morning about how I might manage an Air Force unit that provides networked server management services. For some reason. I realized that, while I know a bit about some of the technology used to provide cloud services, and manage a server farm - or at least what’s used by some cloud providers - I don’t know much about how they organize their business. I started to wonder if someone from Rackspace, or AWS, or DigitalOcean had written a book about their management practices, or company organization.…

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