AWS Instance Notices and You. Prepping for the Cloud.

Many customers have received varying AWS instance notices related to instance retirement or instance maintenance. These retirement notices often read, “We have important news about your account. EC2 has detected degradation of the underlying hardware hosting your Amazon EC2 instance in the region.” Similarly maintenance notifications read, “One or more of your Amazon EC2 instances is scheduled for maintenance on for 2 hours starting at .” The big question is: do you know what these notices really mean and how you take care of them? Below we’ll discuss AWS notifications and how to act on them. The two biggest takeaways from theses notices are: run don’t walk, on working to replace affected instances; and make sure your mission critical data lives on Elastic Block Storage (EBS).

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Support for Phoenix on Elixir

In the coming month we’ll be introducing Phoenix on Elixir as a first class framework and language on the Engine Yard Cloud Platform. Currently Engine Yard supports Ruby, PHP, and NodeJS. Elixir is a developer friendly, performant, and reliable language. Our offering will be releasing with the following features:

  1. dashboard and cli based releases
  2. dashboard and cli based database migrations
  3. preconfigured cluster of Beam nodes.

Our roots started in the Ruby and Rails communities. We have since received multiple requests from our customers for our support of Elixir. We noticed a gap between deploying applications yourself and using an automated deployment platform that doesn’t allow full network access for OTP operations. Leveraging our managed service offerings we’ll be able to offer a fully configured OTP cluster on startup. This is because the instances in an environment we provision are within their own network. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available from our engineering team as the language is brought into beta. If you would like to be included in our beta of managed Phoenix on Elixir please contact our customer success team.

Want to know more about Phoenix and Elixir? Check out the following resources:

Learn about Engine Yard
Try Engine Yard for your Ruby or PHP Apps

Setting up your ELB Healthcheck

To effectively route traffic to your various instances Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer(ELB) needs to know which of your instances are available. The configuration for how this is done is via the ELB healthcheck value. As the health check can directly impact your uptime you’ll want to select the right value, but what will that be for your specific case?

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The Importance of Testing Database Backups

Catching some attention in technology headlines this week, GitLab suffered a major loss of database data and had a long and difficult recovery due to a combination of failing and untested backup and recovery strategies. We commend their openness in responding to this incident and several members of our team benefitted from joining the public livestream of their recovery efforts.

Observing this unfold in realtime encouraged us to take a step back and think about our backup and recovery strategies, and whether we are really doing enough to encourage our customers to test and understand this critical part of their application services. This also was a driving force behind the development of a brand new tool, eyrestore, which is designed to make the restoration of logical backups easier between different Engine Yard environments.

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Announcing New Regions!

2016 was a busy year for AWS, launching 3 new regions in the last quarter of the year. These regions are located in Central Canada (ca-central-1), Ohio (us-east-2), and London (eu-west-2). In order to provide our customers with the options that fit their needs the best, Engine Yard is happy to announce the immediate availability of these regions.

These regions are available when booting up an environment for the first time. Just select the appropriate option from Region dropdown menu when creating the environment. Engine Yard clients who have their own AWS accounts will also be able to provision resources in these regions in the exact same fashion. If you have any questions, please contact our customer success team.

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