May
07
2021
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Webinar June 8: The Pros and Cons of AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud – Which Cloud Provider is Right for Your Business?

which cloud provider

Considering a move to the cloud, but unsure which provider is right for you?

which cloud providerAccording to the results of our 2020 Open Source Data Management Software Survey, AWS continues to dominate the public cloud provider market, with 50% of respondents using its cloud platform in 2020, with Microsoft Azure quickly gaining market share with 23% adoption and Google Cloud not far behind at 18%.  With the “big three” players all in the space, the decision is anything but cut and dry.

Join Percona open source database experts Stephen Thorne and Barrett Chambers for an informative webinar on the good, the bad, and the ugly of each provider. They will discuss how you can make the best cloud database vendor decision for your business by navigating potential pitfalls, avoiding spiraling infrastructure costs, and truly understanding what ‘fully managed’ means in the cloud.

Our experts will address a number of key issues and questions, including:

  1. The pros and cons of AWS, Azure, and GCP for database hosting
  2. Known customer issues and restrictions of each provider
  3. DBaaS cost to scale by cloud provider
  4. What fully managed really means

By the end of this webinar, attendees will have a deeper knowledge of the options available for each provider as well as considerations, limitations, and costs associated with deploying cloud DBaaS solutions at scale.

Please join Stephen Thorne and Barrett Chambers, Percona Technical Experts, on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at 11 am EDT for their webinar The Pros and Cons of AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud – Which Cloud Provider is Right for Your Business?

Register for Webinar

If you can’t attend, sign up anyway, and we’ll send you the slides and recording afterward.

May
05
2021
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Emerging open cloud security framework has backing of Microsoft, Google and IBM

Each of the big cloud platforms has its own methodology for passing on security information to logging and security platforms, leaving it to the vendors to find proprietary ways to translate that into a format that works for their tool. The Cloud Security Notification Framework (CSNF), a new working group that includes Microsoft, Google and IBM is trying to create a new open and standard way of delivering this information.

Nick Lippis, who is co-founder and co-chairman of ONUG, an open enterprise cloud community, which is the primary driver of CSNF, says that what they’ve created is part standard and part open source. “What we’ve been really focusing on is how do we automate governance on the cloud. And so security was the place that was ripe for that where we can actually provide some value right away for the community,” he said.

While they’ve pulled in some of the big cloud vendors, they’ve also got large companies who consume cloud services like FedEx, Pfizer and Goldman Sachs. Conspicuously missing from the group is AWS, the biggest player in the cloud infrastructure market by far. But Lippis says that he hopes, as the project matures, other companies including AWS will join.

“There’s lots of security programs and industry programs that get out there and that people are asking them to join, and so some companies want to wait to see how well this pans out [before making a commitment to it],” Lippis said. His hope is, that over time, Amazon will come around and join the group, but in the meantime they are working to get to the point where everyone in the community will feel good about what they’re doing.

The idea is to start with security alerts and find a way to build a common format to give companies the same kind of system they have in the data center to track security alerts in the cloud. The way they hope to do that is with this open dialogue between the cloud vendors and the companies involved with the group.

“So the structure of that is that there’s a steering committee that is chaired by CISOs from these large cloud consumer brands, and also the cloud providers, and they provide voting and direction. And then there’s the working group where all the work is done. The beauty of what we do is that we have now consumers and also providers working together and collaborating,” he said.

Don Duet, a member of ONUG, who is CEO and co-founder of Concourse Labs, has been involved in the formation of the CSNF. He says to keep the project focused they are looking at this as a data management problem and they are establishing a common vocabulary for everyone to work within the group.

“How do you build a consensus on what are the types of terms that everybody can agree on and then you build the underlying basis so that the experts in your resource providers in this case, Cloud Service Providers, can bless how their data [connects] to those common standards,” Duet explained.

He says that particular problem is more of an organizational problem than a technical one, getting the various stakeholders together and just building consensus around this. At this point, they have that process in place and the next step is proving it by having the various companies involved in this test it out in the coming months.

After they get past the testing phase, in October they plan to actually demonstrate what this looks like in a before and after scenario, with the new framework and without it. As the group works toward these goals, the hope is that eventually the framework will become more established and other companies and vendors will come on board and make this a more standard way of sharing security alerts. If all goes well, they hope to build in other security information into this framework over time.

May
05
2021
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Timescale grabs $40M Series B as it goes all in on cloud version of time series database

Timescale, makers of the open-source TimescaleDB time series database, announced a $40 million Series B financing round today. The investment comes just over two years after it got a $15 million Series A.

Redpoint Ventures led today’s round, with help from existing investors Benchmark, New Enterprise Associates, Icon Ventures and Two Sigma Ventures. The company reports it has now raised approximately $70 million.

TimescaleDB lets users measure data across a time dimension, so anything that would change over time. “What we found is we need a purpose-built database for it to handle scalability, reliability and performance, and we like to think of ourselves as the category-defining relational database for time series,” CEO and co-founder Ajay Kulkarni explained.

He says that the choice to build their database on top of Postgres when it launched four years ago was a key decision. “There are a few different databases that are designed for time series, but we’re the only one where developers get the purpose-built time series database plus a complete Postgres database all in one,” he said.

While the company has an open-source version, last year it decided rather than selling an enterprise version (as it had been), it was going to include all of that functionality in the free version of the product and place a bet entirely on the cloud for revenue.

“We decided that we’re going to make a bold bet on the cloud. We think cloud is where the future of database adoption is, and so in the last year […] we made all of our enterprise features free. If you want to test it yourself, you get the whole thing, but if you want a managed service, then we’re available to run it for you,” he said.

The community approach is working to attract users, with over 2 million monthly active databases, some of which the company is betting will convert to the cloud service over time. Timescale is based in New York City, but it’s a truly remote organization, with 60 employees spread across 20 countries and every continent except Antarctica.

He says that as a global company, it creates new dimensions of diversity and different ways of thinking about it. “I think one thing that is actually kind of an interesting challenge for us is what does D&I mean in a totally global org. A lot of people focus on diversity and inclusion within the U.S., but we think we’re doing better than most tech companies in terms of racial diversity, gender diversity,” he said.

And being remote-first isn’t going to change even when we get past the pandemic. “I think it may not work for every business, but I think being remote first has been a really good thing for us,” he said.

 

May
04
2021
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SAP CEO Christian Klein looks back on his first year

SAP CEO Christian Klein was appointed co-CEO with Jennifer Morgan last April just as the pandemic was hitting full force across the world. Within six months, Morgan was gone and he was sole CEO, put in charge of a storied company at 38 years old. By October, its stock price was down and revenue projections for the coming years were flat.

That is definitely not the way any CEO wants to start their tenure, but the pandemic forced Klein to make some decisions to move his customers to the cloud faster. That, in turn, had an impact on revenue until the transition was completed. While it makes sense to make this move now, investors weren’t happy with the news.

There was also the decision to spin out Qualtrics, the company his predecessor acquired for $8 billion in 2018. As he looked back on the one-year mark, Klein sat down with me to discuss all that has happened and the unique set of challenges he faced.

Just a pandemic, no biggie

Starting in the same month that a worldwide pandemic blows up presents unique challenges for a new leader. For starters, Klein couldn’t visit anyone in person and get to know the team. Instead, he went straight to Zoom and needed to make sure everything was still running.

The CEO says that the company kept chugging along in spite of the disruption. “When I took over this new role, I of course had some concerns about how to support 400,000 customers. After one year, I’ve been astonished. Our support centers are running without disruption and we are proud of that and continue to deliver value,” he said.

Taking over when he couldn’t meet in person with employees or customers has worked out better than he thought. “It was much better than I expected, and of course personally for me, it’s different. I’m the CEO, but I wasn’t able to travel and so I didn’t have the opportunity to go to the U.S., and this is something that I’m looking forward to now, meeting people and talking to them live,” he said.

That’s something he simply wasn’t able to do for his first year because of travel restrictions, so he says communication has been key, something a lot of executives have discussed during COVID. “I’m in regular contact with the employees, and we do it virtually. Still, it’s not the same as when you do it live, but it helps a lot these days. I would say you cannot over-communicate in such times,” he said.

May
04
2021
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Starboard Value puts Box on notice that it’s looking to take over board

Activist investor Starboard Value is clearly fed up with Box and it let the cloud content management know it in no uncertain terms in a letter published yesterday. The firm, which bought a 7.7% stake in Box two years ago, claims the company is underperforming, executing poorly and making bad business decisions — and it wants to inject the board of directors with new blood.

While they couched the letter in mostly polite language, it’s quite clear Starboard is exasperated with Box. “While we appreciate the dialogue we have had with Box’s management team and Board of Directors (the “Board”) over the past two years, we have grown increasingly frustrated with continued poor results, questionable capital allocation decisions, and subpar shareholder returns,” Starboard wrote in its letter.

Box, as you can imagine, did not take kindly to the shot across its bow and responded in a press release that it has bent over backwards to accommodate Starboard, including refreshing the board last year when they added several members, whom they point out were approved by Starboard.

“Box has a diverse and independent Board with directors who bring extensive technology experience across enterprise and consumer markets, enterprise IT, and global go-to-market strategy, as well as deep financial acumen and proven track records of helping public companies drive disciplined growth, profitability, and stockholder value. Furthermore, seven of the ten directors on the Box Board will have joined the Board within the last three years,” the company wrote in a statement. In other words, Box is saying it already has injected the new blood that Starboard claims it wants.

Box recently got a $500 million cash injection from KKR, widely believed to be an attempt to bulk up cash reserves with the goal of generating growth via acquisition. Starboard was particularly taken aback by this move, however. “The only viable explanation for this financing is a shameless and utterly transparent attempt to “buy the vote” and shows complete disregard for proper corporate governance and fiscal discipline,” Starboard wrote.

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, founder and principal analyst at Deep Analysis, a firm that closely tracks the content management market, says the two sides clearly aren’t aligned, and that’s not likely to change. “Starboard targeted and gained a seat on the board at Box at a difficult time for the firm, that’s the modus operandi for activist investors. Since that time there has clearly been a lot of improvements in terms of Box’s financial goals. However, there is and will remain a misalignment between Starboard’s goals, and Box led by Levie as a whole. Though both would like to see the share price rise, Starboard’s end goal is most likely to see Box acquired, sooner rather than later, and that is not Box’s goal,” he said.

Starboard believes the only way to resolve this situation is to inject the board with still more new blood, taking a swipe at the Box leadership team while it was at it. “There is no good reason that Box should be unable to deliver improved growth and profitability, at least in-line with better performing software companies, which, in turn, would create significant shareholder value,” Starboard wrote.

As such the firm indicated it would be putting up its own slate of board candidates at the company’s next board meeting. In the tit for tat that has been this exchange, Box indicated it would be doing the same.

Meanwhile Box vigorously defended its results. “In the past year, under the oversight of the Operating Committee, the company has made substantial progress across all facets of the business — strategic, operational and financial — as demonstrated by the strong results reported for the full year of fiscal 2021,” the company wrote, pointing to its revenue growth last fiscal year as proof of the progress, with revenue of $771 million up 11% year over year.

It’s unclear how this standoff will play out, but clearly Starboard wants to take over the Board and have its way with Box, believing that it can perform better if it were in charge. That could result ultimately, as Pelz-Sharpe suggested, in Box being acquired.

We would appear to heading for a showdown, and when it’s over, Box could be a very different company, or the current leadership could assert control once and for all and we could proceed with Box’s current growth strategy still in place. Time will tell which is the case.

May
03
2021
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Changes to Percona Monitoring and Management on AWS Marketplace

Percona Monitoring and Management AWS Marketplace

Percona Monitoring and Management AWS MarketplacePercona Monitoring and Management has been available for single-click deployment from AWS Marketplace for several years now, and we have hundreds of instances concurrently active and growing rapidly due to unparalleled ease of deployment.

Today we’re announcing we are changing pricing for Percona Monitoring and Management on AWS Marketplace. Currently, Percona Monitoring and Management (PMM) is available on AWS Marketplace at no added cost, and effective June 1, 2021, we will add a surcharge equal to 10% of the PMM AWS EC2 Costs.

Why are we making this change?

Making Percona Monitoring and Management available as a one-click deployment on AWS Marketplace is a considerable resource investment, yet, with the current model, only AWS directly benefits from the value which we jointly provide to the users choosing to run PMM on AWS. With the addition of this surcharge, both companies will benefit.

How does this reflect on Percona’s Open Source Commitment?

Percona Monitoring and Management remains a fully Open Source Project.  We’re changing how commercial offerings jointly provided by AWS and Percona will operate.  

I do not want to pay this surcharge, are there free options?

Using Amazon Marketplace is not the only way to deploy PMM on AWS. Many deploy PMM on Amazon EC2 using Docker, and this option continues to require no additional spend other than your infrastructure costs.

What are the benefits of running Percona Monitoring and Management through AWS Marketplace compared to alternative deployment methods?

The main benefit of running Percona Monitoring and Management through the AWS Marketplace is convenience; you can easily change the instance type or add more storage as your PMM load grows. You also have an easy path to high availability with CloudWatch Alarm Actions.

 

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How does the 10% surcharge compare?

We believe 10% extra for software on top of the infrastructure costs is a very modest charge.  Amazon RDS, for example, has a surcharge starting at 30% to more than 70%, depending on the instance type.

How will I know the exact amount of such a surcharge?

Your bill from AWS will include a separate line item for this charge, in addition to the infrastructure costs consumed by PMM.

What does it mean for Percona Monitoring and Management on AWS Marketplace?

Having a revenue stream that is directly tied to AWS Marketplace deployment will increase the amount of resources we can spend on making Percona Monitoring and Management work with AWS even better. If you’re using PMM with AWS, deploying it through Amazon Marketplace will be a great way to support PMM Development.

Will Percona Monitoring and Management started through AWS Marketplace be entitled to any additional Support options?

No, Percona Monitoring and Management commercial support is available with Percona Support for Open Source Databases.  If you do not have a commercial support subscription, you can get help from the community at the Percona Forums.

What will happen to Percona Monitoring Instances started from AWS Marketplace which are already up and running?

As new pricing goes into effect on June 1st, AWS will give you 90 days’ notice before applying new prices.  If you want to avoid the surcharge, you can move your installation to a Docker-based EC2 install.

What Could AWS Do Better?

It would be great if AWS would develop some sort of affiliate program for Open Source projects, which would allow them to get a share from the value they create for AWS by driving additional infrastructure spend without having to resort to added costs. I believe this would be a win-win for Open Source projects, especially smaller ones, and AWS.

May
03
2021
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Dell dumps another big asset, moving Boomi to Francisco Partners and TPG for $4B

It’s widely known that Dell has a debt problem left over from its massive acquisition of EMC in 2016, and it seems to be moving this year to eliminate part of it in multi-billion-dollar chunks. The first step was spinning out VMware as a separate company last month, a move expected to net close to $10 billion.

The second step, long expected, finally dropped last night when the company announced it was selling Boomi to a couple of private equity firms for $4 billion. Francisco Partners is joining forces with TPG to make the deal to buy the integration platform.

Boomi is not unlike MuleSoft, a company that Salesforce purchased in 2018 for $6.5 billion, although a bit longer in the tooth. They both help companies with integration problems by creating connections between disparate systems. With so many pieces in place from various acquisitions over the years, it seems like a highly useful asset for Dell to help pull these pieces together and make them work, but the cash is trumping that need.

Providing integration services is a growing requirement as companies look for ways to make better use of data locked in siloed systems. Boomi could help, and that’s one of the primary reasons for the acquisition, according to Francisco executives.

“The ability to integrate and connect data and workflows across any combination of applications or domains is a critical business capability, and we strongly believe that Boomi is well positioned to help companies of all sizes turn data into their most valuable asset,” Francisco CEO Dipanjan Deb and partner Brian Decker said in a statement.

As you would expect, Boomi’s CEO Chris McNabb put a positive spin on the deal about how his new bosses were going to fuel growth for his company. “By partnering with two tier-one investment firms like Francisco Partners and TPG, we can accelerate our ability for our customers to use data to drive competitive advantage. In this next phase of growth, Boomi will be in a position of strength to further advance our innovation and market trajectory while delivering even more value to our customers,” McNabb said in a statement.

All of this may have some truth to it, but the company goes from being part of a large amorphous corporation to getting absorbed in the machinery of two private equity firms. What happens next is hard to say.

The company was founded in 2000, and sold to Dell in 2010. Today, it has 15,000 customer, but Dell’s debt has been well documented, and when you string together a couple of multi-billion-dollar deals as Dell has recently, pretty soon you’re talking real money. While the company has not stated it will explicitly use the proceeds of this deal to pay off debt as it did with the VMware announcement, it stands to reason that this will be the case.

The deal is expected to close later this year, although it will have to pass the typical regulatory scrutiny prior to that.

Apr
30
2021
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Cloud infrastructure market keeps rolling in Q1 with almost $40B in revenue

Conventional wisdom over the last year has suggested that the pandemic has driven companies to the cloud much faster than they ever would have gone without that forcing event, with some suggesting it has compressed years of transformation into months. This quarter’s cloud infrastructure revenue numbers appear to be proving that thesis correct.

With The Big Three — Amazon, Microsoft and Google — all reporting this week, the market generated almost $40 billion in revenue, according to Synergy Research data. That’s up $2 billion from last quarter and up 37% over the same period last year. Canalys’s numbers were slightly higher at $42 billion.

As you might expect if you follow this market, AWS led the way with $13.5 billion for the quarter, up 32% year over year. That’s a run rate of $54 billion. While that is an eye-popping number, what’s really remarkable is the yearly revenue growth, especially for a company the size and maturity of Amazon. The law of large numbers would suggest this isn’t sustainable, but the pie keeps growing and Amazon continues to take a substantial chunk.

Overall AWS held steady with 32% market share. While the revenue numbers keep going up, Amazon’s market share has remained firm for years at around this number. It’s the other companies down market that are gaining share over time, most notably Microsoft, which is now at around 20% share — good for about $7.8 billion this quarter.

Google continues to show signs of promise under Thomas Kurian, hitting $3.5 billion, good for 9% as it makes a steady march toward double digits. Even IBM had a positive quarter, led by Red Hat and cloud revenue, good for 5% or about $2 billion overall.

Synergy Research cloud infrastructure bubble map for Q1 2021. AWS is leader, followed by Microsoft and Google.

Image Credits: Synergy Research

John Dinsdale, chief analyst at Synergy, says that even though AWS and Microsoft have firm control of the market, that doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be made by the companies playing behind them.

“These two don’t have to spend too much time looking in their rearview mirrors and worrying about the competition. However, that is not to say that there aren’t some excellent opportunities for other players. Taking Amazon and Microsoft out of the picture, the remaining market is generating over $18 billion in quarterly revenues and growing at over 30% per year. Cloud providers that focus on specific regions, services or user groups can target several years of strong growth,” Dinsdale said in a statement.

Canalys, another firm that watches the same market as Synergy, had similar findings with slight variations, certainly close enough to confirm one another’s findings. They have AWS with 32%, Microsoft 19% and Google with 7%.

Canalys market share chart with Amazon with 32%, Microsoft 19% and Google 7%

Image Credits: Canalys

Canalys analyst Blake Murray says that there is still plenty of room for growth, and we will likely continue to see big numbers in this market for several years. “Though 2020 saw large-scale cloud infrastructure spending, most enterprise workloads have not yet transitioned to the cloud. Migration and cloud spend will continue as customer confidence rises during 2021. Large projects that were postponed last year will resurface, while new use cases will expand the addressable market,” he said.

The numbers we see are hardly a surprise anymore, and as companies push more workloads into the cloud, the numbers will continue to impress. The only question now is if Microsoft can continue to close the market share gap with Amazon.

 

Apr
29
2021
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Improving Percona Monitoring and Management EC2 Instance Resilience Using CloudWatch Alarm Actions

Percona Monitoring and Management EC2 Instance Resilience Using CloudWatch

Percona Monitoring and Management EC2 Instance Resilience Using CloudWatchNothing lasts forever, including hardware running your EC2 instances. You will usually receive an advance warning on hardware degradation and subsequent instance retirement, but sometimes hardware fails unexpectedly. Percona Monitoring and Management (PMM) currently doesn’t have an HA setup, and such failures can leave wide gaps in monitoring if not resolved quickly.

In this post, we’ll see how to set up automatic recovery for PMM instances deployed in AWS through Marketplace. The automation will take care of the instance following an underlying systems failure. We’ll also set up an automatic restart procedure in case the PMM instance itself is experiencing issues. These simple automatic actions go a long way in improving the resilience of your monitoring setup and minimizing downtime.

Some Background

Each EC2 instance has two associated status checks: System and Instance. You can read in more detail about them on the “Types of status checks” AWS documentation page. The gist of it is, the System check fails to pass when there are some infrastructure issues. The Instance check fails to pass if there’s anything wrong on the instance side, like its OS having issues. You can normally see the results of these checks as “2/2 checks passed” markings on your instances in the EC2 console.

ec2 instance overview showing 2/2 status checks

CloudWatch, an AWS monitoring system, can react to the status check state changes. Specifically, it is possible to set up a “recover” action for an EC2 instance where a system check is failing. The recovered instance is identical to the original, but will not retain the same public IP unless it’s assigned an Elastic IP. I recommend that you use Elastic IP for your PMM instances (see also this note in PMM documentation). For the full list of caveats related to instance recovery check out the “Recover your instance” page in AWS documentation.

According to CloudWatch pricing, having two alarms set up will cost $0.2/month. An acceptable cost for higher availability.

Automatically Recovering PMM on System Failure

Let’s get to actually setting up the automation. There are at least two ways to set up the alarm through GUI: from the EC2 console, and from the CloudWatch interface. The latter option is a bit involved, but it’s very easy to set up alarms from the EC2 console. Just right-click on your instance, pick the “Monitor and troubleshoot” section in the drop-down menu, and then choose the “Manage CloudWatch alarms” item.

EC2 console dropdown menu navigation to CloudWatch Alarms

Once there, choose the “Status check failed” as the “Type of data to sample”, and specify the “Recover” Alarm action. You should see something like this.

Adding CloudWatch alarm through EC2 console interface

You could notice that GUI offers to set up a notification channel for the alarm. If you want to get a message if your PMM instance is recovered automatically, feel free to set that up.

The alarm will fire when the maximum value of the StatusCheckFailed_System metric is >=0.99 during two consecutive 300 seconds periods. Once the alarm fires, it will recover the PMM instance. We can check out our new alarm in the CloudWatch GUI.

EC2 instance restart alarm

EC2 console will also show that the alarm is set up.

Single alarm set in the instance overview

This example uses a pretty conservative alarm check duration of 10 minutes, spread over two 5-minute intervals. If you want to recover a PMM instance sooner, risking triggering on false positives, you can bring down the alarm period and number of evaluation periods. We also use the “maximum” of the metric over a 5-minute interval. That means a check could be in failed state only one minute out of five, but still count towards alarm activation. The assumption here is that checks don’t flap for ten minutes without a reason.

Automatically Restarting PMM on Instance Failure

While we’re at it, we can also set up an automatic action to execute when “Instance status check” is failing. As mentioned, usually that happens when there’s something wrong within the instance: really high load, configuration issue, etc. Whenever a system check fails, an instance check is going to be failing, too, so we’ll set this alarm to check for a longer period of time before firing. That’ll also help us to minimize the rate of false-positive restarts, for example, due to a spike in load. We use the same period of 300 seconds here but will only alarm after three periods show instance failure. The restart will thus happen after ~15 minutes. Again, this is pretty conservative, so adjust as you think works best for you.

In the GUI, repeat the same actions that we did last time, but pick the “Status check failed: instance” data type, and “Reboot” alarm action.

Adding CloudWatch alarm for instance failure through EC2 console interface

Once done, you can see both alarms reflected in the EC2 instance list.

EC2 instance overview showing 2 alarms set

Setting up Alarms Using AWS CLI

Setting up our alarm is also very easy to do using the AWS CLI.  You’ll need an AWS account with permissions to create CloudWatch alarms, and some EC2 permissions to list instances and change their state. A pretty minimal set of permissions can be found in the policy document below. This set is enough for a user to invoke CLI commands in this post.

{
  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
    {
      "Action": [
        "cloudwatch:PutMetricAlarm",
        "cloudwatch:GetMetricStatistics",
        "cloudwatch:ListMetrics",
        "cloudwatch:DescribeAlarms"
      ],
      "Resource": [
        "*"
      ],
      "Effect": "Allow"
    },
    {
      "Action": [
        "ec2:DescribeInstanceStatus",
        "ec2:DescribeInstances",
        "ec2:StopInstances",
        "ec2:StartInstances"
      ],
      "Resource": [
        "*"
      ],
      "Effect": "Allow"
    }
  ]
}

And here are the specific AWS CLI commands. Do not forget to change instance id (i-xxx) and region in the command. First, setting up recovery after system status check failure.

$ aws cloudwatch put-metric-alarm \
    --alarm-name restart_PMM_on_system_failure_i-xxx \
    --alarm-actions arn:aws:automate:REGION:ec2:recover \
    --metric-name StatusCheckFailed_System --namespace AWS/EC2 \
    --dimensions Name=InstanceId,Value=i-xxx \
    --statistic Maximum --period 300 --evaluation-periods 2 \
    --datapoints-to-alarm 2 --threshold 1 \
    --comparison-operator GreaterThanOrEqualToThreshold \
    --tags Key=System,Value=PMM

Second, setting up restart after instance status check failure.

$ aws cloudwatch put-metric-alarm \
    --alarm-name restart_PMM_on_instance_failure_i-xxx \
    --alarm-actions arn:aws:automate:REGION:ec2:reboot \
    --metric-name StatusCheckFailed_Instance --namespace AWS/EC2 \
    --dimensions Name=InstanceId,Value=i-xxx \
    --statistic Maximum --period 300 --evaluation-periods 3 \
    --datapoints-to-alarm 3 --threshold 1 \
    --comparison-operator GreaterThanOrEqualToThreshold \
    --tags Key=System,Value=PMM

Testing New Alarms

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be possible to simulate system status check failure. If there’s a way, let us know in the comments. Because of that, we’ll be testing our alarms using instance failure instead. The simplest way to fail the Instance status check is to mess up networking on an instance. Let’s just bring down a network interface. In this particular instance, it’s ens5.

# ip link
...
2: ens5:...
...
# date
Sat Apr 17 20:06:26 UTC 2021
# ip link set ens5 down

The stuff of nightmares: having no response for a command. In 15 minutes, we can check that the PMM instance is available again. We can see that alarm triggered and executed the restart action at 20:21:37 UTC.

CloudWatch showing Alarm fired actions

And we can access the server now.

$ date
Sat Apr 17 20:22:59 UTC 2021

The alarm itself takes a little more time to return to OK state. Finally, let’s take a per-minute look at the instance check metric.

CloudWatch metric overview

Instance failure was detected at 20:10 and resolved at 20:24, according to the AWS data. In reality, the server rebooted and was accessible even earlier. PMM instances deployed from a marketplace image have all the required service in autostart, and thus PMM is fully available after restarting without a need for an operator to take any action.

Summary

Even though Percona Monitoring and Management itself doesn’t offer high availability at this point, you can utilize built-in AWS features to make your PMM installation more resilient to failure. PMM in the Marketplace is set up in a way that should not have problems with recovery from the instance retirement events. After your PMM instance is recovered or rebooted, you’ll be able to access monitoring without any manual intervention.

Note: While this procedure is universal and can be applied to any EC2 instance, there are some caveats explained in the “What do I need to know when my Amazon EC2 instance is scheduled for retirement?” article on the AWS site. Note specifically the Warning section. 

References

Apr
29
2021
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Wasabi scores $112M Series C on $700M valuation to take on cloud storage hyperscalers

Taking on Amazon S3 in the cloud storage game would seem to be a fool-hearty proposition, but Wasabi has found a way to build storage cheaply and pass the savings onto customers. Today the Boston-based startup announced a $112 million Series C investment on a $700 million valuation.

Fidelity Management & Research Company led the round with participation from previous investors. It reports that it has now raised $219 million in equity so far, along with additional debt financing, but it takes a lot of money to build a storage business.

CEO David Friend says that business is booming and he needed the money to keep it going. “The business has just been exploding. We achieved a roughly $700 million valuation on this round, so  you can imagine that business is doing well. We’ve tripled in each of the last three years and we’re ahead of plan for this year,” Friend told me.

He says that demand continues to grow and he’s been getting requests internationally. That was one of the primary reasons he went looking for more capital. What’s more, data sovereignty laws require that certain types of sensitive data like financial and healthcare be stored in-country, so the company needs to build more capacity where it’s needed.

He says they have nailed down the process of building storage, typically inside co-location facilities, and during the pandemic they actually became more efficient as they hired a firm to put together the hardware for them onsite. They also put channel partners like managed service providers (MSPs) and value added resellers (VARs) to work by incentivizing them to sell Wasabi to their customers.

Wasabi storage starts at $5.99 per terabyte per month. That’s a heck of a lot cheaper than Amazon S3, which starts at 0.23 per gigabyte for the first 50 terabytes or $23.00 a terabyte, considerably more than Wasabi’s offering.

But Friend admits that Wasabi still faces headwinds as a startup. No matter how cheap it is, companies want to be sure it’s going to be there for the long haul and a round this size from an investor with the pedigree of Fidelity will give the company more credibility with large enterprise buyers without the same demands of venture capital firms.

“Fidelity to me was the ideal investor. […] They don’t want a board seat. They don’t want to come in and tell us how to run the company. They are obviously looking toward an IPO or something like that, and they are just interested in being an investor in this business because cloud storage is a virtually unlimited market opportunity,” he said.

He sees his company as the typical kind of market irritant. He says that his company has run away from competitors in his part of the market and the hyperscalers are out there not paying attention because his business remains a fraction of theirs for the time being. While an IPO is far off, he took on an institutional investor this early because he believes it’s possible eventually.

“I think this is a big enough market we’re in, and we were lucky to get in at just the right time with the right kind of technology. There’s no doubt in my mind that Wasabi could grow to be a fairly substantial public company doing cloud infrastructure. I think we have a nice niche cut out for ourselves, and I don’t see any reason why we can’t continue to grow,” he said.

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