Five free online utilities to help you plan and manage AWS resources better

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EC2Instances.info

Calculating EC2 pricing is always a challenge, especially when one has to correlate capacity and pricing for various workloads. Thanks to the work by Garret Heaton @powdahound and others we now have a free online calculator which makes it super easy to calculate instance pricing and also perform comparisons.

iMac Mockup EC2Instances website

The tool uses data gathered by scraping various AWS pages, while its pretty accurate, its always worthwhile to double check the pricing from the AWS official pages before finalizing the plan.


Cloudbanshee.com

While EC2Instances does a pretty good job, if you want something that helps you perform comparisons and calculations on the go, then Cloudbanshee.com is worth a check. While it lacks some of the features, its mobile friendly and hence my preferred choice when I´m on the move and get called by the customer for some help with EC2 pricing. Created by Luc van Donkersgoed @donkersgood, who is an APN ambassador.

iMac Mockup Cloudbanshee website


former2

Everyone agrees that the best practice is to deploy and manage cloud infrastructure and services through machine readable definition files, a practice also popularly known as Infrastructure as Code (IaC).

Now what if you just inherited a project that wasn’t following this best practice. How do you discover your resources and generate the code needed to rebuild them in the future?

Of course, one can do this manually if it were just a couple of EC2 instances and some security groups. But if the customer was already using a gamut of services from AWS with complex security policies, you would need some tool to automatically discover and generate this code for you.

Enter Former2, brainchild of Ian Mckay, the tool not only auto discovers your AWS resources, it also allows you choose the output format of the code, thereby not limiting your options. You can choose to use the website former2.com or setup the code on your own machine by cloning the repo from Ian’s github account.

iMac Mockup Cloudbanshee website


Cloudsploit

One of the primary concerns of migrating workloads to the cloud is the aspect of security. Workloads once hosted in your own private data center might have got away from prying eyes of hackers, now stand exposed, unless active measures are taken to protect them. The last thing you want is a careless configuration mistake of your developers or DevOps engineers to cause data to be exposed to the world wide internet.

Cloudspoilt is a service and also a tool that helps administrators and security experts audit the cloud infrastructure and code for potential vulnerabilities, so that active measures can be taken to protect them. One can subscribe to the Cloudspoilt plans on their website or setup cloudspoilt on your infrastructure if so desired, by cloning their github repository.


AWS hosted tools

AWS too offers quite a number of tools to help planners and implementers, some of these are less obvious to the larger audience. Here are some of the AWS hosted tools, I personally find useful.

AWS Regional table offers a quick overview of the available services in each location. Very handy if you are planning on the features to be used in a project for a global customer.

AWS Infrastructure map is pretty awesome when one has to explain to a potential customer how AWS regions and availability map to actual locations on the map.

AWS Architecture icons – A picture speaks a thousand words, use the latest AWS architecture icons to make an impression or help convey the benefits of your proposal to a larger audience.

Is there a tool or a service that helps you manage cloud infrastructure more effectively? We would like to hear from you info@neosIT.com

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