Good things come to those who wait….

by | Feb 15, 2017 | Blog

Amazon Web Services is┬áconstantly evolving. Each year AWS releases a dizzying array of new features, services and updates. In fact, so many are announced that sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of them all.

However, despite all these shiny new cloud service launches AWS has, on occasions, performed a pretty poor job of rolling out user feature requests.

However,two requests, that have long been the chagrin of AWS users, were finally resolved this week. I guess this was a Valentine Day gift from AWS!

Announcement 1

The first was the announcement of elastic EBS volumes. Finally AWS users can now extend disk volumes on the fly and no longer have to schedule downtime to perform the previous convoluted disk extension process. Happy days! This will significantly reduce out of hours disk resizing operations!

Now there are some caveats, the EBS volume has to be attached to a current generation EC2 instance type. But assuming it is you can increase its size (but cannot decrease), change its volume type, or for an io1 volume adjust its IOPS performance, all without detaching it.

Also if you extending the root volume you may still need some downtime to make the new space available for use.

So does it work? Well I tested it out on my live web server to increase the space from 8GB to 10GB. The process was very simple:

  • Right-click on the EBS┬ávolume and select “Modify Volume”:

  • Make the necessary changes:

  • Accept the confirmation:

In less than one minute later my volume was showing as “in-use” with a size of 10GB in the EBS dashboard, but it was still in a state of being optimized. However, in less than 5 minutes it was fully optimized and then I just needed to extend the volume on the Linux command line. All of which was achieved with zero downtime!

Announcement 2

The second announcement was also long overdue. In fact it was very, very overdue as there was a feature request created in June 2012 on the AWS discussion forum!

But good things come to those who wait and now we can finally add an IAM role to an existing EC2 instance.

Now I won’t go into too much detail, but in the past if you needed to add an IAM role to an existing instance your only option was to clone the instance and attach the IAM role at the time of launch. Which was cumbersome and time consuming.

However, now you can perform a few simple commands using the AWS CLI instead. The details of which are here.

Thank you Amazon Web Services!

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