Cloud advantage in farming

Well recently just getting too much free time, my interests have started to take a turn towards kitchen farming. Research around hydroponic tower gardens and finally attempting to build one has given a real morale boost.

This one is a picture in the very early stage, where a 1m 4.5″ PVC pipe can house about 24 x 2″ net pots. Should have stopped at 22 skipping the topmost 2 nos, which was a hindrance when the fountain was installed. Finally managed to cap it with a circular food container, which was salvaged from our kitchen. The water reservoir was an old 20lit water can, and pump bought off amazon, which could lift up to 1.8m.

This pump was chosen to be installed in the bottom tank.

Well now I am waiting for some seeds which I have ordered and would be trying to plant those. Oh okay, this is not what I wanted to write about, and the real content is upcoming.

I wanted to dig into possibilities of minimal usage of cloud and services into managing some part of farming. Though real manual farming is a passion not for me but my brother. With the thoughts and ideas, started to check if some one else had gone in the same direction, which landed me on YT with a handful of ideas, from which a two part video from Great Scott hit the nail right on head.

Just adding the first part as an embedded video, if the original person tears it down, I will attempt to narrate the whole thing, till then there is no point in wrting these and not giving the due credit for the original publisher.

I know there is more to this, and the latter part will come up when I will do this on a realtime. Might be tough for me as the GreenHouse kits are not availabe towards this end, and I dont have my private space as I am living in an apartment with shared common area.

Just for the works, I would consider the following, taking a different path, to use sensors for soil and room humidity and temperature, control air flow with exhaust fan with shutter as well as mist spray irrigation system within the greenhouse, one minute montioring with 5Mp digital cameras and image analysis. Also better housing for the power and control unit to adapt with our climate conditions here. Possible location is at our farmhouse.

Architecting SaaS Applications on AWS

During my career in different organizations, though I had the opportunity to architect multiple SaaS applications and most of them on AWS, I was not aware that I was already following most of the best practices. Only recently when I had a chance to view the Architecting Next Generation SaaS Applications on AWS by Tod Golding in AWS re:Invent 2016, I came to know the reality.

From the SaaS models which Tod had referred to, I had gone through the Silo, Bridge and Pool over several projects and had been bitten by most of the cons when using Silo I had experienced the maximum complication on the Agile deployment. Since I learned everything from my own experiences at that time, automated deployments or what is known as Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment using standard tools was not known to me. And mostly I used to re-invent the wheel, using shell, Perl or PHP scripts. Skewed releases across tenant installations were mostly the nightmares.

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Refactored a Complicated Lambda to use Layers and split it up

Till recently, in fact, till last week, was not too worried about writing all code into single code folder, and mapping multiple AWS::Serverless::Function into individual named handlers. Till I stumbled on this article, where I started wondering how my folder structure and sam templates were going into the stack. A detailed inspection was not required, though this was the time when I used the GUI ( after a long time ). But the outcome showed how pathetic the condition was.

The lambda console with the filter “aws:cloudformation:stack-name: <stack>”

Well, it is clear that the whole mess is being uploaded into all the function code. What does this mean – holy grail, any one small change here or there, would update all the functions – last modified is the same, all functions will have the node_modules and other artifacts like templates and custom modules.

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Anything with Cloudformation

As part of the DevOps Masters Program on Simplilearn, had to configure a jenkins pipeline. For the same, even though they do provide a lab environment, I feel at home with AWS and cli. I myself being part of the AWS Community Builders, should normally prefer this approach.

For the particular project, the infrastructure was visualized by me as two AWS::EC2 pre deployed one for Jenkins master node, and the other for java+tomcat to deploy a sample app. The Jenkins would be configured with Cloud Plugin configured to manage EC2 nodes for build and test and finally deploy to the tomcat using remote deployment using war. Making the long story short lets jump straight into the steps. Agree that I completed the Project Run in about a couple of hours and creating such a template and running through aws-sam was purely on academic interest. Download the template file: cf-template-ec2-jenkins-tomcat-ubuntu-bionic.yaml

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Wild walk with #sam and #aws

Mostly these days, I am working with IaC using aws sam cli which gives me a kind of satisfaction – its cumbersome for me to go into the myriad of web gui and continuously clicking. By creating templates and running them from cli has been my choice for too long.

Getting straight into the job, will summarize the initial requirements and the architecture, then move on to additions.

Required Output

Host a Static Site on S3, deliver it globally through Cloud Front CDN with SSL over HTTPS. Once deployed the Route53 tables should be updated. The deployment should use aws sam cli and IaC.

Though there is not much complication in the architecture, while deploying this during the first pandemic wave, after multiple attempts I found that the cloudfront should be created in specific region such that the SSL certificate can be attached.

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Case Study – WIP Reporting and Timeline video on Completion

Requirements (My hallucinations):

Design and architect a highly available, large user base system which is going to be used by the National Highways, the regular employees updating photos of WIP on different stages and when work completed, archive all images after creating a timeline video. WIP sequence should keep the most latest photo thumbnail linked to a project blog page, with a gallery linking to the last photo per day.  Post-processing of completed work can take even up to a week giving more importance to the lowest cost possible. The system should be capable of handling hundreds of thousands of high-quality mobile photographs per day. Runtime costs should be as low as possible. For each WIP a minimum of one photograph in six hours is desired. 

Solution on AWS (My views):

Application to be developed in some kind of single-page-app with progressive-web-app support, javascript and CSS libraries. This can be hosted on the AWS S3 bucket with Cloud Front default origin pointed here. The standard secure approach of HTTPS (Redirect HTTP to HTTPS), OAI and custom domain with a certificate from ACM is recommended. The dynamic part uses Cognito User Pool, Amazon API Gateway (regional), Lambda, STS etc. API Gateway stage should be the behaviour point for the route.

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WordPress to Static – Pushing the limits

Well this is not a kind of DIY or hands-on, but just a note on how I am doing it. The architecture of this portal.

The process is as follows

  1. Write an email with the subject having title and a signature, checksum of title plus a predefined string, separated by a double semicolon
  2. Send the same to a virtual id on CloudMailin.
  3. That is routed to an API Gateway, which triggers a lambda.
  4. Lambda (Node.js) evaluates the signature.
  5. If signature is valid, write email json into s3 bucket and triggers an EC2 spot instance with an EBS Volume attached.
  6. The user-data is injected with startup and delayed startup to pick and post the article from S3 into the WordPress on EBS
  7. Inline images are stripped and uploaded into the media manager, and links are replaced appropriately.
  8. Custom scripts utilizing mirror-website and other cli tools will convert the website to a static site
  9. WordPress has S3 support for Media Manager through a plugin.
  10. Downloads are directly uploaded into a download bucket.
  11. Then site is synced to s3 with proper expiry headers
  12. CloudFront is invalidated using the aws cli command.
  13. The services are stopped internally and EBS is unmounted
  14. Finally, the EC2 instance is terminated.

The EBS volume was prepared with the data, html and server configuration files. The spot instance is created from a custom ami which is updated time to time and provided to the lambda through environment variables.

This will run for me since I am the sole author of this blog, and my frequency of posting is very low hardly once in two months. For a high frequently updated portal or blog, this process may even fail totally and if there are more than one author, don’t even think of this. I do agree that there are too many cons, like preview editing, making changes etc are not there. But the most important part for me is this WordPress blog is rock solid, Not Hackable, unless AWS S3 or CloudFront is Hacked. Also page load times are pretty good, though tools like google lighthouse or webpage test are still suggesting more improvements.

Export Cloudwatch Logs to AWS S3 – Deploy using SAM

With due reference to the blog which helped me in the right direction, the Tensult blogs article Exporting of AWS CloudWatch logs to S3 using Automation, though at some points I have deviated from the original author’s suggestion.

Some points are blindly my preference and some other due to the suggested best practices. I do agree that starters, would be better off with setting IAM policies with ‘*’ in the resource field. But when you move things into production it is recommended to use least required permissions. Also, some critical policies were missing from the assume role policy. Another unnecessary activity was the checking of the existence of s3 bucket and attempt to create if not exists, at each repeated execution. Again for this purpose the lambda role needed create bucket permission. All these were over my head, and the outcome is this article.

Well if you need CloudWatch logs to be exported to S3 for whatever reason, this could save your time a lot, though this needs to be run in every different region where you need to deploy the stack. Please excuse me as the whole article expects to have aws-cli and sam-cli pre-installed.

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Take advantage of AI/ML to do your Code Reviews and Profiling

Get application performance recommendations and automated code reviews through Amazon CodeGuru, which is a machine learning service. Find the most expensive lines of code that can affect application performance and frustrate you with troubleshooting. The service gives you best recommendations to fix or write better code.

Powered by machine learning, best practices, and hard-learned lessons across millions of code reviews and thousands of applications profiled on open source projects and internally at Amazon, CodeGuru is ready to face any challenge. Find and fix code issues such as resource leaks, potential concurrency race conditions, and wasted CPU cycles, using CodeGuru. Also with moderate, on-demand pricing, it is affordable enough to use for almost all code review and application one might need. Java applications are currently supported by CodeGuru, with support for more languages in the anvil. Catch and resolve problems earlier and with better efficency, with CodeGuru such that you can build and run better software.

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Podcasting Solution on AWS

PodCasting – on AWS can be damn cheap while being ready for a bigbillion hit…


  1. Amazon S3
  2. Amazon Lambda ( S3 Events [and @ Edge ( if not authenticating from Cognito) ] )
  3. Amazon CloudFront
  4. Amazon Route 53
  5. Amazon Cognito ( optional if social login is required )
  6. A pinch of html and some javascript ( will be provided by me )

S3 stores raw files in one bucket, and trigers lambda to do the transcoding, if mobile from any format to mp3. Meta information should be uploaded to same bucket as flat file. Also multiple quality files will be generated. Interface will upload meta.json and pod.raw files to S3 bucket.

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