How-to, tips, tricks and more hands-on advice for working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) from

Hands-On with Polly, Amazon's AI-Based Speech Synthesizer

Despite some shortcomings, Amazon Polly is much more than a cloud-based reworking of Apple's 30-year-old S.A.M. program. (But don't count on it to read algebra equations just yet.)

Best Practices for Creating and Managing AWS Tags

As useful as tags are for tracking down specific AWS resources, they can easily get out of hand. To avoid future headaches, develop a carefully controlled tagging structure early.

How To Lock Down AWS Security Groups

Each time you create an Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance, AWS will create a new security group whose job is to control access to that instance. Here's how to configure it.

AWS Spot Instances: Why, When and How To Use Them

Not all workloads are created equal, nor are their price tags. For workloads that are less than mission-critical, organizations can take advantage of steeply discounted AWS Spot Instances. There are a few conditions to keep in mind, however.

Tracking EC2 Instance Usage with AWS Reporting Engines

Spinning up new VMs on a whim has little impact in on-premises environments, but it can mean added charges in the cloud. Using AWS instance reports can help organizations keep an eye on those costs and control VM sprawl.

Managing Mobile Security Policies for Amazon WorkMail

If you've ever managed Microsoft Exchange, then you're already familiar with the concept of mobile device mailbox policies. The difference is AWS' mobile policies tend to be simpler than Microsoft's.

Getting Started with Amazon WorkMail

There are a number of options available to organizations that want to host corporate e-mail in the cloud, including this managed e-mail and calendaring service for Amazon Web Services customers.

Using AWS for Video Transcoding, Part 2

Now that you've set up the Amazon S3 bucket for your video transcoding project, it's time to actually convert the video. That's often easier said than done.

Using AWS for Video Transcoding, Part 1

The first step in using AWS to convert a video into a different format is configuring the required S3 bucket. Brien walks you through the process.

Using AWS To Create SSL and TLS Certificates

In IT, conventional wisdom is that security certificates tend to be expensive. That's not the case when it comes to Amazon Web Services, however.

Deploying a Web Application Firewall on AWS

A Web application firewall (WAF) helps admins monitor traffic destined for a Web front-end and filter out anything malicious. Here's how to set up a WAF to protect apps hosted on the Amazon Web Services cloud.

Pushing a Docker Image to the EC2 Container Registry

It's one thing to set up a simple application container, and another to be able to actually use containers in the real world. To do that, you'll need to know how to push a Docker image to AWS.

Getting Started with Amazon EC2 Containers, Part 2

In this installment, Brien shows you what an AWS container looks like once it's up and running, and how to manage it.

Getting Started with Amazon EC2 Containers, Part 1

AWS lets users create and manage containers through a graphical console -- perfect for those unused to working with containers or the Docker command-line environment.

Using Amazon SES for Bulk E-Mail Distribution, Part 2

The Simple Email Service can handle a variety of needs, but if you want to send mass e-mails to addresses outside of your domain, be prepared to make your case to AWS.

Using Amazon SES for Bulk E-Mail Distribution, Part 1

With service providers aggressively targeting spam, DIY bulk messaging -- for legitimate e-mails, of course -- can often be more trouble than it's worth. Fortunately, AWS has a solution.

Making Cloud Costs More Predictable with Amazon Lightsail

Unlike EC2, Lightsail instances come with very low-cost, flat-rate pricing. But before signing up, there are a few issues to keep in mind.

Reducing Latency with EC2 Placement Groups

Creating a placement group in AWS to cope with latency issues is easy enough, but there are several important caveats and limitations to keep in mind.

How To Add Data to an AWS Instance

While there isn't a right or wrong way to copy files to an AWS instance, some methods are easier and more secure than others. Brien's technique of choice involves the RDP client.

Accessing Amazon S3 Buckets Through Visual Studio, Part 2

Now that you've laid the groundwork for linking Visual Studio to AWS, it's time to begin putting together the various pieces to access S3.