AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Study Notes

By | February 15, 2018

I’m currently studying to sit the AWS Solutions Architect Associate certification. To do this I’m (a) going through the exam blueprint, (b) writing blogs on my AWS free-tier lab, (c) watching the excellent videos. I bought the “Associate Bundle” so I plan on taking all 3 associate level courses eventually. I’ve decided to consolidate the past 5 articles into 1 large article for ease of searching (and so that I’m not updating 5 separate articles while I continue to study):

Main site for all certs:


AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam blueprint:

AWS Quick start reference architectures:

AWS Whitepapers for AWS-CSA Exam Prep:

AWS – Concepts and Components

  • AWS Global Infrastructure
    • 12 Regions & 33 AZs, 5 more Regions & 11 more AZs coming throughout the next year
    • Region = 2 or more AZs
    • AZ = DataCenter
    • Edge Location = CDN End Points for CloudFront
  • Networking
    • VPC = Virtual Private Cloud
    • Direct Connect = connecting to AWS w/out using Internet connection
    • Route53 = DNS service (port 53… duh)
  • Compute
    • EC2 = virtual server
    • EC2 Container Service = EC2 with Docker
    • Elastic Beanstalk = Service for deploying web applications and services. “AWS for beginners”
    • Lambda = “Most powerful/revolutionary service”. Run code w/out servers. Pay for execution time, only charged when code is executed.
  • Storage
    • S3 = Object based storage, a place to store flat files in the cloud
    • CloudFront = CDN (content delivery network), local caching of content
    • Glacier = long term backup, 3-5 hours to retrieve data
    • EFS = NAS in the cloud, block level storage (in preview)
    • Snowball = Import/Export service. For moving large amounts of data in/out of AWS. They ship you a physical suitcase of disks J
    • Storage Gateway = VM that you run locally that replicates data from local datacenter to AWS
  • Databases
    • RDS = SQL, Aurora, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB
    • DynamoDB = NoSQL
    • Elasticache = Caching DB services in cloud to relieve stress on RDS for high I/O environments
    • Redshift = Data warehousing service. Great performance
    • DMS = Database Migration Services. How to migrate/convert local DBs into AWS
  • Analytics
    • EMR = Elastic Map Reduce. A way of processing big data
      • Managed web service Hadoop clusters
    • Data Pipeline = moving data from one service to another
    • Elastic Search = Managed service to deploy/operate a search engine in cloud
    • Kinesis = managed service platform for real time streaming of big data.
      • Web apps, mobile devices, wearables generate huge amounts of streaming data.
      • Use kinesis to digest big data
    • Machine Learning = for use by developers to work with machine learning…. (not in test)
    • Quick Sight = Business Intelligence service (not in test)
  • Security & Identity
    • IAM = control users, roles, groups, policies
    • Directory Services
    • Inspector = install agents on EC2 instances & check for vulnerabilities (not in test)
    • WAF = Web Application Firewall condition sets:
      • IP Match
      • String Match
      • SQL Injection Match
      • Size Constraint
      • Cross-site Scripting Match
    • Cloud HSM = Hardware Security Module
    • Certificate Manager
  • Management Tools
    • CloudWatch = Monitor
    • CloudFormation = Use templates to create infrastructure stacks
      • Use “CloudFormer” to create a template of your existing infrastructure to capture and redeploy applications you already have running
    • CloudTrail = track user & API activity
      • By default, log files are stored indefinitely
    • Config = Track resources & inventory changes (not in test)
    • OpsWorks = automation
      • Orchestration service that uses Chef
      • Chef consists of recipes to maintain a consistent state
      • Look for “chef”, “recipes”, “cookbook” in exam & think Opsworks
    • Service Catalog = not in test
    • Trusted Advisor = scans environment for ways to save money & increase security
  • Application Svcs
    • API Gateway = not in test
    • AppStream = AWS version of XenApp
    • CloudSearch = Managed search solution
    • Elastic Transcoder = Media transcoding service, change media files from source format to destination format
    • SES = Simple Email Service = send/receive emails
    • SQS = Simple Queue Service, a way of decoupling infrastructure
    • SWF = Simple WorkFlow Service
  • Dev Tools (not in test)
    • CodeCommit = “Github”
    • CodeDeploy = automates code deployment
    • CodePipeline = build, test, deploy code
  • Mobile Svcs (not in test, except for SNS)
    • Mobile Hub = test mobile apps
    • Cognito = save mobile user data in AWS cloud
    • Device Farm = test against real smartphones & tablets in AWS cloud
    • Mobile Analytics =
    • SNS = big topic in exam, Simple Notification Service. Way to send notifications from cloud
  • Enterprise Applications
    • WorkSpaces = VDI
      • Replaces Windows PC in the cloud (PCoIP)
      • Runs Windows 7, provided by Windows Server 2008 R2
      • Are persistent (EBS)
      • All data on D drive backed up every 12 hours
      • Do not need an AWS account to login to workspaces
      • Don’t need an existing AD domain, can use free client app
      • Can integrate with existing AD domain
      • By default:
        • Users can personalize their WorkSpaces with wallpaper, icons, shortcuts, etc..
        • Users have local admin access to install apps
    • WorkDocs = DropBox for enterprise
    • WorkMail = Exchange
  • IoT
    • Internet of Things = not in test

Identity Access Management (IAM)

  • Central control of AWS account
  • Share access
  • Granular permissions of accounts/groups/roles/policies
  • Identity Federation (AD, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc…)
  • MFA = Multi Factor Authentication
  • Temp access for users/devices/services
  • Pwd rotation policy highly customizable
  • Policies = JSON key/value pairs
  • IAM is universal, applies to all regions consistently
  • New Users have no permissions when 1st created
  • New Users are assigned an access key ID & secret access key when first created, only viewable once so download it & secure!
  • Always setup MFA on root
  • Integrated with AWS marketplace


  • Secure, durable, highly scalable object storage. “Unlimited storage”. A hard drive in the cloud.
  • Object based NOT block based storage (no OS or DBs -> that’s Elastic Block Storage (EBS)). i.e. allows you to upload files
  • 0 byte to 5Tb file size
  • Files are stored in buckets
  • S3 is a universal namespace, each one must be unique:
  • EXAM Tips
    • Read after Write consistency for PUTS of new Objects
    • Eventual consistency for overwrite PUTS and DELETES as it can take time to propagate
  • S3 = Object based. Objects consist of the following:
    • Key = name of the object
    • Value = the data
    • Version ID (for versioning)
    • Metadata (tags)
    • Subresources
    • Access Control Lists (ACLs)
  • 99.99% availability
  • 99.999999999% durability
  • Tiered storage
  • Lifecycle mgmt.
    • Can be used in conjunction with versioning
    • Can be applied to both current & previous versions
    • Actions:
      • Transition to S3-IA (128Kb & 30 days after creation)
      • Archive to Glacier (30 days after S3-IA, if relevant)
  • Encryption, ACLs & Bucket Policies
  • Storage Tiers
    • S3
      • 99.99% availability
      • 99.999999999% durability
      • Redundant, designed to sustain loss of 2 facilities concurrently
    • S3-IA (infrequently accessed)
      • 99.9% availability
      • 99.999999999% durability
      • Lower fee than S3, but charged a retrieval fee
    • S3-RRS (Reduced Redundancy Storage)
      • 99.99% availability
      • 99.99% durability
    • Glacier
      • Very cheap (as little as $0.01 GB/mo.)
      • Used for archive only
      • Takes 3-5 hours to restore from Glacier
  • Versioning
    • Stores all versions of an object (including all writes and deletes)
    • Great backup tool
    • Cannot disable versioning once enabled, but you can suspend
    • Integrates with lifecycle rules
    • Can use MFA delete capability, so that you can’t delete without MFA
    • Cross Region Replication requires versioning – only applies to files manipulated *after* CRR is turned on
    • Can take up a LOT of space on files that change a lot (because it stores each changed version)

S3 – Security & Encryption

  • By default, all new buckets are PRIVATE
  • 2 types of access control for buckets
    • Bucket policies
    • ACLs
  • Buckets can be configured to log all requests
    • Can be done to another bucket or to another AWS account
  • Encryption – 4 methods
    • In transit – information to/from bucket
      • Uses SSL/TLS
    • At rest:
      • Server Side Encryption (SSE)
        • S3 Managed keys – SSE-S3
        • AWS Key Management Service, Managed Keys – SSE-KMS
          • Provides usage audit trail
        • SSE w/ Customer Provided Keys – SSE-C
    • Client Side Encryption – the customer encrypts data prior to uploading to bucket

CloudFront – CDN (Content Delivery Network)

  • Edge Location – Where the content will be cached (different from Region or AZ)
    • Not just read only, can write to them too.
    • Objects are cached for the life of the TTL (default 24 hours)
    • Can clear cached objects, but you will be charged
  • Origin – Where the original server content is located (S3 Bucket, EC2 instance, Route53, or ELB for AWS)
  • Not faster for the 1st user, but faster for every other subsequent user
  • Can be used for static, dynamic, streaming & interactive content
  • Requests are automagically routed to nearest Edge Location
  • Optimized to work well with other AWS services (duh)
  • Also works with non-AWS origin servers (the “definitive version”)
  • 2 types of Distributions:
    • Web Distribution – Used for websites
    • RTMP Distribution – used for media streaming
  • CloudFront options
    • Restrict Viewer Access – restrict using signed URLs or signed cookies

Storage Gateway

  • Connects on-prem software appliance with AWS storage to provide seamless & secure between an org’s on-prem IT environment & AWS storage infrastructure.
  • Asynch replication backed up to S3 as EBS snapshots
  • Data is stored within a single region (user specified)
  • Software appliance is supported on VMware or Hyper-V
  • 3 types of storage gateways:
    • Gateway Stored Volumes (cloud is backup)
      • Keep entire data set on-prem & asynch backed up to S3
      • Create storage volumes up to 16TB in size & mount them as iSCSI devices
      • Used for offsite backups
      • Constantly replicating changes up to S3 in the form of Amazon EBS snapshots
    • Gateway Cached Volumes (cloud is primary)
      • Only most frequently accessed data is stored on-prem, entire data set is stored in S3
      • Using S3 as your SAN array
      • Create storage volumes up to 32TBs in size & mount them as iSCSI devices
      • If you lose internet access, you lose access to all your data
    • Gateway Virtual Tape Library (VTL)
      • Limitless collection of virtual tapes
      • Up to 10 virtual tape drives per gateway
      • Exposes iSCSI interface so populat backup application (Netbackup , Backup Exec, Veeam, ect..) can point directly to VTL
  • Pricing:
    • Only pay for what you use, 4 pricing components:
      • Gateway usage (per gateway per month)
      • Snapshot storage usage (per GB per month)
      • Volume storage usage (per GB per month)
      • Data xfer out (per GB per month)

Snowball (Import/Export) 2 Types:

  • Import/Export Disk
    • You ship your disks to AWS site of your choice
    • Import into S3, Glacier, or EBS
    • Export from S3
  • Import/Export Snowball
    • Available in US, EU(Ireland) & APAC(Sydney)
    • 50TB or 80TB models available
    • 256-bit encryption
    • TPM ensures chain-of-custody
    • Import into S3 only
    • Export from S3

S3 Transfer Acceleration (probably not in exam yet)

  • Use Edge Network to accelerate uploads to your S3 bucket
  • Better performance the further you are away from your bucket
  • Incurs an additional fee

EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) – “A web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. Reduces time required to obtain & boot new server instances to minutes allowing the ability to quickly scale capacity both up and down.”

Pricing models:

  • On Demand – pay fixed rate by the hour with no commitment
    • Best for burst need servers & unpredictable workloads that cannot be interrupted
    • For users that want flexibility of EC2 w/out up-front payments or long-term commitment
    • Test/Dev for apps running on EC2 for the 1st time.
    • Supplement reserved instance servers (for extra temporary server load)
  • Reserved – 1 or 3 year term. Discount compared to On Demand, the longer your contract, the more you save.
    • Best for “steady state” systems that you’ll always have running
    • Apps that need reserved capacity, steady state or predictable usage
      • Domain Controllers
      • 1st web server
  • Spot – Allows you to bid for whatever price you want to pay for instance capacity (by hour).
    • When your bid = spot price, you get a server
    • When spot price exceeds your bid, you lose server with 1 hour warning
    • Best used for grid computing where instances are disposable & applications have flexible start/stop times
    • If spot instance is terminated by EC2, you don’t get charged for partial hour of usage. If *you* terminate, you’ll get charged for the full hour.

EC2 Instance Types:



Use Case


Lowest Cost, Gen Purpose

Web Svr, small DB


Gen Purpose (Main)



Gen Purpose (Main)



Compute Optimized

High CPU App/DB


Compute Optimized

High CPU App/DB


Mem Optimized (RAM)

High Mem App/DB



Vid Encoding, 3D Apps, Streaming


High Speed Storage (IOPS)

NoSQL DBs, Data Warehousing


Dense Storage

File srv, Hadoop

EBS (Elastic Block Storage) – Storage volumes that are attached to EC2 instances (think VMDKs)

  • Can’t attach 1 EBS instance to 2 EC2 instances (use EFS for that)
  • Can attach multiple EBS instances to 1 EC2 instance
    • How to “grow” an EBS volume:
      • Detach the original Amazon EBS volume.
      • Create a snapshot of the original Amazon EBS volume’s data in Amazon S3.
      • Create a new Amazon EBS volume from the snapshot, but specify a larger size than the original volume.
      • Attach the new, larger volume to your Amazon EC2 instance in place of the original. (In many cases, an OS-level utility must also be used to expand the file system.)
      • Delete the original Amazon EBS volume.
  • Placed in specific AZs & automatically replicated
  • EBS 3 Volume Types
    • General Purpose SSD (GP2)
      • 99.999% availability
      • Ratio of 3 IOPs per GB & ability to burst up to 3k IOPS for short periods for volumes under 1Gb.
      • Use if you need up to 10k IOPS
    • Provisioned IOPS SSD (I01)
      • For I/O intensive apps (large DBs).
      • Use if you need more than 10k IOPS
    • Magnetic (standard)
      • Cheapest
      • Good for infrequently accessed data (fileservers)

Know how to create a VPC from memory for exam!

  • When creating an AMI, on Step 4(Add storage) “Delete on Termination” is checked and not encrypted by default (i.e. Termination protection is turned off by default):

  • On an EBS-backed instance, the default action is for the root EBS vol to be deleted when the instance is terminated.
  • Root volumes cannot be encrypted by default, you’ll need a 3rd party tool (bit locker, etc) to encrypt root vols.

Security Group Basics:

  • All inbound traffic is blocked by default (except for ssh for listros and rdp for windows)
  • All outbound traffic is allowed by default
  • Can edit security groups on the fly. Edits take effect immediately.
  • To install Apache on AWS AMI:
    • yum install httpd –y
    • service httpd status
    • service httpd start
    • chkconfig httpd on
  • Can’t add a rule to deny a specific protocol inbound or outbound
  • Security groups are stateful:
    • If you allow a protocol inbound, automatically it’s added to outbound
  • Can have any # of instances in a security group

Volumes vs Snapshots

  • Volume
    • A volume is a virtual hard disk (think VMDK)
    • Volumes exist on EBS
    • If you take a snapshot of a volume, this will store that volume on S3
  • Snapshot
    • Point in time copy of a volume
    • Exists on S3
    • Are incremental, only the blocks that have changed since the last snap are moved to S3
    • 1st snap takes some time to create
    • Can use snap to create a new volume & change the disk type (magnetic -> GP2 or IO1 or any other combination)
    • If you want to snap a root volume, you should stop the instance before taking snap
      • If you don’t, AWS will stop it prior to taking snap.

Go into EC2 -> Volumes -> create volume (make sure it’s in the same AZ as your server!) -> Actions -> attach to server.

Use lsblk to view disks to confirm new volume attached.

Use file –s /dev/xvdf to make sure it’s clean

Use mkfs –t ext4 /dev/xvdf to make file system, then mkdir /fileserver to create directory, & mount /dev/xvdf/fileserver to mount

Volumes vs Snapshots – Security

  • Snapshots of encrypted vols are encrypted automatically
  • Vols restored from encrypted snaps are also automatically encrypted
  • You can share snaps, but only if they are unencrypted
    • They can be shared to other AWS accounts or made public

RAID, Volumes & Snapshots

  • RAID = Redundant Array of Independent Disks
    • RAID 0 – Striped, no redundancy, good performance
    • RAID 1 – mirrored, redundancy
    • RAID 5 – good for reads, bad for writes, AWS does not recommend ever putting RAID 5’s on EBS
    • RAID 10 – Striped & Mirrored, good redundancy, good performance
  • Why create a RAID in AWS?
    • Not getting Disk I/O that you require from GP2 or IO1 on a single volume.
  • How do you snap a RAID array?
    • Stop the app from writing to disk… how?
    • Take application consistent snap using one of these 3 methods:
      • Freeze file system
      • Unmount RAID array
      • Shut down EC2 instance

Create an AMI (Amazon Machine Image)

  • AMI = template VM
  • Are regional. You can only launch an AMI from the region where it’s stored. You CAN copy AMI’s to other regions using the command line/console/API.
  • Contains:
    • Template for root volume for the instance (OS, application servers, apps, etc)
    • Launch permissions that control with AWS accounts can use the AMI to launch instances
    • Block device mapping that specifies which volumes to attach when launching instance
  • By default, any AMI you create is private. You can modify image permission to make it public.

  • Read these articles on how to harden & clean up an AMI before making public!

AMI Types (EBS vs Instance Store)

  • You can select your AMI based on:
    • Region
    • OS
    • Architecture (32 or 64 bit)
    • Launch Permissions
    • Storage for the Root Device (root vol), 2 types:
      • Instance Store (ephemeral storage)
        • Can’t “stop” an instance of this type, only reboot or terminate. If the underlying host fails, you will lose data.
        • You can reboot without losing data, if you stop the instance, the data will be wiped.
        • “Ephemeral storage” means exactly that, not persistent
        • The root device for an instance launched from the AMI is an instance store volume created from a template stored in S3
        • Cannot be detached and reattached to other EC2 instances
      • EBS backed volumes
        • Are persistent
        • The root device for an instance launched from the AMI is an EBS volume created from an EBS snapshot
        • Can be stopped, you will not lose data if the underlying host fails.
        • Can be detached and reattached to other EC2 instances
        • By default, both root vols will be deleted on termination, but you can choose to keep an EBS vol on termination, not for ephemeral.

Elastic Load Balancers (ELB)

  • ELB is never given a static IP address, just DNS name.
  • ELBs can be “In Service” or “Out of Service”
  • Thresholds
    • Unhealthy Threshold = how many intervals with no response before flagging as Out of Service
    • Healthy Threshold = how many intervals with response before flagging as In Service
  • Support the following X-Forwarder headers:
    • X-Forwarded-For
    • X-Forwarded-Proto
    • X-Forwarded-Port

CloudWatch – Performance Monitoring Service

  • Standard monitoring = 5 minutes
    • Turned on by default
  • Detailed monitoring = 1 minute
  • Monitors the hypervisor, NOT the guest OS
    • Does not monitor memory
  • Dashboards – create/configure widgets to monitor your environment
  • Alarms – notify when a given threshold is hit
  • Events – automatically respond to state changes in your AWS resources
  • Logs – aggregate, monitor & store logs. Agent installed onto EC2 instances

AWS Command Line –

  • You can now assign a role to an EC2 instance on the fly!
  • AWS command line preinstalled on the AWS AMI
  • Commands:
    • Aws configure
      • Input access key, Secret Access key, default region name (in doc above) & output format (I just hit enter)
    • Aws s3 help
      • Make Bucket = mb
      • Remove Bucket = rb

  • If you use roles, you don’t have to store your credentials on your EC2 instance (which is a security risk)

IAM – Roles

  • Roles can only be assigned to an EC2 instance when you are launching it.
  • Roles are more secure than storing access keys on individual EC2 instances
  • Roles are easier to manage
  • They are universal, can be used in any region/AZ
  • Useful for:
    • Federated (non-AWS) user access
      • Microsoft AD, LDAP, Kerberos
      • Can create trust if org supports SAML 2.0
    • Cross-Account Access
      • Multiple AWS accounts
    • Applications running on EC2 instances that need access to other AWS resources
      • EC2 instance hitting an S3 bucket or DynamoDB table

Bash Scripting

  • Write a script that EC2 instance will run when 1st being provisioned
    • Install apache
    • Run updates
    • Move file from S3 to apache dir to create website
  • How to write the bash script
    • #!/bin/bash
    • Yum install httpd –y
    • Yum update –y
    • Aws s3 cp s3://<BUCKETNAME>t/index.html /var/www/html
    • Service httpd start
    • Chkconfig httpd on
  • Provision an AWS AMI instance per usual, but in the advanced section put in the above script

Instance Metadata –

  • How to access instance metadata from within an EC2 instance. From CLI:
    • Sudo su
      • This could be triggered from a bash script & returns a bunch of different variables, which can then be used to perform various functions:
        • Write data to an html page
        • Trigger a lambda function to update DNS
        • Whatever else you can think of J

Auto scaling Groups

  • Have to have a launch configuration to have an auto scaling group
  • Can create rules to spin-up and/or shut down instances based on monitor triggers
  • Deleting an auto scaling group will automatically delete any instances it created

EC2 Placement Groups

  • A logical grouping of instances within a single AZ.
    • Can’t span AZs (duh)
  • Enables applications to participate in low-latency, 10 GBps network
  • Recommended for apps that benefit from low latency networks, high network throughput, or both
    • Grid computing
    • Hadoop clusters
  • Name must be unique within your AWS account
  • Only certain types of instances can be launched in a placement group
    • Compute Optimized
    • GPU
    • Memory Optimized
    • Storage Optimized
  • AWS recommends homogenous instances within a placement group (size & family)
  • Can’t merge placement groups
  • Can’t move an existing instances into a placement group. You *can* create an AMI from your existing instance THEN launch a new instance from that AMI into a placement group… if you really wanted to.

Elastic File System (not in exam yet)

  • File storage for EC2 instances
  • Elastic capacity
  • Can mount multiple EC2 instances to 1 EFS “volume”
  • Supports NFSv4 & thousands of connections
  • Only pay for the storage you use (don’t need to pre-provision)
  • Scales up to PBs
  • Data is stored across multiple AZs within a region
  • Read after write consistency
  • File based storage

Lambda concepts

  • Compute service that runs your code in response to events and it automatically manages the underlying compute resources for you
  • Can automatically run code in response to events
    • Modifications to objects in S3 buckets
    • Messages arriving in Kinesis stream
    • Table updates in DynamoDB
    • API call logs created by CloudTrail
    • Etc…
  • A new abstraction layer – run code without worrying about infrastructure at all
  • Javascript is the supported programming language
  • 99.99% availability for the service and the functions it operates
  • 1st 1 million requests are free, $0.20 per 1 million requests afterwards

Route53 (DNS)

  • IPv6 not fully supported yet.
  • Alias records work like CNAME records
    • Used to map resource record sets in your hosted zone to ELB, CloudFront distributions, or S3 buckets that are configured as websites.
    • Difference – a CNAME can’t be used for naked domain names (i.e. w/out “www”), you can with A record or Alias.
    • Automatically recognizes changes in the record sets
  • ELBs don’t have a pre-defined IPv4 address, resolved using DNS
    • This can be an issue because naked domain names need an IP address.
    • Hence the need for Alias records
  • Given a choice, always choose an Alias record because you won’t incur additional charges (as you would with a CNAME)

DNS Routing Policies:

  • Simple
    • Default when you create a new record set
    • Most commonly used when you have a single resource that performs a given function (i.e. 1 webserver)
    • No built-in intelligence
  • Weighted
    • Split traffic based on weighted assignments (10% to X, 90% to Y)
    • Different regions, ELBs, AZs, etc.
    • Commonly used when testing a new website & you only want a small subset to see the new site
  • Latency
    • Route traffic based on lowest network latency for your end user
    • Need to create a latency resource record set for the EC2 or ELB resource in each region you want participating.
    • Great for improving global page load times
  • Failover
    • Used when you want to create an active/passive set up.
    • Route53 will monitor health of primary site using a health check (which monitors your end points)
  • Geolocation
    • You choose were traffic will be sent based on location of users
    • Ex. All EU users get routed to servers w/ local language and prices in Euros


  • RDS – Been around since the 70s. Database: tables, rows, fields (columns) -> think spreadsheet
  • DynamoDB – non-relational databases (No SQL)
    • Database:
      • Collection     = Table
      • Document     = Row
      • Key/Value pairs    = Fields
  • ElastiCache
    • web service that deploys, operates & scales an in-memory cache. Improves performance of web apps by retrieving info from RAM instead of disk.
    • Supports 2 open source in-mem caching engines
      • Memcached
      • Redis
    • Caches most consistently queried data
  • Redshift (data warehousing)
    • OLAP
    • Used for BI. Cognos, Jaspersoft, SAP Netweaver
    • Used to pull in large & complex data sets. Usually used to do queries on data.
  • DMS (database migration services)
    • Migrate your prod DB into AWS
    • AWS manages all the complexities of migration like data type transformation, compression & parallel xfer
    • Schema conversion tool:
      • Convert source DB to a different target DB (Oracle -> Aurora, etc…)
  • Backups, Multi-AZ & Read Replicas
    • Backups (2 types):
      • Automated
        • Recover DB to any point in time within retention period (between 1 – 35 days)
        • Point in time recovery down to a second, up to the last 5 minutes
        • Enabled by default
        • Backup data is stored in S3
        • Free backup storage equal to size of DB
        • Backups are taken within a defined window, retention period up to 35 days
        • During backup, I/O suspended (typically a few minutes)
          • This can be avoided if you go Multi-AZ as the backup is taken of the standby
      • DB Snapshots
        • Done manually (user initiated), full backup
        • Stored even after you delete the original RDS instance, until you explicitly delete them
        • When you restore either automated or snap, the restored version will be a new RDS instance with a new endpoint
    • Encryption
      • At rest is supported for MySQL, Oracle, SQL, PostgreSQL & MariaDB
      • Done using AWS KMS
      • Once your RDS instance is encrypted at rest – underlying storage, backups, read replicas and snaps are also encrypted
      • Turning on encryption for an existing instance isn’t supported… create a new encrypted instance & migrate data to it
    • Multi-AZ
      • Primary RDS instance uses synchronous replication to an RDS in a diff AZ.
      • Automatic failover, same DNS point, AWS handles replication
      • Disaster Recovery only, not performance improvement
      • Only in:
        • SQL Server
        • Oracle
        • MySQL Server
        • PostgreSQL
        • MariaDB
    • Read Replica
      • Uses asynchronous replication to create up to 5 read-only DB copies
      • Used for performance improvement & Scaling, not DR:
        • Write to prod, read from read replicas
      • Must have automatic backups turned on
      • You can have read replicas OF read replicas, but watch out for latency if you do this.
      • Each read replica will have it’s own DNS end point.
      • Cannot have read replicas that have Multi-AZ but you CAN create read replicas of Multi-AZ source DBs
      • Can break replication & turn a read replica to it’s own source DB
      • Only in:
        • MySQL Server
        • PostgreSQL
        • MariaDB
    • DynamoDB vs RDS
      • DynamoDB offers “push button” scaling -> scale DB on the fly with no downtime
      • RDS isn’t as easy -> usually need to create bigger instance size manually or add a read replica
  • DynamoDB
    • Fast, flexible NoSQL DB service.
    • Used for apps that need consistent, single-digit millisecond latency at any scale
    • Fully managed & supports document and key/value data models
    • Stored on SSD storage
    • Spread across 3 “geographically distinct” data centers
    • Multiple consistency models:
      • Eventually consistent reads (default)
        • Consistency usually reached within 1 second (best read performance)
      • Strongly consistent reads
        • Returns a result that reflects all writes that got a successful response prior to the read
        • Use this if your app needs data back immediately & in less than 1 second.
    • Pricing (not in exam):
      • Write throughput $0.0065 per hour every 10 units
      • Read throughput $0.0065 per hour every 50 units
      • Storage = $0.25 per GB per month
      • Expensive for writes, cheap for reads
  • Redshift
    • Fast (10 times faster), fully managed petabyte-scale data warehouse service
    • Can start small for $0.25 per hour with no commitments & scale up to PB or more for $1,000 per TB per year.
    • OLAP transactions
    • Data warehousing DBs us diff type of architecture from both a DB perspective & infrastructure layer.
    • 2 Configurations:
      • Single node (160Gb)
      • Multi-node
        • Leader Node (manages client connections and receives queries)
        • Compute Node (store data & perform queries and computations). Up to 128 Compute Nodes
    • Columnar Data Storage – instead of rows, redshift organizes data by column
      • Only columns involved in the queries are processed
      • Columnar data is stored sequentially on the storage media
      • Block size of 1MB for columnar storage
      • Therefore requires far fewer I/Os, greatly improving performance
    • Advanced Compression
      • Columnar data can be compressed much better than row based data
      • Redshift automatically samples data & chooses the best compression scheme
    • Massively Parallel Processing (MPP):
      • Automatically distributes data & query load across all nodes & newly added nodes
    • Pricing:
      • Compute Node Hours
        • 1 unit per node per hour
      • Backup
      • Data Transfer
    • Security
      • Encrypted in transit using SSL
      • At rest using AES-256
      • By default RedShift does it’s own key mgmt.
        • Can manage keys through HSM (hardware security modules) or KMS if you want
    • Only available in 1 AZ
      • Can restore snaps to new AZs in the event of an outage
    • Good choice if mgmt. runs lots of OLAP transactions & it’s stressing the DB
    • Think Business Intelligence (BI)
  • Elasticache
    • Caches things – if your app is constantly going to a DB to pull the same data over and over, you can cache it for faster performance
    • Used to improve latency and throughput for read-heavy app workloads (social networks, gaming, media sharing) or compute heavy workloads (recommendation engine)
    • Improves application performance by storing critical pieces of data in mem for low-latency access.
    • Types of elasticache
      • Memcached
        • Widely adopted mem object caching system.
      • Redis
        • Open source in-mem key/value store.
      • Supports master/slave replication & multi-AZ to achieve cross AZ redundancy
    • Good choice if your DB is read heavy & not prone to frequent changing
  • Aurora
    • MySQL compatible RDS DB engine
    • Speed & availability of commercial DBs
    • Simplicity & cost-effectiveness of open source DBs
    • 5x better performance than MySQL @ 1/10th the price of commercial DB w/ similar performance & availability
    • Big challenge to Oracle
    • Scaling capabilities:
      • Start w/ 10Gb, scales in 10Gb increments up to 64Tb
      • Compute scales up to 32vCPUs & 244Gb of mem
      • 2 copies of DB in each AZ w/ a min of 3 AZs (6 copies of data)
      • Can handle loss of 2 copies w/out affecting write availability
      • Can handle loss of 3 copies w/out affecting read availability
      • Storage is self-healing. Blocks & disks are constantly scanned & repaired
    • Replica features:
      • Aurora Replicas (currently 15)
      • MySQL read replicas (currently 5)

VPC (Virtual Private Cloud)

  • For the exam know how to build a custom VPC from memory
    • Create VPC
      • Define IP range (automatically creates default route table)
      • Create subnets (automatically creates route table & nACL)
        • Largest = /16, Smallest = /28
        • AWS reserves the 1st 4 and last 1 IP address of any subnet, so /28 = 11 useable IPs
      • Create IGW
        • By default it’s detached, need to manually attach it to VPC
      • Create custom route table & attach IGW to it
      • Associate public subnet(s) to use new route
      • Launch 1 instance per subnet
      • Provision EC2 NAT instance
        • Create security group for NAT instance
  • VPC = Think of it as a Virtual Datacenter
    • By default you are allowed 5 VPCs per region
    • Logically isolated section of AWS where you can launch AWS resources in a virtual network of your own definition
    • You control the network environment: IP address range, subnets, routing tables, gateways, etc
  • Default VPC vs Custom VPC
    • Default is user friendly, can deploy instances right away
    • All subnets in default VPC have an internet gateway attached
    • Each EC2 instance has both a public & private IP address
    • If you delete default VPC, you have to call AWS to get it back
  • VPC Peering
    • Connect 1 VPC to another VPC via direct network route using private IP addresses
    • Instances behave as if they were on the same private network
    • You can peer VPC’s with other AWS accounts & with other VPC’s in the same account within a single region
    • AWS uses the existing infrastructure of a VPC to create a VPC peering connection.
    • It is not a gateway or a VPN connection.
    • It does not rely on a separate piece of hardware
    • No SPoF for communication or bandwidth bottleneck
    • Peering is done in a star configuration. VPC A ßà VPC B ßà VPC C = A cannot talk to C unless you connect directly (no transitive peering)
    • Peers cannot have matching or overlapping CIDR blocks
  • By default when you create a VPC it will automatically create a route table
  • If you choose dedicated tenancy for your VPC, any instances you create in that VPC will also be dedicated
  • 1 subnet = 1 AZ, you cannot have subnets cross AZ
  • Don’t forget to add internet gateway
    • 1 IGW per VPC
    • Need to attach IGW after you create it
  • Need to create InternetRouteTable if you want VPC to communicate in/out

    • Once you’ve created your IGW, any subnet associations you make to it will be internet accessible:

    • A security group can stretch across multiple Regions/AZs where a subnet cannot
  • VPC Flow Logs:
    • Enables you to capture information about the IP traffic going to and from network interfaces in your VPC
    • Data is stored using Amazon CloudWatch Logs, you can view and retrieve its data in Amazon CloudWatch Logs.
    • Help with a number of tasks:
      • Troubleshoot why specific traffic is not reaching an instance
      • Diagnose overly restrictive security group rules
      • Security tool to monitor the traffic that is reaching your instance.

Network Address Translation (NAT)

  • Allows your instances that do not have internet access the ability to access the internet via a NAT server instance
  • create security group
  • allow inbound & outbound on HTTP and HTTPS
  • provision NAT inside public subnet
  • On a NAT instance, you need to change source/destination check to disabled
  • Set up route on private subnet to route through NAT instance

Access Control Lists (ACLs)

  • A numbered list of rules (in order, lowest applies first)
  • Put down network access lists across the entire subnet
  • Over rules security groups
  • Acts as a basic firewall
  • VPC automatically comes with an ACL
  • When you create a new ACL, by default everything is DENY
  • Only one ACL per subnet, but many subnets can have the same ACL

Application Services

SQS – most important service going into exam

  • Read FAQ for SQS for exam:
  • A distributed message queueing service that sits between a “producer” and “consumer” to quickly and reliably cache that message.
  • Allows you to decouple the components of an app so that they can run independently.
  • Eases message management between components
  • Any component can later retrieve the queued message using SQS API
  • Queue resolves issues if:
    • The producer is producing work faster than consumer is processing
    • Producer or consumer are only intermittently connected to network
  • Ensures delivery of each message at least once
  • Supports multiple writers and readers on the same queue
  • Can apply autoscaling to SQS
  • A single queue can be used by many app components with no need for those components to coordinate amongst themselves to share the queue
  • SQS does NOT guarantee first in, first out (FIFO) delivery of message
    • If you want this, you need to place sequencing information in each message so that you can reorder the messages after they come out of queue
  • SQS is a pull based system
  • 12 hour visibility time out by default
  • Engineered to provide “at least once” delivery of mgs, but you should design your app so that processing a message more than once won’t create an error
  • Messages can contain up to 256KB of text in any format
  • Billed at 64KB “chunk” – a 256KB msg will be 4 x 64KB “chunks”
  • 1st 1 million SQS requests per month are free
  • $0.50 per 1 million requests per month thereafter
  • A single request can have from 1 to 10 messages, up to a max total payload of 256KB
  • Each 64KB ‘chunk’ of payload is billed as 1 request.
    • Ex: 1 API call with a 256KB payload is billed as 4 requests

SWF – Simple Workflow Service

  • Makes it easy to coordinate work across distributed app components
  • Enables apps to be designed as a coordination of tasks
  • Tasks represent invocations of various processing steps in a app which can be performed by:
    • Executable code
    • Web service calls
    • Human actions
    • Scripts
  • Amazon uses SWF to process orders on the amazon website to get you your stuffs
  • SWF vs SQS
    • SQS has a retention period of 14 days, SWF up to 1 year for workflow executions
    • SWF presents task-oriented API, SQS = message-oriented API
    • SWF ensures a task is assigned only once and never duplicated, with SQS you need to handle the potential for duplicate messages
    • SWF keeps track of all the tasks & events in an application. With SQS you need to implement application-level tracking, especially if you have multiple queues.
  • SWF Actors (3 types):
    • Workflow Starters – an app that can initiate a workflow ( front end when placing an order)
    • Deciders – control the flow of activity tasks (if cc declined – decide to send to alternative payments page)
    • Activity workers – carry out tasks (payment now successful, go pull widget off shelf & mail it)

SNS – Simple Notification Service

  • Web service to setup, operate & send notifications from AWS.
  • Scalable, flexible, cost-effective way to publish messages from an app & deliver them to subscribers or other apps
  • Push notification to Apple, Google, Fire OS, Windows devices, etc..
  • Can deliver via SMS text messages, email, SQS queues, any HTTP endpoint
  • Can also trigger Lambda functions
  • SNS Subscribers:
    • HTTP/S
    • Email/Email-JSON
    • SQS
    • Application
    • Lambda
  • Allows you to group multiple recipients using topics
  • One topic can support delivery to multiple endpoints types
    • “Autoscale change” to my phone, my email etc… all properly formatted for the endpoint
  • All messages published to SNS are stored redundantly across multiple AZs
  • Instantaneous, push-based deliver (no polling)
  • Simple APIs & easy integration with apps
  • Flexible message delivery over multiple transport protocols
  • Pay as you go model with no up-front costs
  • Mgmt console offers simple point/click interface
  • SNS vs SQS
    • Both messaging services in AWS
    • SNS – Push
    • SQS – Polls (pulls)
  • Pricing:
    • $0.50 per 1 million SNS requests
    • $0.06 per 100,000 notification deliveries over HTTP
    • $0.75 per 100 notification deliveries over SMS
    • $2.00 per 100,000 notification deliveries over email

Elastic Transcoder

  • Media transcoder in the cloud
  • Converts media file from original source format into different formats that will play on different endpoint devices
  • Provides transcoding presets for popular output formats
    • Don’t need to guess about which settings work best on particular devices
  • Pay based on the minutes that you transcode & the resolution at which you transcode

White Paper Breakdown:

Overview of AWS:

What is cloud computing? On demand delivery of IT resources and apps via the Internet w/ pay-as-you-go pricing. Cloud providers maintain the network-connected hardware while the consumer provisions and use what you need via web applications.

6 Advantages of Cloud:

  1. Trade capex for “variable expense”
  2. Benefit from economies of scale
  3. Stop guessing about capacity
  4. Increase speed & agility
  5. Stop spending money running & maintaining datacenters
  6. Go global in minutes

Overview of Security Processes:

  • State of the art electronic surveillance and multi factor access control systems
  • Staffed 24×7 by security guards
  • Access is least privilege based

Shared Security Model – AWS is responsible for securing the underlying infrastructure. YOU are responsible for anything you put on or connects to the cloud

AWS responsibilities:

  • Infrastructure (hardware, software, networking, facilities)
  • Security configuration of it’s managed services (DynamoDB, RDS, Redshift, Elastic MapReduce, WorkSpaces)

Customer responsibilities:

  • IAAS – EC2, VPC, S3
  • Managed services – Amazon is responsible for patching, AV etc… but YOU are responsible for account mgmt. and user access. Recommended that MFA is implemented, SSL/TLS is used for communication, & API/user activity is logged using CloudTrail

Storage Decommissioning:

  • AWS uses NIST 800-88 to destroy data. All decommed magnetic storage devices are degaussed and physically destroyed.

Network Security:

  • Transmission Protection – Use HTTPS using SSL
  • For customers who need additional layers of network security, AWS provides VPCs & the ability to use an IPSec VPN between their datacenter & the VPC
  • Amazon Corporate Segregation – AWS production network is segregated from the Amazon corporate network by a means of a complex set of network security/segregation devices
  • DDoS mitigation
  • Prevent Man in the middle attacks (MITM)
  • Prevent IP Spoofing – the AWS controlled, host-based firewall will not permit an instance to send traffic with a source IP or MAC other than its own.
  • Prevent Port Scanning – Unauthorized port scans are a violation of T&Es. You must request a vulnerability scan in advance
  • Prevent Packet Sniffing by other tenants

AWS Credentials

  • Passwords
  • MFA
  • Access Keys
  • Key Pairs
  • X.509 certs

AWS Trusted Advisor

  • Inspects your AWS environment & makes recommendations to save money, improve performance & close security gaps:
  • Provides alerts for several of the most common security misconfigs:
    • Leaving certain ports open
    • Not creating IAM accounts for internal users
    • Allowing public access to S3 buckets
    • Not turning on user activity logging (AWS CloudTrail)
    • Not using MFA on your root AWS account

Instance Isolation

  • Instances on same physical machine are isolated from each other via the Xen hypervisor.
  • The AWS firewall resides within the hypervisor layer, between the physical network interface & the instances virtual interface.
    • All packets must pass through this firewall
  • Physical RAM is separated using similar mechanisms
  • Customer instances have no access to raw disk devices, only virtual disks
  • AWS proprietary disk virtualization layer resets every block of storage used by the customer
    • Ensures customer X data isn’t exposed to customer Y
  • Mem allocated to guest is scrubbed (zeroed out) by hypervisor when it becomes unprovisioned
    • Mem not returned to pool of free mem until scrubbing is complete
  • Guest OS
    • Instances are completely controlled by customer. AWS does not have any access rights or back doors to guest OSes
    • AWS provides the ability to encrypt EBS volumes & their snapshots with AES-256
  • Firewall:
    • EC2 provides a complete firewall solution. By default inbound is DENY-ALL
  • ELB – SSL Termination on the load balancer is supported
    • Allows you to ID the originating IP address of a client connecting to your servers, whether you are using HTTPS or TCP load balancing
  • Direct Connect:
    • Slower to provision than a VPN because it’s a physical connection
    • Bypass ISPs in your network path (if you don’t want traffic to traverse Internet)
    • Procure rack space within the facility housing the AWS Direct Connect location & deploy your equipment nearby.
    • Connect this equipment to AWS Direct Connect using a cross-connect
    • Use VLANs (802.1q) to use 1 connection to access both public (S3) and private (EC2 in a VPC) AWS resources
    • Available in
      • 10Gbps
      • 1Gbps
      • Sub 1Gbps groups purchased through AWS Direct Connect Partners

Risk and Compliance:

  • AWS mgmt. has a strategic business plan which includes risk identification & mitigation plans. This is re-evaluated at least bi-annually.
  • AWS security regularly scans all Internet facing service endpoint IP addresses for vulnerabilities (these scans do not include customer instances)
  • Independent external vulnerability threat assessments are performed regularly by 3rd party security firms.
    • Not meant to replace a customer’s own vulnerability scans
  • SOC 1/SSAE 16/ISAE 3402
  • SOC2
  • SOC3
  • PCI DSS Level 1 ß
    can take credit card information with PCI compliance (software needs to be compliant too)
  • ISO 27001
  • ISO 9001
  • ITAR
  • FIPS 140-2
  • Cloud Security Alliance (CSA)
  • Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)

AWS Platform:

Storage Options in the Cloud: (2 docs?)

Architecting for the Cloud – Best Practices:

Business Benefits:

  • Almost 0 upfront infrastructure investment
  • JIT infrastructure
  • More efficient resource utilization
  • Usage-based pricing
  • Reduced time to market

Technical Benefits:

  • Automation – “Scriptable infrastructure”
  • Auto-scaling
  • Proactive scaling
  • More efficient dev lifecycle
  • Improved testability
  • DR/BC baked in
  • “Overflow” traffic to the cloud

Design for Failure:

  • Assume that hardware will fail & outages will occur
  • Assume that you will be overloaded with requests
  • By being a pessimist, you think about recovery strategies during design time, which helps you design an overall better system

Decouple your components:

  • Build components that do not have tight dependencies so that if 1 component dies/sleeps/is busy, the other components are built so as to continue work as if no failure is happening.
  • If you see decoupling in exam, think SQS
  • WebServer – SQS – AppServer – SQS – DBServer

Implement Elasticity:

  • Proactive Cyclic Scaling – periodic scaling that occurs @ fixed intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly) i.e. “Payroll Monday”
  • Proactive Event Scaling – when you are expecting a big surge of traffic (Black Friday, new product launch, marketing campaign)
  • Auto-scaling based on demand – Create triggers in monitoring to scale up/down resources

Secure Your Application:

  • Only have the ports open to/from your various stacks to allow communication, no more (duh)

Consolidated Billing

  • 1 paying account for all linked accounts in an org
  • Paying account gets 1 monthly bill
  • Paying account cannot access resources of the linked accounts
  • All linked accounts are independent of each other
  • 20 linked accounts for consolidated billing (soft limit)
  • Easy to track charges & allocate costs
  • Volume pricing discount, resources of all your linked accounts are added up for discounts

Resource Groups & Tagging

  • Tags = Key/Value pairs attached to AWS resources
  • Metadata
  • Tags can be inherited sometimes:
    • Autoscaling, CloudFormation, Elastic Beanstalk can create other resources
  • Resource Groups
    • Make it easy to group resources using the tags that are assigned to them
    • Contain info like:
      • Region
      • Name
      • Health checks
      • For EC2 – Public & Private IP addresses
      • For ELB – Port configs
      • For RDS – Database engine, etc.
    • Use tag editor to find/modify resources in large volumes

Active Directory Integration:

  • User browses to ADFS URL
  • User authenticates against AD
  • User receives a SAML assertion
  • User’s browser posts the SAML assertion to the AWS sign-in endpoint for SAML
  • User’s browser receives the sign-in URL and is redirected to the console

40 thoughts on “AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Study Notes

  1. Rui

    a quick edit Chris. Gateway Stored Volumes can be up to 16TB in size not 1TB.

    1. chrisfwilliams Post author

      Great catch Rui! Updated & thank you.

  2. Rui

    For snowball there is a 50 AND 80 TB version available in various regions (not just US).

    from FAQ:

    Q. In what regions is Snowball available?
    Both 50 TB and 80 TB models are available in the following regions:
    US West (Oregon)
    US West (N. California)
    US East (N. Virginia)
    AWS GovCloud (US)
    80 TB models are additionally available in the following regions:
    EU (Ireland)
    Asia Pacific (Sydney)

    1. chrisfwilliams Post author

      Thanks Rui, updated with new info. Must have changed in the past few weeks 😉

  3. NP

    Hi Chris,

    Excellent notes, Thanks.

    One thing I noticed S3 object size, its 0 bytes to 5 terabytes.


    1. chrisfwilliams Post author

      Thanks Nirav! Adjusted 🙂

  4. Maya

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your study note.

    A quick update from AWS. As of October 2016, there are 35 Availability Zones within 13 geographic Regions around the world, with 12 more Availability Zones and 5 more Regions coming online throughout the next year. This is posted on

  5. Amar Honnungar

    Good points for quick overview. Great job!!

  6. Pingback: Link to a great consolidated notes on AWS | Bharadwaj Turlapati

  7. A Cloud Guru Student

    Great work.
    Would appreciate if you can update the notes to reflect the new 2017 course.

    1. Prashant

      link is directing to error page. Is there any other working link?


      1. chrisfwilliams Post author

        This article is FULL of links. Which one exactly are you talking about?


    Thank you so much for the write up.

  9. Ganesh

    I’m preparing for CSA exams is it sufficient to go thru below white papers to clear the exams?

    AWS Whitepapers for AWS-CSA Exam Prep:

  10. Ganesh

    which are the FAQs & Whitepapers I need to refer to clear CSA exams.

    especially Domain 1.0: Designing highly available, cost-efficient, fault-tolerant, scalable systems

  11. dinusha

    Hi, S3-IA Availability is 99.9% not 99.99%

    1. chrisfwilliams Post author

      That is correct Vadim 😉

  12. Vadim

    Elastic File System isn’t block based storage it is file storage.

    1. chrisfwilliams Post author

      Thanks for catching that! Fixed.

  13. Pingback: Passing AWS Solutions Architect Associate – theaaronstrong

  14. pajd

    Hi – are these notes still valid? I mean, do they be updated to reflect the changes in the AWS exam

    1. chrisfwilliams Post author

      With the exception of the numbers that have changed (e.g. # of regions & AZs) the notes should still be valid.

  15. Bharath Kumar Ramesh

    Excellent Notes and very detailed. Appreciate your time

  16. Pingback: AWS Solution Architect Exam Noted – Abhishek Singh

  17. Antony Jose

    Hi Chris,
    Requesting to update this point -“You can only assign a role to an EC2 instance during its creation!”
    Now we can attach role to EC2 on the fly

    1. chrisfwilliams Post author

      Thanks for catching that Antony, I’ve updated the article 🙂

  18. Chris

    Wow! This is really a nice study guide!! Keep up the great work.

    1. chrisfwilliams Post author

      Thanks Chris!

  19. nichole

    crisp and straight

    good job!

    But are all the sevices up to date ?

    1. chrisfwilliams Post author

      Hi Nicole, thank you! It’s over 2 years old… so no 😉

  20. Bryan

    Is this updated to reflect new 2018 exam for CSAA

  21. Ganesh Sekarbabu

    If you want to snap a root volume, you should stop the instance before taking snap
    If you don’t, AWS will stop it prior to taking snap.

    No need to stop the instance and only the cache date will be excluded from the snap , I guess the option which you mentioned was updated now from AWS recently ..

  22. Dany

    It’s great work you have done. Just wanna know if these notes are still valid for exam in 2020 ?

    1. chrisfwilliams Post author

      Hi Dany,
      Thanks! Probably not, these notes are from more than 4 years ago now. You’ll def want to make sure you review what has changed since then as any ‘numbers’ (i.e. speeds & feeds) have likely changed 🙂

  23. Shiv


    Despite being few years old, I think this is an excellent resource and your promptness to update based on inputs is highly appreciated.

Comments are closed.