• Graeme Devine

AWS Fun

Firstly, I’m really behind on email and probably slack. Apologies. Little bit of pressure to get this to a demo.

Well I made it to a remote web server demo in January.


So AWS. It’s actually a chore to deploy to AWS. You need to make a build, zip up that build, upload that zip file to Amazon S3 (the storage facility for Amazon AWS) (Quick aside, S3 means Simple Storage Service and AWS means Amazon Web Service). In my case the build is 9GB so it takes a bit to even zip that sucker up and an upload is a walk of the dog. If I was on my Texas ISP an upload would be an overnight sleepover.

In all, it’s about an hour per deployment.


Once there you need three things to tell AWS about. A template JSON, a bootstrap PS1 file (a command file) and that zip file. Each of these has unique URLs you get from Amazon S3.

Plugging those in, you hit create Stack (a virtual computer on AWS is called a Stack) and wait. It takes a bit.

And then, it fails. Because default Amazon AWS accounts have zero vCPUs (virtual CPUs). I asked Amazon for an account upgrade to go to 32 virtual CPUs in a Stack and they said, hold on a sec, you aren’t Google, how about 16? I was happy with that since most people get 4 virtual CPUs and I didn’t realize how cheeky I was being asking for 32. Of course, this was all with Steve in Amazon AWS customer service who was really nice and totally not an AI chatbot because the approval process isn’t exactly instant (it can take up to 36 hours).

Then, you wonder, how do I restart? Turns out you don’t. You delete the failed one and remake the Stack from scratch. That’s right. That’s the ONLY option on a failed deploy. 2021 folks. Yes I checked.


Then you test! And it works! Yay! 16 Xeon vCPUs, a Titan NVIDIA GPU! Yay! I should take screenshots, but this is a sure thing now right? I should work out how much this is costing? Oh, they have an estimator? Uptime on a Stack like that 24/7 (meaning someone is using it 24/7) is around $1047 a month. Not being sure that I have the “switch off if no one is connected” code right I delete the Stack when I’m not using it so I’m not spending $36 a day testing.


Let me tell you the number of times I’ve gone to bed over the last year leaving all the servers running when I mean to close them down because electricity is expensive. It’s over 300. Even now, I’d bet my local I instance is still running even though I’m testing true cloud instances.


So today, bright and early, I fixed some bugs and redeployed. BUT, now my virtual server has no GPU. Amazon CloudFormation deployment is all out of GPUs! (Ummm, crypto folks are a real pain, they even rent stuff on AWS).

I’ve a feeling it’s just a “Sunday” temporary thing because WTF. But it does make me want to fix the “make sure it goes off when I’m not using it” code for sure when I do get one back so I don’t just delete the next Stack that actually has a GPU assigned to it.


I’m working on two demo scenes. One from Metropolis that shows the tracking we can do on your face / body and one for the hut scene in from Ship of the Dead.


Sunset here tonight was on a sky on fire. I think I know who got that GPU, it’s those Government sky generators at it again.


Hope you are all fantastic. I’m going to have a glass of whisky now and watch some terrible movie.

Graeme.