Passed: AWS Solutions Architect – Associate Exam Tips

aws-solutions-architect-associate

Yesterday morning I finally took the AWS Solutions Architect – Associate and even managed to pass it!

While everything about the exam is still fresh in my mind I wanted to share my experience taking the Solutions Architect – Associate exam as well as share a few tips that certainly helped me in taking the exam in hopes that it might help others as well.

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How to host a static website using AWS S3, CloudFront, Route 53 and Cert Manager

In addition to running this blog I also run several online forum communities, but in the past I never had a place to showcase these communities in one place. This post will detail my steps I took to host a static website using AWS S3, CloudFront, Route 53 and Certificate Manager to showcase those communities all in one place. All without the need to worry manage another server.

Requirements before getting started:

  • An Amazon Web Services account.
  • Domain name – I use and suggest either Namecheap or NameSilo to register new domains if you haven’t already. (Use coupon SAVE1OFFNAMESILO at NameSilo to save $1.00)
  • Already have a static HTML page designed and ready to upload.

So briefly I’ll explain why I choose these services and what they will offer.

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VMware Workstation 12.5.5 released, fixes Pwn2Own exploits

VMware Workstation 12.5

VMware has just released Workstation 12.5.5 which includes bug fixes as well as fixes for several vulnerabilities found in this years Pwn2Own contest, which two hacking teams, 360 Security (@mj011sec) and Team Sniper was able to successfully complete a virtual machine escape.

While these are serious exploits, VMware has said they are not aware of any active exploitation of the vulnerabilities that has now been fixed in 12.5.5.

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Create a custom VPC with private and public subnets on AWS

In my free time I’ve been working through the AWS Certified Solutions Architect by Ryan Kroonenburg from ACloud.guru. Ryan really drives home the importance of knowing how to create a custom VPC within AWS as part of the exam. For me I learn best by not only doing it but writing it down.

So if for nothing else but my own benefit, this post is going to show step by step how to create a custom VPC in AWS without using the AWS wizard.

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Fix VMware VCSA /storage/log filesystem out of disk space

This morning I ran into an issue where users were reporting the production VCSA 6.0 was not allowing them to connect into the web or thick client. Another administrator rebooted the VCSA which seemed to work only briefly. I then logged into the VCSA web management (https://<VCENTER_IP>:5480) and noticed the following health status right away:

The /storage/log filesystem is out of disk space or inodes

vcsa /storage/log full

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How to enable SSH auto login on Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X

edgerouter ssh key auto login

SSH key authentication not only provides a more convenient way to logging into your EdgeRouter X, but is also more secure because the private key replaces the need of a password and thus is typically more difficult to brute force.

The below steps will show how to generate a SSH key, add it to the router, and then disable password authentication so that only the key-pair can be used to login.

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How to perform Instant File Recovery using NAKIVO Backup

NAKIVO Backup has been a great addition in my home lab and just a few months ago I wrote about my first impressions of NAKIVO Backup. Now I have a few posts lined up to highlight some individual features of NAKIVO Backup, starting with Instant File Recovery.

If you haven’t already guessed it, Instant File Recovery allows you to recover files or folders directly from a previous backup job. This is a great alternative to performing a full restore of a VM when all you might need is a single or even a couple of files and/or folders.

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Use Pi-Hole to block ads on all devices in your network

Sure ad blockers have been around for a long while now, but those are typically only available for your web browsers and not ever device allows you to install them such as cell phones, media players, smart TV’s, etc. I came across a neat project that allows you to block web ads on every device in your network, called Pi-Hole.

In a nutshell Pi-Hole was developed to run on a Raspberry Pi, but will run on most any Debian based distro, and will act as a DNS server to which you point your devices or router to use as the DNS server so that all requests are filtered through Pi-Hole. Pi-Hole then blocks 100’s of thousands ad domains. All without having to use a single browser extension and for FREE!

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Upgrade vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 to 6.5

VMware vSphere 6.5 has been released as general available and earlier this week I posted about Installing VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 as a new install, this post will walk through upgrading an existing vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 to 6.5!

Similar to a fresh VCSA 6.5 install, the VCSA 6.5 upgrade is also broken up into two stages. The first stage is deploying a new vCenter Server Appliance and the second stage is copying data from the 6.0 VCSA to the newly deployed 6.5 VCSA.

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