Week 22, 2018 - Windows on AWS CodeBuild; Amazon Sumerian; Atlassian Escalator

Last week I spent most of my time at Container Camp, and while I don’t think I missed any important news I didn’t pay close attention either. Therefore, a couple of older items concerning the release of Sumerian and Atlassian’s Escalator as well CodeBuild’s new support for Windows builds.

AWS CodeBuild Windows

Last week, CodeBuild finally added support for Windows containers. As I explained in a video, you can use CodeBuild to have a serverless build pipeline1, but this was limited to applications you could run on Linux.

The introduction of doing this for Windows builds fills an obvious gap here. By default there is a base container that has build tools such as MS Build installed, but you can build your own containers on top of this or separately. An example of this can be found in a blog post by AWS. Personally I can see this replacing Windows build machines, particularly in environments that are predominantly Linux based.

Of course, not everything is perfect. As usual, this is currently only available in a couple of regions and these don’t include Sydney2. Which is what you get for living far away from the rest of the world.

Sumerian is GA

Amazon Sumerian, the tool for building AR, VR, and 3D experiences is now generally available. Since it was announced at the last re: Invent this had become one of Amazon’s favourite demo tools at their events.

Whether you want to use it to have an avatar3 speak, or to show off something using AR, Sumerian should be able to handle it. While I haven’t tried it yet, from what I’ve heard it’s fairly easy to get something basic up and running.

In effect it gives you a web interface to build what you want to make, and allows you to script behaviour using JavaScript. The end result can be used with VR tools such as the Oculus, AR frameworks like iOS’s ARKit, or whatever you want. It’s easy to get started with, but if you’re better at this sort of thing than I am4 you can make some pretty complex things with it too.

Atlassian Escalator

When they introduced Bitbucket Pipelines, Atlassian execerbated an issue they already had with their internal builds: scaling.

In their introduction post for Escalator, they explain the issues they had. In short, it took too long for new nodes to come up in their Kubernetes cluster and too long for old nodes to be removed.

Escalator was built to solve this, and for their use at least it seems to work much better as it preemptively scales up and marks empty nodes as tainted quickly. As they use an AWS stack that is what this is designed for, so if you run into similar issues with the standard autoscaler it might be worth looking into it.


  1. There are still a number of requirement around it though. Not in the least that the subnet you build in needs to be connected to the internet through a NAT Gateway. [return]
  2. In case you suddenly wonder why I might care about this, I do work with clients who use Windows applications and this would make my life easier. [return]
  3. Host in Sumerian lingo, which is a terminology that sounds familiar[return]
  4. Admittedly at this point a very low bar. [return]
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