Week 23, 2018 - Amazon Neptune; ALB Built-in Authentication; Helm in CNCF

Amazon released their graph database Neptune as well as a way to authenticate using ALBs while the CNCF decided to adopt Helm.

Amazon Neptune

Last week I got to talk about Sumerian’s release, and today is Neptune’s turn. Neptune is the new graph database from AWS. A graph database is a database optimised for data that can be best represented in graphs1. This means that is especially suited for social networks, but obviously not limited to it.

That said if your data is suited to this kind of storage you’re likely already aware of graph databases and their uses. Neptune supports two graph models, Property Graph and RDF. As I’m not an expert in this area and don’t want to pretend that I am, I’ll leave it at that.

ALB Built-in Authentication

AWS Application Load Balancers, support the ability to provide an authentication interface. The authentication part for this can work using Cognito, a social provider such as Google, or other OpenID providers. While this doesn’t try to replace all of your identity needs, it does make some things a little easier in many cases. Even if it’s just to deal with something straightforward like putting authentication on your non-prod environments2.

Even for more involved situations, this can be a good way to handle the authentication. While the login page served by AWS might not match the rest of your site, it does take away a lot of the complexity involved in setting up the authentication. Especially if your application serves different endpoints from different containers, it is useful if the authentication is all handled in a single place. There are of course plenty of other ways to do so, but having it managed for you is easy.

Helm Adopted by CNCF

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation has decided to adopt Helm as an incubation-level project. Helm was originally started by Deis, before it got acquired by Microsoft, and is by now probably the most popular way to manage applications on a Kubernetes cluster.

Helm charts are a method to define what you want to run in your cluster and make it a lot easier to do so. There are many helm charts readily available for easy installation, and the popularity of this approach helped in getting the CNCF to adopt the project. As Helm is a really useful tool, this will hopefully help in making it even more so.


  1. Yes, pretty obvious from the name. [return]
  2. Although you should probably only open those to your own network. [return]
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