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Get value from every customer touchpoint using Amazon Connect as a data gathering mechanism

The recent pandemic and the impossibility of meeting customers in person has made two-way contact centers an effective tool for sales representatives. Amazon Connect is the ideal service to manage these contacts, and its adoption gives you the opportunity to gather new business insights. Thanks to Amazon Connect, you can program outbound calls to reach…

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[]The recent pandemic and the impossibility of meeting customers in person has made two-way contact centers an effective tool for sales representatives. Amazon Connect is the ideal service to manage these contacts, and its adoption gives you the opportunity to gather new business insights. Thanks to Amazon Connect, you can program outbound calls to reach to customers and build a video contact center to enhance the customer experience.

[]Amazon Connect provides a unique opportunity for gathering data from these engagements and customer touchpoints that helps improve your business. With Amazon Connect, you can empower sales management with call transcriptions, sentiment analysis, recommendation systems, chatbots, integration with customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and call note search, to name a few.

[]In this post, we walk you through the process of configuring an Amazon Connect two-way contact center to enable call recording and transcription. We describe three use cases that use this data to provide value: proprietary sentiment analysis, intelligent call note search, and recommendation systems. We also demonstrate how to build your own applications and customize these use cases.

[]Call note storage and transcription, sentiment analysis, and text search are available out of the box from Connect Lens for Amazon Connect. For more information, see Real-time customer insights using machine learning with Contact Lens for Amazon Connect.

Solution overview

[]The following diagram illustrates the solution architecture.

[]

[]The flow of this architecture is as follows:

  1. A customer calls your call center in the cloud.
  2. Amazon Connect connects the customer to an agent. As an alternative, the agent can start an outbound call to reach a customer.
  3. When the call is complete, Contact Lens starts transcribing the recorded call and runs sentiment analysis on the transcripts. It stores all artifacts in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) buckets.
  4. As new documents are saved to the corresponding Amazon S3 locations, two AWS Lambda functions, one for chat the other for voice contacts, extract data of interest and write the wrangled data back to Amazon S3.
  5. On some of the data the Lambda functions stored, Amazon Kendra regularly updates a search index.
  6. A similar scheduling concept is applied using an AWS Glue crawler.
  7. The crawler updates our AWS Glue Data Catalog, which makes it easy to search our terms, for example, with Amazon Athena.

[]Your Amazon Kendra data source is scheduled to update itself every day at 10 AM. This way, your Amazon Kendra index stays up to date. If you created the solution components after 10 AM, you can either wait until the next automatic sync, or trigger the synchronization of your data sources in your index via the Amazon Kendra console. For more information, see Using an Amazon S3 data source.

Deploy the data gathering resources

[]As a first step, we want to deploy all resources, except for the Amazon Connect instance, using an AWS CloudFormation template. You can do this by choosing Launch Stack:

[]

[]Define the name of your new S3 bucket and project.

[]

[]You’re now ready to set up Amazon Connect and the associated contact flow.

Create an Amazon Connect instance

[]The first step is to create an Amazon Connect instance. When you’re asked to provide a data storage location, make sure you use the S3 bucket you defined and created in your CloudFormation template.

[]For the rest of the setup, we use the default values, but don’t forget to create an administrator login.

[]After the instance is created, which can take a minute or two, we can log in to the Amazon Connect instance using the admin account created previously. We’re now ready to create our contact flow, claim a number, and attach the flow to that number.

Set up the contact flow

[]Before we set up our contact flow, we need to enable Contact Lens.

  1. On the Amazon Connect console, choose Analytics tools in the navigation pane.
  2. Select Enable Contact Lens.
  3. Choose Save.

[]

[]For this post, we have a predefined contact flow template that you can import.

  1. Import the file contact-flow/contact-lens-transfer-flow, available in the GitHub repository.

[]For instructions on importing contact flows, see Import/Export contact flows.

[]The imported contact flow should look similar to the following.

[]

Understanding the contact flow

[]The contact flow does the following:

[]When you enable Contact Lens in your contact flow, specify call recordings for both customer and agent. We also enable Contact Lens for speech analysis for English (US) and post-call analytics.

Claim your phone number

[]Claiming a number is just a few clicks away. For instructions, see Step 3: Claim a phone number. Make sure to choose and attach the previously imported contact flow while claiming the number. If no numbers are available in the country of your choice, you can raise a support ticket.

[]After you claim the phone number, the agent can start receiving customer calls and initiating outbound calls. The calls can be recorded, transcribed, and stored in Amazon S3. You can then use this data to provide additional value to your business, as shown in the next section.

Use cases

[]In this section, we describe how to use call and chat data collected by Amazon Connect in three use cases: proprietary sentiment analysis, intelligent chat and call notes search via Amazon Kendra, and recommendation systems from call notes. Example notebooks can be found here. Amazon Connect is the data gathering mechanism for all these use cases and can provide security and privacy features to meet your requirements, such as sensitive data redaction.

[]You can use additional AWS services with Amazon Connect to provide additional value. You can also integrate these use cases into your CRM (such as Salesforce or Zendesk) by using Amazon Connect integration features. For more information, see Set up applications for task creation.

Proprietary sentiment analysis

[]Contact Lens is empowered with sentiment analysis of recorded calls. This means you can review your contacts directly on the Amazon Connect console and learn how each call went.

[]

[]You might have already a proprietary sentiment analysis model fine-tuned for your customers. With our solution, we collect all touch points that are also used by Contact Lens. This enables you to decide whether to use Contact Lens for customer analysis or to adopt Amazon Connect as a data gathering mechanism and build a data ingestion and inference pipeline to use your proprietary sentiment analysis model in AWS using Amazon SageMaker.

[]To get started, we provide a full example in a Jupyter notebook that shows you how to train and deploy your proprietary model as a SageMaker endpoint.

[]In the example, we process the text from customer calls and use a text classification algorithm (Object2Vect) to perform sentiment analysis. We assume that the sentiment analysis model is already available.

[]When training a custom classification algorithm, you need to assign labels to the input text. In our example, we use random labels to train the model. A fully operational solution has to include a custom label-gathering mechanism (for example, using Amazon SageMaker Ground Truth), but those details are beyond the scope of this post. The Object2Vect algorithm doesn’t accept text as input directly, therefore we also provide an example preprocessing notebook where raw text inputs are converted to numerical inputs suitable for processing by Object2Vect.

[]At the end of the training job, the trained model is available in the account, and you can deploy it, for example, as a SageMaker endpoint. For more information, see Deploy a Model in Amazon SageMaker. When the endpoint is active, you can use Lambda to send data and receive predictions. We also need to convert the text to the numerical input Object2Vect requires. In this case, we implemented a custom serializer to attach to the endpoint. The following is an example code snippet for Lambda:

from sagemaker.serializers import SimpleBaseSerializer import sagemaker.predictor import pickle class O2VTextSerializer(SimpleBaseSerializer): # a dictionary { “word1”: integer1, “word2”, integer2} def load_vocab_to_tokens(self, file_name): self.vocab_to_tokens = pickle.load(open(file_name,’rb’)) # a callable: string -> list of strings def set_tokenizer(self, tokenizer): self.tokenizer = tokenizer def sentence_to_tokens(self,sentence): “””converts sentences to tokens””” words = self.tokenizer(sentence) return [ self.vocab_to_tokens[w] for w in words if w in self.vocab_to_tokens] def serialize(self, data): js = {‘instances’: []} for row in data[‘instances’]: new_row = row if type(new_row[‘in0’]) == str: new_row[‘in0’] = self.sentence_to_tokens(row[‘in0’]) if type(new_row[‘in1’]) == str: new_row[‘in0’] = self.sentence_to_tokens(row[‘in0’]) js[‘instances’].append(new_row) return json.dumps(js) serializer = O2VTextSerializer(content_type=’application/json’) # map from words to integers, created at training time serializer.load_vocab_to_tokens(‘./meta/vocab_to_token_dict.p’) # must be the same tokenizer used for training serializer.set_tokenizer(word_tokenize) def lambda_handler(event, context): text = event[‘text’] # this tests if the text belongs to category 0 # loop on all categories to get the full classification result label_to_test = 0 predictor = sagemaker.predictor.Predictor( endpoint_name=endpoint_name, serializer=serializer, deserializer=sagemaker.deserializers.JSONDeserializer()) test_payload = { ‘instances’: [ { ‘in0’: text, ‘in1’: [label_to_test] } ] } response = predictor.predict(test_payload)

Intelligent chat and call notes search via Amazon Kendra

[]Amazon Connect transcribed calls and chat can are searchable by speaker, keywords, sentiment score, and non-talk time. For more information, see Search conversations analyzed by Contact Lens. For an intelligent search, you can use Amazon Kendra, an intelligent search service powered by machine learning (ML). Amazon Kendra reimagines enterprise search so you can easily find the content you’re looking for.

[]With Amazon Kendra, you can stop searching through troves of unstructured data and discover the right answers to questions. Amazon Kendra is a fully managed service, so there are no servers to provision, and no ML models to build, train, or deploy. Furthermore, Amazon Kendra can be complemented by Amazon Translate to enable multi-language search support.

[]Amazon Kendra is provisioned automatically with the CloudFormation template provided in this post, and you can use it to implement intelligent search of your calls.

Recommendation systems from call notes

[]Sales representatives use call notes to capture meeting feedback and actions from an engagement with each customer. The call notes can either be recorded or transcribed, after which they’re saved in CRM solutions. Although the recorded call notes may include insights like objectives for the next customer interaction, follow-up plan, and so on, there is limited AI and ML involved (mainly algorithms to detect personal information), so the sales representatives have to go back to the CRM solution every time they want revisit the call notes to follow up on the conversation or the action points from the meeting. This is essential for creating continuous conversation with the customers, bridged across multiple engagements.

[]To further improve operational excellence, you can quickly build and integrate recommendation systems to analyze the call notes in real time and provide instant feedback and alerts for the sales representatives on the suggested next best action, which a sales representative can choose to dismiss or accept.

[]This solution helps strengthen relationships using AI and ML by providing a platform that enables sales representatives to have more meaningful conversations with customers beyond the product itself, for example to discuss scientific trends, new publications, and personalized recommendations based on specific customer needs and areas of interest.

[]You can further improve the solution with advanced AI and ML by enhancing the existing capabilities to provide insights to sales representatives on how to optimize time and customer engagement based on prior customer interactions and value-adding activities.

[]You can implement this using an Object2Vect model to classify the call notes, similar to what we demonstrated in the proprietary sentiment analysis use case. The categories aren’t the different sentiments, but the next best action to recommend after a given text. With this in mind, you can reuse the example notebooks and code presented earlier for this use case.

[]After the model is trained, you can use it as a first step in a second model, which also takes into account non-textual features as the ones coming from CRM systems (customer account data, customer segment, customer orders, and so on). The following diagram illustrates this architecture.

[]

Clean up

[]To save on costs, make sure you delete all the resources you used when you don’t need them anymore:

  • SageMaker endpoints (if they were deployed)
  • CloudFormation stack
  • Amazon Connect instance

Conclusion

[]In this post, we demonstrated how to use Amazon Connect as an omnichannel data gathering mechanism to collect data across customer engagements such as chat and call notes, transcriptions, and recordings. We showed how to set up Amazon Connect to collect data from outbound calls. This important feature can make Amazon Connect the go-to service for sales management. Finally, we provided architectures and templates for three use cases that use the data collected by Amazon Connect: proprietary sentiment analysis, intelligent search, and recommendation systems. Try it out today and let us know what you think in the comments!

About the Authors

[]Michael Wallner is a Global Data Scientist with AWS Professional Services and is passionate about enabling customers on their AI/ML journey in the cloud to become AWSome. Besides having a deep interest in Amazon Connect, he likes sports and enjoys cooking

[]Andrea Di Simone is a Data Scientist in the Professional Services team based in Munich, Germany. He helps customers to develop their AI/ML products and workflows, leveraging AWS tools. He enjoys reading, classical music and hiking.

[]Daniele Angelosante is a Senior Engagement Manager with AWS Professional Services. He is passionate about AI/ML projects and products. In his free time he likes coffee, sport, soccer, and baking.



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Secure Amazon SageMaker Studio presigned URLs Part 2: Private API with JWT authentication

In part 1 of this series, we demonstrated how to resolve an Amazon SageMaker Studio presigned URL from a corporate network using Amazon private VPC endpoints without traversing the internet. In this post, we will continue to build on top of the previous solution to demonstrate how to build a private API Gateway via Amazon API…

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In part 1 of this series, we demonstrated how to resolve an Amazon SageMaker Studio presigned URL from a corporate network using Amazon private VPC endpoints without traversing the internet. In this post, we will continue to build on top of the previous solution to demonstrate how to build a private API Gateway via Amazon API Gateway as a proxy interface to generate and access Amazon SageMaker presigned URLs. Furthermore, we add an additional guardrail to ensure presigned URLs are only generated and accessed for the authenticated end-user within the corporate network.

Solution overview

The following diagram illustrates the architecture of the solution.

The process includes the following steps:

  1. In the Amazon Cognito user pool, first set up a user with the name matching their Studio user profile and register Studio as the app client in the user pool.
  2. The user federates from their corporate identity provider (IdP) and authenticates with the Amazon Cognito user pool for accessing Studio.
  3. Amazon Cognito returns a token to the user authorizing access to the Studio application.
  4. The user invokes createStudioPresignedUrl API on API Gateway along with a token in the header.
  5. API Gateway invokes a custom AWS Lambda authorizer and validates the token.
  6. When the token is valid, Amazon Cognito returns an access grant policy with studio user profile id to API Gateway.
  7. API Gateway invokes the createStudioPresignedUrl Lambda function for creating the studio presigned url.
  8. The createStudioPresignedUrl function creates a presigned URL using the SageMaker API VPC endpoint and returns to caller.
  9. User accesses the presigned URL from their corporate network that resolves over the Studio VPC endpoint.
  10. The function’s AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) policy makes sure that the presigned URL creation and access are performed via VPC endpoints.

The following sections walk you through solution deployment, configuration, and validation for the API Gateway private API for creating and resolving a Studio presigned URL from a corporate network using VPC endpoints.

  1. Deploy the solution
  2. Configure the Amazon Cognito user
  3. Authenticating the private API for the presigned URL using a JSON Web Token
  4. Configure the corporate DNS server for accessing the private API
  5. Test the API Gateway private API for a presigned URL from the corporate network
  6. Pre-Signed URL Lambda Auth Policy
  7. Cleanup

Deploy the solution

You can deploy the solution through either the AWS Management Console or the AWS Serverless Application Model (AWS SAM).

To deploy the solution via the console, launch the following AWS CloudFormation template in your account by choosing Launch Stack. It takes approximately 10 minutes for the CloudFormation stack to complete.

To deploy the solution using AWS SAM, you can find the latest code in the aws-samples GitHub repository, where you can also contribute to the sample code. The following commands show how to deploy the solution using the AWS SAM CLI. If not currently installed, install the AWS SAM CLI.

  1. Clone the repository at https://github.com/aws-samples/secure-sagemaker-studio-presigned-url.
  2. After you clone the repo, navigate to the source and run the following code:

Configure the Amazon Cognito user

To configure your Amazon Cognito user, complete the following steps:

  1. Create an Amazon Cognito user with the same name as a SageMaker user profile: aws cognito-idp admin-create-user –user-pool-id –username
  2. Set the user password: aws cognito-idp admin-set-user-password –user-pool-id –username –password –permanent
  3. Get an access token: aws cognito-idp initiate-auth –auth-flow USER_PASSWORD_AUTH –client-id –auth-parameters USERNAME=,PASSWORD=

Authenticating the private API for the presigned URL using a JSON Web Token

When you deployed a private API for creating a SageMaker presigned URL, you added a guardrail to restrict access to access the presigned URL by anyone outside the corporate network and VPC endpoint. However, without implementing another control to the private API within the corporate network, any internal user within the corporate network would be able to pass unauthenticated parameters for the SageMaker user profile and access any SageMaker app.

To mitigate this issue, we propose passing a JSON Web Token (JWT) for the authenticated caller to the API Gateway and validating that token with a JWT authorizer. There are multiple options for implementing an authorizer for the private API Gateway, using either a custom Lambda authorizer or Amazon Cognito.

With a custom Lambda authorizer, you can embed a SageMaker user profile name in the returned policy. This prevents any users within the corporate network from being able to send any SageMaker user profile name for creating a presigned URL that they’re not authorized to create. We use Amazon Cognito to generate our tokens and a custom Lambda authorizer to validate and return the appropriate policy. For more information, refer to Building fine-grained authorization using Amazon Cognito, API Gateway, and IAM. The Lambda authorizer uses the Amazon Cognito user name as the user profile name.

If you’re unable to use Amazon Cognito, you can develop a custom application to authenticate and pass end-user tokens to the Lambda authorizer. For more information, refer to Use API Gateway Lambda authorizers.

Configure the corporate DNS server for accessing the private API

To configure your corporate DNS server, complete the following steps:

  1. On the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) console, choose your on-premises DNSA EC2 instance and connect via Systems Manager Session Manager.
  2. Add a zone record in the /etc/named.conf file for resolving to the API Gateway’s DNS name via your Amazon Route 53 inbound resolver, as shown in the following code: zone “zxgua515ef.execute-api..amazonaws.com” { type forward; forward only; forwarders { 10.16.43.122; 10.16.102.163; }; };
  3. Restart the named service using the following command: sudo service named restart

Validate requesting a presigned URL from the API Gateway private API for authorized users

In a real-world scenario, you would implement a front-end interface that would pass the appropriate Authorization headers for authenticated and authorized resources using either a custom solution or leverage AWS Amplify. For brevity of this blog post, the following steps leverages Postman to quickly validate the solution we deployed actually restricts requesting the presigned URL for an internal user, unless authorized to do so.

To validate the solution with Postman, complete the following steps:

  1. Install Postman on the WINAPP EC2 instance. See instructions here
  2. Open Postman and add the access token to your Authorization header: Authorization: Bearer
  3. Modify the API Gateway URL to access it from your internal EC2 instance:
    1. Add the VPC endpoint into your API Gateway URL: https://.execute-api..amazonaws.com/dev/EMPLOYEE_ID
    2. Add the Host header with a value of your API Gateway URL: .execute-api..amazonaws.com
    3. First, change the EMPLOYEE_ID to your Amazon Cognito user and SageMaker user profile name. Make sure you receive an authorized presigned URL.
    4. Then change the EMPLOYEE_ID to a user that is not yours and make sure you receive an access failure.
  4. On the Amazon EC2 console, choose your on-premises WINAPP instance and connect via your RDP client.
  5. Open a Chrome browser and navigate to your authorized presigned URL to launch Studio.

Studio is launched over VPC endpoint with remote address as the Studio VPC endpoint IP.

If the presigned URL is accessed outside of the corporate network, the resolution fails because the IAM policy condition for the presigned URL enforces creation and access from a VPC endpoint.

Pre-Signed URL Lambda Auth Policy

Above solution created the following Auth Policy for the Lambda that generated Pre-Signed URL for accessing SageMaker Studio.

{ “Version”: “2012-10-17”, “Statement”: [ { “Condition”: { “IpAddress”: { “aws:VpcSourceIp”: “10.16.0.0/16” } }, “Action”: “sagemaker:CreatePresignedDomainUrl”, “Resource”: “arn:aws:sagemaker:::user-profile/*/*”, “Effect”: “Allow” }, { “Condition”: { “IpAddress”: { “aws:SourceIp”: “192.168.10.0/24” } }, “Action”: “sagemaker:CreatePresignedDomainUrl”, “Resource”: “arn:aws:sagemaker:::user-profile/*/*”, “Effect”: “Allow” }, { “Condition”: { “StringEquals”: { “aws:sourceVpce”: [ “vpce-sm-api-xx”, “vpce-sm-api-yy” ] } }, “Action”: “sagemaker:CreatePresignedDomainUrl”, “Resource”: “arn:aws:sagemaker:::user-profile/*/*”, “Effect”: “Allow” } ] }

The above policy enforces Studio pre-signed URL is both generated and accessed via one of these three entrypoints:

  1. aws:VpcSourceIp as your AWS VPC CIDR
  2. aws:SourceIp as your corporate network CIDR
  3. aws:sourceVpce as your SageMaker API VPC endpoints

Cleanup

To avoid incurring ongoing charges, delete the CloudFormation stacks you created. Alternatively, if you deployed the solution using SAM, you need to authenticate to the AWS account the solution was deployed and run sam delete.

Conclusion

In this post, we demonstrated how to access Studio using a private API Gateway from a corporate network using Amazon private VPC endpoints, preventing access to presigned URLs outside the corporate network, and securing the API Gateway with a JWT authorizer using Amazon Cognito and custom Lambda authorizers.

Try out with this solution and experiment integrating this with your corporate portal, and leave your feedback in the comments!

About the Authors

Ram Vittal is a machine learning solutions architect at AWS. He has over 20+ years of experience architecting and building distributed, hybrid and cloud applications. He is passionate about building secure and scalable AI/ML and Big Data solutions to help enterprise customers with their cloud adoption and optimization journey to improve their business outcomes. In his spare time, he enjoys tennis, photography, and action movies.

Jonathan Nguyen is a Shared Delivery Team Senior Security Consultant at AWS. His background is in AWS Security with a focus on Threat Detection and Incident Response. Today, he helps enterprise customers develop a comprehensive AWS Security strategy, deploy security solutions at scale, and train customers on AWS Security best practices.

Chris Childers is a Cloud Infrastructure Architect in Professional Services at AWS. He works with AWS customers to design and automate their cloud infrastructure and improve their adoption of DevOps culture and processes.



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Secure Amazon SageMaker Studio presigned URLs Part 1: Foundational infrastructure

You can access Amazon SageMaker Studio notebooks from the Amazon SageMaker console via AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) authenticated federation from your identity provider (IdP), such as Okta. When a Studio user opens the notebook link, Studio validates the federated user’s IAM policy to authorize access, and generates and resolves the presigned URL for…

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You can access Amazon SageMaker Studio notebooks from the Amazon SageMaker console via AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) authenticated federation from your identity provider (IdP), such as Okta. When a Studio user opens the notebook link, Studio validates the federated user’s IAM policy to authorize access, and generates and resolves the presigned URL for the user. Because the SageMaker console runs on an internet domain, this generated presigned URL is visible in the browser session. This presents an undesired threat vector for exfiltration and gaining access to customer data when proper access controls are not enforced.

Studio supports a few methods for enforcing access controls against presigned URL data exfiltration:

  • Client IP validation using the IAM policy condition aws:sourceIp
  • Client VPC validation using the IAM condition aws:sourceVpc
  • Client VPC endpoint validation using the IAM policy condition aws:sourceVpce

When you access Studio notebooks from the SageMaker console, the only available option is to use client IP validation with the IAM policy condition aws:sourceIp. However, you can use browser traffic routing products such as Zscaler to ensure scale and compliance for your workforce internet access. These traffic routing products generate their own source IP, whose IP range is not controlled by the enterprise customer. This makes it impossible for these enterprise customers to use the aws:sourceIp condition.

To use client VPC endpoint validation using the IAM policy condition aws:sourceVpce, the creation of a presigned URL needs to originate in the same customer VPC where Studio is deployed, and resolution of the presigned URL needs to happen via a Studio VPC endpoint on the customer VPC. This resolution of the presigned URL during access time for corporate network users can be accomplished using DNS forwarding rules (both in Zscaler and corporate DNS) and then into the customer VPC endpoint using an AWS Route 53 inbound resolver.

In this part, we discuss the overarching architecture for securing studio pre-signed url and demonstrate how to set up the foundational infrastructure to create and launch a Studio presigned URL through your VPC endpoint over a private network without traversing the internet. This serves as the foundational layer for preventing data exfiltration by external bad actors gaining access to Studio pre-signed URL and unauthorized or spoofed corporate user access within a corporate environment.

Solution overview

The following diagram illustrates over-arching solution architecture.

The process includes the following steps:

  1. A corporate user authenticates via their IdP, connects to their corporate portal, and opens the Studio link from the corporate portal.
  2. The corporate portal application makes a private API call using an API Gateway VPC endpoint to create a presigned URL.
  3. The API Gateway VPC endpoint “create presigned URL” call is forwarded to the Route 53 inbound resolver on the customer VPC as configured in the corporate DNS.
  4. The VPC DNS resolver resolves it to the API Gateway VPC endpoint IP. Optionally, it looks up a private hosted zone record if it exists.
  5. The API Gateway VPC endpoint routes the request via the Amazon private network to the “create presigned URL API” running in the API Gateway service account.
  6. API Gateway invokes the create-pre-signedURL private API and proxies the request to the create-pre-signedURL Lambda function.
  7. The create-pre-signedURL Lambda call is invoked via the Lambda VPC endpoint.
  8. The create-pre-signedURL function runs in the service account, retrieves authenticated user context (user ID, Region, and so on), looks up a mapping table to identify the SageMaker domain and user profile identifier, makes a sagemaker createpre-signedDomainURL API call, and generates a presigned URL. The Lambda service role has the source VPC endpoint conditions defined for the SageMaker API and Studio.
  9. The generated presigned URL is resolved over the Studio VPC endpoint.
  10. Studio validates that the presigned URL is being accessed via the customer’s VPC endpoint defined in the policy, and returns the result.
  11. The Studio notebook is returned to the user’s browser session over the corporate network without traversing the internet.

The following sections walk you through how to implement this architecture to resolve Studio presigned URLs from a corporate network using VPC endpoints. We demonstrate a complete implementation by showing the following steps:

  1. Set up the foundational architecture.
  2. Configure the corporate app server to access a SageMaker presigned URL via a VPC endpoint.
  3. Set up and launch Studio from the corporate network.

Set up the foundational architecture

In the post Access an Amazon SageMaker Studio notebook from a corporate network, we demonstrated how to resolve a presigned URL domain name for a Studio notebook from a corporate network without traversing the internet. You can follow the instructions in that post to set up the foundational architecture, and then return to this post and proceed to the next step.

Configure the corporate app server to access a SageMaker presigned URL via a VPC endpoint

To enable accessing Studio from your internet browser, we set up an on-premises app server on Windows Server on the on-premises VPC public subnet. However, the DNS queries for accessing Studio are routed through the corporate (private) network. Complete the following steps to configure routing Studio traffic through the corporate network:

  1. Connect to your on-premises Windows app server.

  2. Choose Get Password then browse and upload your private key to decrypt your password.
  3. Use an RDP client and connect to the Windows Server using your credentials.
    Resolving Studio DNS from the Windows Server command prompt results in using public DNS servers, as shown in the following screenshot.
    Now we update Windows Server to use the on-premises DNS server that we set up earlier.
  4. Navigate to Control Panel, Network and Internet, and choose Network Connections.
  5. Right-click Ethernet and choose the Properties tab.
  6. Update Windows Server to use the on-premises DNS server.
  7. Now you update your preferred DNS server with your DNS server IP.
  8. Navigate to VPC and Route Tables and choose your STUDIO-ONPREM-PUBLIC-RT route table.
  9. Add a route to 10.16.0.0/16 with the target as the peering connection that we created during the foundational architecture setup.

Set up and launch Studio from your corporate network

To set up and launch Studio, complete the following steps:

  1. Download Chrome and launch the browser on this Windows instance.
    You may need to turn off Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration to allow file downloads and then enable file downloads.
  2. In your local device Chrome browser, navigate to the SageMaker console and open the Chrome developer tools Network tab.
  3. Launch the Studio app and observe the Network tab for the authtokenparameter value, which includes the generated presigned URL along with the remote server address that the URL is routed to for resolution.In this example, the remote address 100.21.12.108 is one of the public DNS server addresses to resolve the SageMaker DNS domain name d-h4cy01pxticj.studio.us-west-2.sagemaker.aws.
  4. Repeat these steps from the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Windows instance that you configured as part of the foundational architecture.

We can observe that the remote address is not the public DNS IP, instead it’s the Studio VPC endpoint 10.16.42.74.

Conclusion

In this post, we demonstrated how to resolve a Studio presigned URL from a corporate network using Amazon private VPC endpoints without exposing the presigned URL resolution to the internet. This further secures your enterprise security posture for accessing Studio from a corporate network for building highly secure machine learning workloads on SageMaker. In part 2 of this series, we further extend this solution to demonstrate how to build a private API for accessing Studio with aws:sourceVPCE IAM policy validation and token authentication. Try out this solution and leave your feedback in the comments!

About the Authors

Ram Vittal is a machine learning solutions architect at AWS. He has over 20+ years of experience architecting and building distributed, hybrid and cloud applications. He is passionate about building secure and scalable AI/ML and Big Data solutions to help enterprise customers with their cloud adoption and optimization journey to improve their business outcomes. In his spare time, he enjoys tennis and photography.

Neelam Koshiya is an enterprise solution architect at AWS. Her current focus is to help enterprise customers with their cloud adoption journey for strategic business outcomes. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and being outdoors.



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Use a custom image to bring your own development environment to RStudio on Amazon SageMaker

RStudio on Amazon SageMaker is the industry’s first fully managed RStudio Workbench in cloud. You can quickly launch the familiar RStudio integrated development environment (IDE), and dial up and down the underlying compute resources without interrupting your work, making it easy to build machine learning (ML) and analytics solutions in R at scale. RStudio on…

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RStudio on Amazon SageMaker is the industry’s first fully managed RStudio Workbench in cloud. You can quickly launch the familiar RStudio integrated development environment (IDE), and dial up and down the underlying compute resources without interrupting your work, making it easy to build machine learning (ML) and analytics solutions in R at scale. RStudio on SageMaker already comes with a built-in image preconfigured with R programming and data science tools; however, you often need to customize your IDE environment. Starting today, you can bring your own custom image with packages and tools of your choice, and make them available to all the users of RStudio on SageMaker in a few clicks.

Bringing your own custom image has several benefits. You can standardize and simplify the getting started experience for data scientists and developers by providing a starter image, preconfigure the drivers required for connecting to data stores, or pre-install specialized data science software for your business domain. Furthermore, organizations that have previously hosted their own RStudio Workbench may have existing containerized environments that they want to continue to use in RStudio on SageMaker.

In this post, we share step-by-step instructions to create a custom image and bring it to RStudio on SageMaker using the AWS Management Console or AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI). You can get your first custom IDE environment up and running in few simple steps. For more information on the content discussed in this post, refer to Bring your own RStudio image.

Solution overview

When a data scientist starts a new session in RStudio on SageMaker, a new on-demand ML compute instance is provisioned and a container image that defines the runtime environment (operating system, libraries, R versions, and so on) is run on the ML instance. You can provide your data scientists multiple choices for the runtime environment by creating custom container images and making them available on the RStudio Workbench launcher, as shown in the following screenshot.

The following diagram describes the process to bring your custom image. First you build a custom container image from a Dockerfile and push it to a repository in Amazon Elastic Container Registry (Amazon ECR). Next, you create a SageMaker image that points to the container image in Amazon ECR, and attach that image to your SageMaker domain. This makes the custom image available for launching a new session in RStudio.

Prerequisites

To implement this solution, you must have the following prerequisites:

We provide more details on each in this section.

RStudio on SageMaker domain

If you have an existing SageMaker domain with RStudio enabled prior to April 7, 2022, you must delete and recreate the RStudioServerPro app under the user profile name domain-shared to get the latest updates for bring your own custom image capability. The AWS CLI commands are as follows. Note that this action interrupts RStudio users on SageMaker.

aws sagemaker delete-app –domain-id –app-type RStudioServerPro –app-name default –user-profile-name domain-shared aws sagemaker create-app –domain-id –app-type RStudioServerPro –app-name default –user-profile-name domain-shared

If this is your first time using RStudio on SageMaker, follow the step-by-step setup process described in Get started with RStudio on Amazon SageMaker, or run the following AWS CloudFormation template to set up your first RStudio on SageMaker domain. If you already have a working RStudio on SageMaker domain, you can skip this step.

The following RStudio on SageMaker CloudFormation template requires an RStudio license approved through AWS License Manager. For more about licensing, refer to RStudio license. Also note that only one SageMaker domain is permitted per AWS Region, so you’ll need to use an AWS account and Region that doesn’t have an existing domain.

  1. Choose Launch Stack.
    Launch stack button
    The link takes you to the us-east-1 Region, but you can change to your preferred Region.
  2. In the Specify template section, choose Next.
  3. In the Specify stack details section, for Stack name, enter a name.
  4. For Parameters, enter a SageMaker user profile name.
  5. Choose Next.
  6. In the Configure stack options section, choose Next.
  7. In the Review section, select I acknowledge that AWS CloudFormation might create IAM resources and choose Next.
  8. When the stack status changes to CREATE_COMPLETE, go to the Control Panel on the SageMaker console to find the domain and the new user.

IAM policies to interact with Amazon ECR

To interact with your private Amazon ECR repositories, you need the following IAM permissions in the IAM user or role you’ll use to build and push Docker images:

{ “Version”:”2012-10-17″, “Statement”:[ { “Sid”: “VisualEditor0”, “Effect”:”Allow”, “Action”:[ “ecr:CreateRepository”, “ecr:BatchGetImage”, “ecr:CompleteLayerUpload”, “ecr:DescribeImages”, “ecr:DescribeRepositories”, “ecr:UploadLayerPart”, “ecr:ListImages”, “ecr:InitiateLayerUpload”, “ecr:BatchCheckLayerAvailability”, “ecr:PutImage” ], “Resource”: “*” } ] }

To initially build from a public Amazon ECR image as shown in this post, you need to attach the AWS-managed AmazonElasticContainerRegistryPublicReadOnly policy to your IAM user or role as well.

To build a Docker container image, you can use either a local Docker client or the SageMaker Docker Build CLI tool from a terminal within RStudio on SageMaker. For the latter, follow the prerequisites in Using the Amazon SageMaker Studio Image Build CLI to build container images from your Studio notebooks to set up the IAM permissions and CLI tool.

AWS CLI versions

There are minimum version requirements for the AWS CLI tool to run the commands mentioned in this post. Make sure to upgrade AWS CLI on your terminal of choice:

  • AWS CLI v1 >= 1.23.6
  • AWS CLI v2 >= 2.6.2

Prepare a Dockerfile

You can customize your runtime environment in RStudio in a Dockerfile. Because the customization depends on your use case and requirements, we show you the essentials and the most common customizations in this example. You can download the full sample Dockerfile.

Install RStudio Workbench session components

The most important software to install in your custom container image is RStudio Workbench. We download from the public S3 bucket hosted by RStudio PBC. There are many version releases and OS distributions for use. The version of the installation needs to be compatible with the RStudio Workbench version used in RStudio on SageMaker, which is 1.4.1717-3 at the time of writing. The OS (argument OS in the following snippet) needs to match the base OS used in the container image. In our sample Dockerfile, the base image we use is Amazon Linux 2 from an AWS-managed public Amazon ECR repository. The compatible RStudio Workbench OS is centos7.

FROM public.ecr.aws/amazonlinux/amazonlinux … ARG RSW_VERSION=1.4.1717-3 ARG RSW_NAME=rstudio-workbench-rhel ARG OS=centos7 ARG RSW_DOWNLOAD_URL=https://s3.amazonaws.com/rstudio-ide-build/server/${OS}/x86_64 RUN RSW_VERSION_URL=`echo -n “${RSW_VERSION}” | sed ‘s/+/-/g’` && curl -o rstudio-workbench.rpm ${RSW_DOWNLOAD_URL}/${RSW_NAME}-${RSW_VERSION_URL}-x86_64.rpm && yum install -y rstudio-workbench.rpm

You can find all the OS release options with the following command:

aws s3 ls s3://rstudio-ide-build/server/

Install R (and versions of R)

The runtime for your custom RStudio container image needs at least one version of R. We can first install a version of R and make it the default R by creating soft links to /usr/local/bin/:

# Install main R version ARG R_VERSION=4.1.3 RUN curl -O https://cdn.rstudio.com/r/centos-7/pkgs/R-${R_VERSION}-1-1.x86_64.rpm && yum install -y R-${R_VERSION}-1-1.x86_64.rpm && yum clean all && rm -rf R-${R_VERSION}-1-1.x86_64.rpm RUN ln -s /opt/R/${R_VERSION}/bin/R /usr/local/bin/R && ln -s /opt/R/${R_VERSION}/bin/Rscript /usr/local/bin/Rscript

Data scientists often need multiple versions of R so that they can easily switch between projects and code base. RStudio on SageMaker supports easy switching between R versions, as shown in the following screenshot.

RStudio on SageMaker automatically scans and discovers versions of R in the following directories:

/usr/lib/R /usr/lib64/R /usr/local/lib/R /usr/local/lib64/R /opt/local/lib/R /opt/local/lib64/R /opt/R/* /opt/local/R/*

We can install more versions in the container image, as shown in the following snippet. They will be installed in /opt/R/.

RUN curl -O https://cdn.rstudio.com/r/centos-7/pkgs/R-4.0.5-1-1.x86_64.rpm && yum install -y R-4.0.5-1-1.x86_64.rpm && yum clean all && rm -rf R-4.0.5-1-1.x86_64.rpm RUN curl -O https://cdn.rstudio.com/r/centos-7/pkgs/R-3.6.3-1-1.x86_64.rpm && yum install -y R-3.6.3-1-1.x86_64.rpm && yum clean all && rm -rf R-3.6.3-1-1.x86_64.rpm RUN curl -O https://cdn.rstudio.com/r/centos-7/pkgs/R-3.5.3-1-1.x86_64.rpm && yum install -y R-3.5.3-1-1.x86_64.rpm && yum clean all && rm -rf R-3.5.3-1-1.x86_64.rpm

Install RStudio Professional Drivers

Data scientists often need to access data from sources such as Amazon Athena and Amazon Redshift within RStudio on SageMaker. You can do so using RStudio Professional Drivers and RStudio Connections. Make sure you install the relevant libraries and drivers as shown in the following snippet:

# Install RStudio Professional Drivers —————————————-# RUN yum update -y && yum install -y unixODBC unixODBC-devel && yum clean all ARG DRIVERS_VERSION=2021.10.0-1 RUN curl -O https://drivers.rstudio.org/7C152C12/installer/rstudio-drivers-${DRIVERS_VERSION}.el7.x86_64.rpm && yum install -y rstudio-drivers-${DRIVERS_VERSION}.el7.x86_64.rpm && yum clean all && rm -f rstudio-drivers-${DRIVERS_VERSION}.el7.x86_64.rpm && cp /opt/rstudio-drivers/odbcinst.ini.sample /etc/odbcinst.ini RUN /opt/R/${R_VERSION}/bin/R -e ‘install.packages(“odbc”, repos=”https://packagemanager.rstudio.com/cran/__linux__/centos7/latest”)’

Install custom libraries

You can also install additional R and Python libraries so that data scientists don’t need to install them on the fly:

RUN /opt/R/${R_VERSION}/bin/R -e “install.packages(c(‘reticulate’, ‘readr’, ‘curl’, ‘ggplot2’, ‘dplyr’, ‘stringr’, ‘fable’, ‘tsibble’, ‘dplyr’, ‘feasts’, ‘remotes’, ‘urca’, ‘sodium’, ‘plumber’, ‘jsonlite’), repos=’https://packagemanager.rstudio.com/cran/__linux__/centos7/latest’)” RUN /opt/python/${PYTHON_VERSION}/bin/pip install –upgrade ‘boto3>1.0<2.0' 'awscli>1.0<2.0' 'sagemaker[local]<3' 'sagemaker-studio-image-build' 'numpy'

When you’ve finished your customization in a Dockerfile, it’s time to build a container image and push it to Amazon ECR.

Build and push to Amazon ECR

You can build a container image from the Dockerfile from a terminal where the Docker engine is installed, such as your local terminal or AWS Cloud9. If you’re building it from a terminal within RStudio on SageMaker, you can use SageMaker Studio Image Build. We demonstrate the steps for both approaches.

In a local terminal where the Docker engine is present, you can run the following commands from where the Dockerfile is. You can use the sample script create-and-update-image.sh.

IMAGE_NAME=r-4.1.3-rstudio-1.4.1717-3 # the name for SageMaker Image REPO=rstudio-custom # ECR repository name TAG=$IMAGE_NAME # login to your Amazon ECR aws ecr get-login-password | docker login –username AWS –password-stdin ${ACCOUNT_ID}.dkr.ecr.${REGION}.amazonaws.com # create a repo aws ecr create-repository –repository-name ${REPO} # build a docker image and push it to the repo docker build . -t ${REPO}:${TAG} -t ${ACCOUNT_ID}.dkr.ecr.${REGION}.amazonaws.com/${REPO}:${TAG} docker push ${ACCOUNT_ID}.dkr.ecr.${REGION}.amazonaws.com/${REPO}:${TAG}

In a terminal on RStudio on SageMaker, run the following commands:

pip install sagemaker-studio-image-build sm-docker build . –repository ${REPO}:${IMAGE_NAME}

After these commands, you have a repository and a Docker container image in Amazon ECR for our next step, in which we attach the container image for use in RStudio on SageMaker. Note the image URI in Amazon ECR .dkr.ecr..amazonaws.com/: for later use.

Update RStudio on SageMaker through the console

RStudio on SageMaker allows runtime customization through the use of a custom SageMaker image. A SageMaker image is a holder for a set of SageMaker image versions. Each image version represents a container image that is compatible with RStudio on SageMaker and stored in an Amazon ECR repository. To make a custom SageMaker image available to all RStudio users within a domain, you can attach the image to the domain following the steps in this section.

  1. On the SageMaker console, navigate to the Custom SageMaker Studio images attached to domain page, and choose Attach image.
  2. Select New image, and enter your Amazon ECR image URI.
  3. Choose Next.
  4. In the Image properties section, provide an Image name (required), Image display name (optional), Description (optional), IAM role, and tags.
    The image display name, if provided, is shown in the session launcher in RStudio on SageMaker. If the Image display name field is left empty, the image name is shown in RStudio on SageMaker instead.
  5. Leave EFS mount path and Advanced configuration (User ID and Group ID) as default because RStudio on SageMaker manages the configuration for us.
  6. In the Image type section, select RStudio image.
  7. Choose Submit.

You can now see a new entry in the list. It’s worth noting that, with the introduction of the support of custom RStudio images, you can see a new Usage type column in the table to denote whether an image is an RStudio image or an Amazon SageMaker Studio image.

It may take up to 5–10 minutes for the custom images to be available in the session launcher UI. You can then launch a new R session in RStudio on SageMaker with your custom images.

Over time, you may want to retire old and outdated images. To remove the custom images from the list of custom images in RStudio, select the images in the list and choose Detach.

Choose Detach again to confirm.

Update RStudio on SageMaker via the AWS CLI

The following sections describe the steps to create a SageMaker image and attach it for use in RStudio on SageMaker on the SageMaker console and using the AWS CLI. You can use the sample script create-and-update-image.sh.

Create the SageMaker image and image version

The first step is to create a SageMaker image from the custom container image in Amazon ECR by running the following two commands:

ROLE_ARN= DISPLAY_NAME=RSession-r-4.1.3-rstudio-1.4.1717-3 aws sagemaker create-image –image-name ${IMAGE_NAME} –display-name ${DISPLAY_NAME} –role-arn ${ROLE_ARN} aws sagemaker create-image-version –image-name ${IMAGE_NAME} –base-image “${ACCOUNT_ID}.dkr.ecr.${REGION}.amazonaws.com/${REPO}:${TAG}”

Note that the custom image displayed in the session launcher in RStudio on SageMaker is determined by the input of –display-name. If the optional display name is not provided, the input of –image-name is used instead. Also note that the IAM role allows SageMaker to attach an Amazon ECR image to RStudio on SageMaker.

Create an AppImageConfig

In addition to a SageMaker image, which captures the image URI from Amazon ECR, an app image configuration (AppImageConfig) is required for use in a SageMaker domain. We simplify the configuration for an RSessionApp image so we can just create a placeholder configuration with the following command:

IMAGE_CONFIG_NAME=r-4-1-3-rstudio-1-4-1717-3 aws sagemaker create-app-image-config –app-image-config-name ${IMAGE_CONFIG_NAME}

Attach to a SageMaker domain

With the SageMaker image and the app image configuration created, we’re ready to attach the custom container image to the SageMaker domain. To make a custom SageMaker image available to all RStudio users within a domain, you attach the image to the domain as a default user setting. All existing users and any new users will be able to use the custom image.

For better readability, we place the following configuration into the JSON file default-user-settings.json:

“DefaultUserSettings”: { “RSessionAppSettings”: { “CustomImages”: [ { “ImageName”: “r-4.1.3-rstudio-2022”, “AppImageConfigName”: “r-4-1-3-rstudio-2022” }, { “ImageName”: “r-4.1.3-rstudio-1.4.1717-3”, “AppImageConfigName”: “r-4-1-3-rstudio-1-4-1717-3” } ] } } }

In this file, we can specify the image and AppImageConfig name pairs in a list in DefaultUserSettings.RSessionAppSettings.CustomImages. This preceding snippet assumes two custom images are being created.

Then run the following command to update the SageMaker domain:

aws sagemaker update-domain –domain-id –cli-input-json file://default-user-settings.json

After you update the domaim, it may take up to 5–10 minutes for the custom images to be available in the session launcher UI. You can then launch a new R session in RStudio on SageMaker with your custom images.

Detach images from a SageMaker domain

You can detach images simply by removing the ImageName and AppImageConfigName pairs from default-user-settings.json and updating the domain.

For example, updating the domain with the following default-user-settings.json removes r-4.1.3-rstudio-2022 from the R session launching UI and leaves r-4.1.3-rstudio-1.4.1717-3 as the only custom image available to all users in a domain:

{ “DefaultUserSettings”: { “RSessionAppSettings”: { “CustomImages”: [ { “ImageName”: “r-4.1.3-rstudio-1.4.1717-3”, “AppImageConfigName”: “r-4-1-3-rstudio-1-4-1717-3” } ] } } }

Clean up

To safely remove images and resources in the SageMaker domain, complete the following steps in Clean up image resources.

To safely remove the RStudio on SageMaker and the SageMaker domain, complete the following steps in Delete an Amazon SageMaker Domain to delete any RSessionGateway app, user profile and the domain.

To safely remove images and repositories in Amazon ECR, complete the following steps in Deleting an image.

Finally, to delete the CloudFormation template:

  1. On the AWS CloudFormation console, choose Stacks.
  2. Select the stack you deployed for this solution.
  3. Choose Delete.

Conclusion

RStudio on SageMaker makes it simple for data scientists to build ML and analytic solutions in R at scale, and for administrators to manage a robust data science environment for their developers. Data scientists want to customize the environment so that they can use the right libraries for the right job and achieve the desired reproducibility for each ML project. Administrators need to standardize the data science environment for regulatory and security reasons. You can now create custom container images that meet your organizational requirements and allow data scientists to use them in RStudio on SageMaker.

We encourage you to try it out. Happy developing!

About the Authors

Michael Hsieh is a Senior AI/ML Specialist Solutions Architect. He works with customers to advance their ML journey with a combination of AWS ML offerings and his ML domain knowledge. As a Seattle transplant, he loves exploring the great Mother Nature the city has to offer, such as the hiking trails, scenery kayaking in the SLU, and the sunset at Shilshole Bay.

Declan Kelly is a Software Engineer on the Amazon SageMaker Studio team. He has been working on Amazon SageMaker Studio since its launch at AWS re:Invent 2019. Outside of work, he enjoys hiking and climbing.

Sean MorganSean Morgan is an AI/ML Solutions Architect at AWS. He has experience in the semiconductor and academic research fields, and uses his experience to help customers reach their goals on AWS. In his free time, Sean is an active open-source contributor and maintainer, and is the special interest group lead for TensorFlow Add-ons.



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