The Cloud. Soon after the launches of Amazons Web Services, Google Cloud and Azure shortly after the start of the 21st century, ‘the cloud’ became the go-to buzzword to drive traffic to your tech blog. And hopefully that still works.
However, the cloud has long passed that status, and by now it is hard for software developers not to come into contact with it. Especially for those who switch companies on a more or less regular basis, like those who work in consultancy. That’s why we decided to spend another meetup on this subject. The day was divided into two parts. We started off with a broad view, by comparing the big three of cloud vendors. After that, we took a deep dive into one specific aspect of a single cloud vendor; the AWS database specialty certification.
In the morning, we attempted to put together some comprehensive comparisons between the three biggest cloud vendors, AWS, Azure and Google cloud. Helped by the overviews provided by A Cloud Guru we discussed which differences we considered the most influential in the choice for a specific vendor. Aspects such as the availability of built-in automated database backups, availability SLAs, and the tradeoff between the convenience of out-of-the-box solutions and autonomy of fine-grained control.
Eventually, the discussions made us take a step back, and consider how likely it is that small differences between the different cloud providers would genuinely be a factor important enough to elect one over another. Oftentimes other, non-technical, aspects are weighted more heavily in the choice. For example when you already use tooling from one of the vendors, or when a company’s employees have previous experience with one specific vendor. Interestingly, someone even brought up the story of how Basecamp decided to leave the cloud, highlighting how important it is not to stare only at the details, but consider what it is a company hopes to gain from their choice of cloud usage.
In the afternoon we took the opposite route and selected a single topic to investigate. We decided that the AWS Database specialty would be a good place to start. This certification is subdivided into five areas, such as “Workload-Specific Database Design”, “Monitoring and Troubleshooting”.
We individually choose an area to focus on, and teamed up with the colleagues who had the same interest. By working through the study guide and experimenting in a sandbox environment, or implementing a simple application connecting different configurations of databases, we got the chance to dip our toes into territory that was previously unknown to us.
Now are we all ready to take the exam? Of course not. But we did gain new insights, and got a feel for what there is still to learn. In a sense, that was the goal of this meetup all along. Sharing experiences, getting new insights, and finding out how we can improve our knowledge of cloud development.