AWS: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

By Flux7 Labs
August 28, 2014

We love Amazon. We also recognize, along with industry research groups like Gartner, that Amazon is the cloud leader in regard to its scalability, security, flexibility and costs.

But, there is a downside to Amazon. And many organizations are discovering it too late in the game and exposing themselves unnecessarily to business risks.

Amazon is by far the market leader with more than five times the computing capacity of the other 14 competing providers. The Amazon platform breadth and depth means it can support sophisticated, scalable applications. It’s globally available and can be integrated effectively with on-prem data centers to provide hybrid cloud support.

What’s more, Amazon continually upgrades its

 infrastructure. It provides new services and improves its pricing models, which, when managed properly, can significantly reduce costs.

So, what is Amazon’s weakness?

We’ve done a lot of analysis. What it comes down to is a communication problem and a dramatic difference in perspectives that can lead to cascading failures.

There is a reason that Network World recently listed AWS Certified Solutions Architect as one of the hottest jobs and highest-paid certifications in the industry (see slide 3 in the NWW presentation). And cloud architecture knowledge is in high demand. There is extensive value in Amazon knowledge both in the efficiencies it can bring and in the reduction of risk.

Do You Speak Amazon?

To start, Amazon doesn’t speak the language of developers. Amazon was built for operations people. As such, there is a vast terminology gap that at best leads to lost productivity from a need to perform endless Google searches for definitions.

But, it’s not just developers who are at a loss over Amazon set ups. Operations folks might have a leg up, but they are often missing out on key concepts of cloud computing. Operations experts are fantastic at troubleshooting hardware, but they generally don’t know how to write a script to address a software infrastructure challenge.

Conversely, a programmer can write a script in his sleep. But, he doesn’t understand the hardware fundamentals that lie at the core of cloud architecture. Neither software nor hardware experts will intuitively understand how to manage AWS.

For ‘Instance’ …

For example, “instances” just don’t mean anything to people who do not know Amazon. An improper selection of AWS instance types can easily lead to over-provisioning. And that results in higher costs and lower performance.

Where Is Clippy When You Need Him?

There are no clear buttons or friendly pop-up paperclips to help you figure out where everything is. Looking for a button to click on to set up a VPN or host your site? It’s just not there.

Now, these may be your basic expectations. And, they might be there. But, they are capabilities that often get overlooked by AWS novices. This can result in discontent, a lack of access to valuable services, and generally negative impacts on productivity.

If you need anything a little more advanced that can produce significant results, such as a continuous deployment process or a high-performance web development environment, you may need outside help.

Have You Left the Back Door Open?

At worst, not knowing the Amazon language can lead to improper set ups. That’s what happened to Code Spaces. These highly technical developers must have missed a simple step in setting up their account. In doing so, it led to their customers’ data being destroyed. As a result of that, the company went out of business.

Misconfiguring security is easy in Amazon. But fixing the results are often not so simple. Starting with cloud security best practices is a must for any business.

Share the Load?

While sharing the load didn’t make sense for Sam and Frodo during their journey in the Lord of the Rings, it does for your cloud-based workflow.

But, often, this simple step is missed. Or even mis-applied in a do-it-yourself setup, then undiscovered until you’re stuck with an outage.

Proper load sharing takes little time up front. It can provide huge benefits down the line.

The Amazon Ambassador

Just like your concierge, we want to help you get settled in so you can manage yourself and enjoy the wonders that the AWS cloud benefits can provide.

Beyond the proper configuration of your AWS setup, bridging the gap between the language of normal people and that of Amazon is essential to a larger audience to leverage the vast benefits of this important cloud provider.

Rest assured, we’ll help you get your bearings. Sort out the terminology. And ensure that business continuity is preserved, just in case. Once you’re set to drive, just call us every time you need a tune up.

In the meantime, we make it easy for you to discover even more about the migration to AWS and overcoming the challenges of creating a scalable startup Infrastructure. Just click here now to read a case study about how 3D-printing startup Pinshape  successfully made such a move … in less than two weeks.

Then, get that needed peace of mind and plan of action. Click here now to find out how you can get a thorough audit of your AWS infrastructure. We can conduct a comprehensive survey of your AWS set up and identify where you rate in six key areas.

Yes … it’s that simple to learn the language of Amazon.