Open Up The Cloud Newsletter #28 (October Recap 2021)

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What is going on cloud friend! It’s been another month in the cloud world, so it’s time to catch up on everything that’s been going on!

Let’s get into it…

This Month’s Top Cloud Pick(s) ⏫

If you only read one or two things this month, let it be this.

AWS ReInvent (AWS) – By the time I send you the newsletter next month, we’ll be talking about AWS ReInvent. It’s always a crazy and busy time of the year, trying to keep up with all the updates, and the opinion pieces that go out around that time. For Re:Invent this year, it seems that some of the content is going to be available online (but not all of it, sadly). However, the content will include the keynotes 🎉 (which I strongly recommend). So be sure to start checking out the schedule ahead of time to make a plan 🧐 of what you want to watch and/or attend 😀 I’m sure I’ll also be spending a lot of time on Twitter (@loujaybee) sharing updates, so let’s chat as they roll in.

Feature Releases & Announcements 📚

New stuff in the cloud, that you probably should know about.

100DaysOfCloud Twitter Spaces (Andrew Brown) – Andrew has been on fire 🔥 recently doing some cloud-focused Twitter spaces. The last time I checked, Andrew was shooting for 100 spaces in 100 days—which is totally nuts 🥜 but doesn’t surprise me because Andrew is a total workhorse. Either way, if you’re not already following Andrew on Twitter, this is your nudge!

Learn To Cloud Guide – From what I’ve seen, the good folks behind the learn to cloud guide (Gwyneth, Rishab & Antonio) are putting in some big efforts to really ✨ jazz up ✨ the project, it’s now hosted on it’s own website at and I hear they have some pretty serious plans to build the project up. Watch this space and give these guys a follow to keep up with what they have planned!

AWS Sam Accelerate (Eric Johnson, AWS Blog) – It seems that everyone and their mums are now wading in to try to solve the local development vs cloud debate. In this article, read about some updates from AWS SAM to improve the speed of their local development. In their words: “AWS SAM Accelerate brings the developer to the cloud, and not the cloud to the developer”. AWS SAM has introduced some new ways to sync your code and watch for changes, to make the whole deployment and testing cycle faster. It seems like companies are becoming more and more bullish of this idea of personal, and/or ephemeral environments for development (serverless cloud have also been taking a swing at the topic). And now I feel like more than ever we’re dying for someone to write a book on this topic.

How-To’s & Educational Pieces 🤓

Articles on how to do various cool things with the cloud.

What Are The Different Roles In The Cloud? (Open Up The Cloud) – Ever wondered what the actual difference is between roles like SRE, Cloud Engineer, DevOps, etc? In this article, I dive into the roles, what they do that we have in the cloud, look at how much 💰 earning potential 💰 each role has, how much coding is involved 💻 and whether or not the role is suitable for a beginner 👶. The article was inspired originally by this Instagram post where I talked about the different cloud roles, which people seemed to think was useful! 🙏 Andrew Brown also has some nice career blogs on his site, where he talks about similar topics like do you need to be a sys admin/support role before working in cloud, which I think are also worth checking out.

Moving To Cloud (Anurag Kale) – In this article, Anurag shares his journey of how he moved from a SQL dev to the cloud industry (which started life as a Tweet thread). Anurag covers how you should start by complimenting your existing skillset, become involved in communities 👨‍👧 (I couldn’t agree more) and to teach 🧑‍🏫 (of course, I agree), and finally to look into getting certified 🥇 as a way to structure your learning. Anurag’s advice seems to reflect very much my own (e.g. Where To Start With Cloud Computing? 5 Quick Tips To Get Hands-On Today!)

How Should You Run Production Containers On AWS? (Vlad, Twitter) – There are precisely ✨ 4 million ✨ ways to do anything in the cloud these days, and there’s no exception when it comes to choices for running containers. Where do you start when choosing somewhere to run your containers? You’ve got Kubernetes, Managed Kubernetes (EKS), ECS Fargate, ECS with EC2, and now even AWS Lambda runs containers. So what do you choose? Vlad has put together this really neat flowchart of the different options and his suggestions depending on your situation. It’s a nice decision tree if you’re thinking about which AWS service to use for deploying/running your containers.

Should You Learn To Code When Learning Cloud? (Open Up The Cloud) – “I thought maybe cloud computing is a great career option for me because it requires little coding” was the ✉️ email question I received. But… is it even true? 🤔 Does cloud require coding? And if so—when? Under what circumstances? It’s a common question I get asked a lot, and I’ve also written a blog about whether cloud engineers code where I talk also about what type of code cloud engineers write, such as infrastructure as code, build scripts, and monitoring and tooling. My short answer is: You can get into/work into the cloud without writing any code, but I think by approaching it with that mentality you’re potentially short-changing your learning, and limiting your career growth and potential. But you’ll have to check out the post for all the details!

Operating Serverless At Scale – Governance (Part 1) (Jerome Van Der Linden, AWS) — This is the first article in a three-part series covering the topic of “governance”—or in friendlier terms: 🏷 tagging and getting control of resource groupings. If you’ve ever had to do anything like managing costs 💰 in large cloud accounts you know how important (and difficult!) tagging can be. Jeromes article covers how you can use things like tag policies, service control policies, AWS Config, etc to manage the situation. There’s some good, practical advice in here, and it’s not just serverless related.

Operating Serverless At Scale – Consistency (Part 2) (Jerome Van Der Linden, AWS) — This second article goes into topics of standardization, with the examples of SAM templates and base images. I know from working on internal platform teams on developer experience just how big a topic standardization and templates can be. Rolling templates out to teams, and managing them, ensuring they’re used, maintained, and kept up-to-date, is a really difficult task. Tools like Backstage can help us here. The second part of the article covers using base images, which is a fairly standard industry practice. If you’re using containers with Lambda, or Fargate it does make sense to have standardized base images, not just for consistency but also for security. Tools like Packer can also help here.

Operating Serverless At Scale (Controlling Resources) (Jerome Van Der Linden) — This final article in the series covers topics such as implementing the principle of least privilege through IAM controls. I always found this principle is actually a tough one to apply in practice. It makes sense on paper, but can be hard to enforce without tying yourself in knots. Jerome also discusses the important topic of reactive and proactive guardrails, which I think is a great way to “frame” your thinking when it comes to implementing these configurations throughout your account. Are you trying to slow software engineers down, or help them and speed them up?

7 GitHub Projects To SuperCharge Your Docker Practices (DEV.TO, Ankit Anand) — Some nice links in here to some projects with tutorials, best practices, and performance improvement utilities.

Opinion Pieces / Miscellaneous 💭

Cloud commentary, spicy takes, memes, and just-for-fun stuff!

State Of My Cloud Journey (Alex Eversmeyer) – I stumbled across Alex’s DEV.TO updates whilst on my travels around the cloud space, and liked the approach. Starting a journal like this can help in so many different ways: it keeps you accountable, it can potentially make you friends/connections that can lead to a job and helps you to avoid playing resume roulette. So if you’re curious to see what other cloud learners are doing, go check out Alex’s updates, and maybe you should consider starting a journal of your own… I’ve also seen Alex about in the Cloud Resume Challenge Discord, and if you’re not in there already—you should come join us!

12 AWS Certifications in 6 weeks (Adam Elmore) – Okay, so this is a pretty crazy thought experiment 💡… and there’s just so much to unpack here (don’t worry, I’ve taken a note to make a YouTube video 🎥 on this topic!). For instance… if someone can pass all the AWS exams in 6 weeks—what does that say about their value? Also… is this something that we should recommend? Short answer: not really! We don’t have time to unpack this right here today, so I’ll let you make up your own mind… however, there are some really great links and resources mentioned in the article such as Jon Bonso’s practice exams, and Stephane Mareeks courses, both of which I strongly recommend. You should also go follow Adam on Twitter, and also sign-up for AWS FM, where Adam is interviewing a bunch of different people in the AWS/cloud space.

Understanding How Facebook Disappeared From The Internet (CloudFlare Blog) – Sometimes it can be a scary prospect deploying some new code, or running a command that could impact production code. As software engineers, we often have nightmares that something we do ends up causing some severe outage down the line. In this case, for some poor engineers, that nightmare became true when they took down a fairly substantial portion of the internet. How is that even possible? What went wrong. Take a read to learn a bit more about how Facebook borked their BGP and in turn took down their entire stack, including WhatsApp and Instagram 😬

Werner Vogels Is A Celeb (Twitter, loujaybee) — This easter-egg that I found on the AWS Rekognition marketing pages cracked me up. You have to see it for yourself.

Personal Updates 🙍🏼‍♂️

On a YouTube front, I’ve been working on a series called “Cloud: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know” (you can find the full series here). The idea behind the series is to dive into some more “advanced” cloud topics, with the intention to give you some insights and tips for ways that you can extend and improve your own cloud projects to help out in interviews, and generally just take your projects to that next level. I started off the series talking about database migrations, then secrets management, and then most recently talking about adding logs to your project. Hopefully, these videos help to give you some ideas and inspiration of ways that you can boost your own cloud projects, let me know what you think in the comments 🙏

See You Next Month 👋

That’s all for this month’s newsletter, thanks again for joining!

If you’ve got feedback on the newsletter, e.g. if there’s something you would like to see more or less of reply to the email and let me know. I’m always looking for ways to make the newsletter more relevant and useful for you 🙏.

Speak soon, cloud friends!

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Lou Bichard