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Open Up The Cloud is here to help you get your start, and grow your career in the cloud. The newsletter comes once a month, covering news and updates from the cloud sphere! Open Up The Cloud is more than your average tech blog, check out: the mission 🚀
Hello, I’m Lou — and welcome back to Open Up The Cloud!
I hope you’re settling into 2022, because it’s already a month down! This months newsletter is a real mixed bag of cloud, we talk about ClickOps, functionless, the announcements of AWS Lambda powertools for TypeScript, the limitations of serverless framework and more.
This Month’s Top Cloud Pick(s) ⏫
The Rise of ClickOps (Corey Quinn, Last Week In AWS) — A topic near to my heart, but one also likely to ruffle some feathers! Should you use infrastructure as code, or should you start with “ClickOps” (as a beginner)? The main concern I have with “ClickOps” is when beginners don’t appreciate what infrastructure as code is, and I get it… because it’s hard to understand the purpose of infrastructure as code outside of a large organisational setting. Yet, understanding and appreciating infrastructure as code is an essential skill for all cloud professionals. If you’re interested, I’ve already written my arguments in favour of incorporating infrastructure as code into your learning process in this article: 5 important reasons to learn terraform before cloud computing. The reality is that using ClickOps is sometimes the pragmatic choice. But… it must also be a considered choice, knowing what infrastructure as code is, the limitations, and where the rule can be bent or broken.
Feature Releases & Announcements 📚
CloudTrail Lake (Andres Silva, AWS News Blog) — CloudTrail is an AWS service that helps you track API calls and actions in your AWS account, useful for things like compliance and constructing audit trails. But, doing analysis over your CloudTrail events is a pain, and the typical advice from AWS is to set up Amazon Athena (you can also use CloudWatch, and CloudWatch insights). So in short, you can think of CloudTrail Lake as a simpler way to have Athena for you under the hood, adhering to various best practices. For more, Noam Dahan did a nice write-up and analysis of the new service.
Serverless Framework v3 is out (Matthieu Napoli, Serverless Inc) — I must admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Serverless Framework. Serverless Framework shines best when getting a project off the ground, but it can quickly become challenging to deal with. I’ve seen this sentiment shared time and time again by many seasoned cloud engineers / developers, so I know that I’m not alone here. AWS SAM and the AWS CDK are growing as alternative options. But, alas! We should talk about the v3 announcement, which introduces stage parameters, to allow you to change the service configuration based on the deployment stage (dev, test, stage, production) and comes with a new re-designed CLI experience with niceties like cleaner error handling. If you want to see V3 in action, Sam from Complete Coding has a video showing you around all the changes. Also, here’s a nice write up from Almir from Serverless Guru.
AWS announces a new AWS Console home experience (Sébastien Stormacq, AWS News Blog) — AWS has now moved away from the static home page with static links to a more dynamic and customisable home page. The dashboard is now widget based, and has widgets like: AWS health, favourites (a customisable favourites widget), recently visited services to quickly re-access services, and more. Sadly, if you’re an AWS account hopper, it seems there’s no way to bring your configurations with you between accounts—but it’s a start! At this point, we’ll take any improvements to the AWS console that we can get!
Lambda functions now support ES modules (and top-level await) (James Beswick, AWS Compute Blog) — AWS Lambda now supports ES modules for Node.js 14 runtimes, which introduces some niceties like an impact on cold start performance, tree shaking and better static analysis.
How-To’s & Educational Peices ☁️
The Trade-off’s With Functionless Integration Patterns (Paul Swail, Serverless First) — So, you’ve probably heard of “serverless”, but have you heard of “functionless”? Functionless is the practice of using native cloud integrations to write business logic and applications entirely via config. With new services like AWS API Gateway and AWS step functions, you can write complicated logic without having to write a single Serverless function, which has lead to this new term “functionless”. Functionless pushes to the more extreme end of cloud development, relying heavily on cloud providers rather than your own logic.
AWS Lambda Powertools TypeScript (Powertools Repo, GitHub) — AWS already have several utility libraries for AWS Lambda: Python, Java. Now, they’ve introduced one more to the family: TypeScript. Read Sara’s announcement post on Twitter. But, also be sure to check out Matt’s first look at Powertools to learn more about the different features that the library supports such as easier logging, metrics and tracing instrumentation.
How to get hands-on with AWS with no enterprise experience? (Open Up The Cloud, Twitter) — After sitting, and passing, the AWS Associate Developer exam, I share a strategy for building hands-on skills even if you don’t have enterprise experience.
Opinion Pieces & Miscellaneous
Analyzing SRE job postings (JP Cheung, Rootly) — An analysis of the SRE role taken from GitLab, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Amazon. Some interesting takeaways here, such as how much an SRE should code, or not. It seems for most (or all) of these major players that strong development skills are a must. Also, for writing incident reports or analysis blog posts, the SRE is expected to be a great communicator. I also analysed over 100 Cloud Engineering job descriptions to extract the most requested skills (raw data spreadsheet attached)! If you’re interested to learn about the different roles in the cloud, I did this write-up talking about the roles: architect, SRE, cloud engineer, software engineer, data engineer, and understanding their earning potential, whether they code, and if the role is suitable for a beginner.
$1500 AWS Cert Giveaway (Sam, Complete Coding) — Sam from Complete Coding is very close to hitting 10K subscribers on YouTube, and as a way to celebrate, he’s giving away 5 AWS certification vouchers, worth up to $1500! Go ahead and give him a subscribe, and follow along for details on how to win those exam vouchers!
Updates: Open Up The Cloud
Every year I do a write-up of my reflections from the past year, my learnings and plans for the new year. If you missed the article on social, here’s your chance to catch up. A big piece of news from Open Up The Cloud was the income report, now all Open Up The Cloud’s income is public. I also published a video on the YouTube channel talking about the income report, and my plans for 2022.
Also, this month, I passed my AWS Associate Developer exam, using Exam Pro, and Jon Bonso practice exams. I’ve filmed (and currently editing) a video analysis of both of these resources, with a recap of the AWS exam for the YouTube channel, so be sure to check that out. I’ve also been posting daily tips on instagram, and giving you behind the scenes looks at completing different cloud certifications, AWS exams, and generally what it means to work in cloud.
Let’s #OpenUpTheCloud ! 👋
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