There are a ton of cloud providers around town. Starting from the mom and pop shops, to co-located Data center providers to full blown cloud infra providers. For a beginner, there’s absolutely no shortage of options to start off with. In fact, it will overwhelm a beginner to the point of confusion and frustration.
I’ll make it easy for you all however. Start with just one and you can slide into any other provider of choice when you’ve gotten the chops and become more comfortable delivering software to the cloud.
Start with AWS.
Of the big 3 cloud providers, Yes! AWS was my first public cloud. I’ve spent a decade with AWS. Yes! this post is opinionated!
Lets look at some of the main reasons why I think you should start with AWS as your first cloud provider of choice..
3... 2… 1… Go!
AWS offerings are more or less standardised. The knowledge you already have about computers and networks can directly get transferred here. I cannot say so about the other providers. GCP has its own dance going. Talk to a cloud practitioner who’s worked with both AWS and GCP and they’ll tell you!
While new tech is a whole lot of fun, confirming to known, accepted standards reduces the blast radius when things go wrong. The last thing you want during an outage or error is to figure out if the source of error is your application or your infra provider.
AWS has the best documentation of their cloud offerings compared to ANY OTHER SINGULAR piece of tech that has documentation. Their CLI is self documenting. Their cloud offerings are really well detailed. Just read through the AWS VPC documentation and come back here. No, seriously! I’ll wait!
Support & Developer Community
If you’re working with a team that runs production workloads on AWS, be rest assured that they have some ridiculously awesome support! Right from the Account Manager, Solutions Architect, the Web and Phone support channels, their customer focus is laser primed! The scale that AWS operates, you’ll get slowly used to your SA / AM telling you how to reduce costs rather than take a new service coz they just launched!
Have you seen their developer community? Get stuck? Tweet out, you’ll have a solution - Someone from somewhere in the world will respond. Want to discuss further, get on meetup and search for AWS - there’s bound to be a community around where you live. Amazon has nailed their developer community program to the T.
Every cloud provider wants you to trial their services. And they have a free tier. That is how a new entrant like you gets to learn. GCP and Azure have month long free tiers with a small subset made available post that 30 day period.
AWS free tier however runs for a year. And a vast majority of their services remain free with very acceptable limits. I know of many folks that ran their websites / systems for almost nothing on AWS.
This is a thought that is very close to my heart. Having a bunch of offerings is one thing. Tieing them together is something that requires genius. Every one of AWS’s offerings interoperates so cohesively, it will feel like you’re working on ONE fluid piece of tech.
When you work with a cloud provider, one of the un-comporomisable requirement is to have a piece of tech slot in like a lego block. If your provider cannot do this, you have a problem. They’re not doing weightlifting the right way.
Being a cloud / infrastructure provider is one thing, being a true jack of all trades - Again, Genius! AWS is a PaaS, BaaS, IaaS and any-other-aaS you can come up with. Yes, This becomes extremely overwhelming. But hey, this also gives you range.
Start with the basics, work your way around the maze - you’ll fall in love with something. Explore, Learn, deep dive, discuss, become a subject matter expert. My areas of interest are VPC, Containers and IoT. What would be yours?
All the above points said, how should you exactly start your journey, now that I’ve helped you make the choice of your cloud provider? Well, here goes:
- Head over to docs.aws.amazon.com. Pick up AWS documentation and get reading!
- Next up, start working the AWS VPC - It is extremely crucial that you understand the most important underpinnings of AWS as a cloud provider - the networking. How does AWS connect 2 resources over established communication protocols.
- Next pick up IAM - How do your engineers access AWS resources? How do AWS resources access AWS resources.
- Now get into the leagues - Start with Compute on AWS. This lets you apply the learning in the previous 2 points to the point of understanding / breaking / re-learning.
- Now transition and gear up - Do what is required to scratch your itch, become better at your craft.
Well, thats the way the cookie crumbles. Until next post!