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No cloud in sight this morning

Dive into AWS

Hello altogether,

nothing happened in this blog for almost two months. The reason for this is something you might not expect…
If you read the “About me” section you know that I write almost exclusively while commuting in the train. And I didn’t travel by train these days.
But the reason for that is not Covid-19 as you might think: At the end of February my second son was born. And I’m currently on parental leave. Until next week.

Having a newborn and a toddler these days is challenging as no friends and relatives can visit (and help) us. On the other hand the timing was good so that I don’t have to work during the first phase of the pandemic.

So, why do I write here if I have nothing to present?

Well, I have: Of course I used these days (and some of the nights) to think about the future and read a lot of stuff.
For me the outcome was a dive into AWS.
But one thing after another…

The world will change after the crisis


And a big part of being a human is to adapt to changes. “Evolution in the small” if you want to phrase it like that.

A lot of small businesses in a variety of industries and countries will file bankruptcy in or after this period.

Others gain from it. There are winners and losers. As always.

So think about what you can do while in lockdown, quarantine or curfew (or whatever it is called for you)!

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)

You might had some own ideas or read some articles about starting a workout routine, yoga, doing your taxes, get your finances in order, plant something nice in your garden, learning to cook and so on…

And really these are all good things. If you’re not working as a software engineer or as an IT professional I’d recommend stop reading here and do one or some of these.

Still there?

As someone in IT you are already privileged as the demand for people like us is still high.
But now would be a good time for learning stuff that helps you to go antifragile.

What is “antifragile”?

It is a term coined by the author Nassim Nicholas Taleb and means “Things that gain from disorder”.

Take your time and think about who will be the losers and the winners in this crisis.
If you have trouble with this look at some stock market charts. You’ll see that the market knows.

One sector which thrives at the moment are cloud services.
And it was going well before! It seems this business model has some built-in antifragility: Cloud service providers were not only unaffected, they got momentum from the Covid-19 crisis!

If you read some of the articles here you know that I have some playground experience with Platform as a service (PaaS) providers like Heroku and Cloud Foundry.
But I didn’t fully grasp the possibilities until lately.

Dive into AWS

It started some weeks ago: I had a short break with the baby attached to me, sleeping in the sling, and his big brother was playing in the sandbox with his mother.

I did a brief React tutorial. At the end of this tutorial the app was deployed to S3, which is AWS object storage service. I seriously didn’t know this was possible. I knew about Elastic Beanstalk which is a PaaS service on AWS. And so I got hooked up.

I created my AWS account and started experimenting. And was so overwhelmed with the possibilities which laid out before me.

Me diving
Me diving. Looks more like Azure, right? 😉

From that time on I took about 20 minutes a day (or better night) to learn. More was not possible without a severe lack of sleep.

But even with this little time I found myself some days later spinning up EC2 instances (virtual machines in the cloud), configuring VPCs, NAT Gateways, Load Balancers, Scaling Groups and Security Groups in different Availability Zones on AWS.

And I learned about Identity and Access Management (IAM), Logging with Cloud Trail & Cloud Watch and some other things like Simple Notification Service (SNS) and Simple Queue Service (SQS).

The fact that some e-learning platforms, like, are/were free for this month helped me a lot to get started this fast.
But I wouldn’t hesitate to spend a few $ if they weren’t.

I know that I am nowhere near being a cloud solution architect and I don’t know whether I want to be one or not. Yet.
But I want to learn more in this field. It’s the future for most of us IT and Software people.

There are so many services AWS has to offer…
It provides cost savings, adaptability, scalability, security and reliability along with a lot of things which just work out of the box.

You might want to know why I chose AWS over Azure or Google?

Well, AWS is the market leader. By far. A good third of the global cloud infrastructure runs there. Followed by Microsoft Azure with about 15% market share.

Netflix, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit and many other well known names run on AWS.

It is here to stay.


My recommendation for this period is clear: Go and start to learn something fun which makes you more antifragile!
You don’t need to copy what I did though. I can’t know, maybe you are already a cloud expert and just laughed at my article.
The base message is:

Just think about what you can do to use your time wisely!

And feel free to tell me what you did in the comments section!
You might know I’m one of the most curious people ever when it comes to these things 😉

Stay healthy!

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Monica

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Marc

      Thanks for commenting Moni.
      See you tomorrow back @work!

  2. Ricardo

    Hi Marc,
    As you did I also took a course from pluralsight, but in my case to know more about SpringSecurity.
    I really liked the way you think and your concern about using our time wisely.
    From my side the situation is basically the same, I’m working from home every day. I can’t complain that as I can spend more time with my lovely daughter.
    In my free time I decided to create an entire application from zero.
    Kind regards my friend and stay safe.

    1. Marc

      Hi Ricardo, thanks for your comment and the insights into your situation!
      More time with kids is priceless.

      Spring Security is something I need to look at again too. A lot has changed here since we implemented an authorization server, which was really hard to do with an early version of Spring Security.
      Now almost everything we used back then is deprecated or already gone…

  3. Mohamed Ibrahim

    Nice article and nice diving pic 😉

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