AWS Educate workshop at CI

Today, Friday January 24, 2020, we are hosting an AWS Educate workshop on the CSU Channel Islands campus, on Cloudifyig the Curriculum. The workshop will be held in Broome Library (easily recognizable as the only modern building on campus – here is its location on the campus map: http://maps.csuci.edu/?id=502#!m/189826).

Once you are in Broome library, please go to the second floor, to room number 2330. We will be starting at 9:30am, and finishing at 3:30. We will be catering both a continental breakfast and a lunch at around 12:30pm.

The registered guests can pick up their parking passes from Placer Hall (see map below). With the passes the guests can park in any lot “A”.

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud

When mainstream cloud computing first began to appear on the horizon, (Amazon launched its Elastic Compute Cloudproduct in 2006.) many organizations were initially hesitant to entrust their most valuable data and processes to a technological innovation named after something that appears so delicate.

Oh, how times have changed. Today, an estimated 96% of organizations use cloud computing, with over 80% operating multi-cloud landscapes thanks to a range of benefits that include efficiency, scalability, flexibility, mobility, disaster recovery and security.

As organizations continue to transition more of their computing infrastructure to cloud environments, the decision on what provider to use commonly comes down to the Big Three — Amazon Web Services vs. Microsoft’s Azure vs. Google Cloud Platform. And one of the top concerns when choosing a cloud computing provider is, yes, security.

securityboulevard.com/2019/12/aws-vs-azure-vs-google-whats-the-difference-from-a-cloud-security-standpoint/

The Cloud runs on Linux

A decade ago clouds were more marketing hot air than reality. Today, IDC says more than a third of all IT spending worldwide is on the cloud. Looking ahead, Gartner predicts that half of global enterprises will have gone all-in on the cloud by 2021. And the Cloud runs on Linux.

www.zdnet.com/article/2019s-five-biggest-linux-and-open-source-stories/

AWS and Azure

seekingalpha.com/article/4313893-aws-and-azure-racing-for-best-business-opportunity-of-21st-century

Summary

  • AWS just wrapped up its annual user conference, launching 28 new products at the conference.
  • Cloud platforms are evolving from a focus on commoditized IT infrastructure compute instances to offering an incredibly wide range of services.
  • Every company must utilize the cloud to access the leading technologies.  AWS and Azure are clearly in the leadership positions.
  • Thoughts on valuation in the context of what AWS CEO Andy Jassy calls the “most titanic shift that we’ve seen in technology in our lifetime”.

AWS Solutions Architect salary

As the demand for professionals with AWS certification continues to rise, so too do their salaries and benefits. In the USA, AWS solutions architect certification is reported to be the highest-earning certification, at an average annual salary of $113,000. 

Outside of the US, countries such as Canada, Australia, UK, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE, and India are great places for AWS solutions architects to work. Below is a series of tables showing AWS solutions architect salary for beginners, intermediary, manager, and late-career levels in the countries mentioned above. This data is compiled from Payscale. 

See here for more:

www.simplilearn.com/average-annual-salary-of-an-aws-solutions-architect-article

The Rise of Serverless Computing

An excellent article on Serverless Computing, by Paul Castro, Vatche Ishakian, Vinod Muthusamy, Aleksander Slominski, in the Communications of the ACM, December 2019, volume 62, no. 12, pages 44-54 (https://doi.org/10.1145/3368454)

Studies of reported usage of cloud resources in datacenters show a substantial gap between the resources that cloud customers allocate and pay for (leasing VMs), and actual resource utilization (CPU, memory, and so on). Enter Serverless computing where VMs do not have to be provisioned; it is a FaaS (Function as a Service) paradigm. In the cloud context, the current serverless landscape was introduced during an AWS re:Invent event in 2014. Since then, multiple cloud providers, industrial, and academic institutions have introduced their own serverless platforms.

Which AWS certification?

As the market leader and most mature provider in the cloud computing space, AWS is considered a thought leader and point of reference for all of its competitors. In 2019, AWS continues to lead in public cloud adoption, and it currently offers eleven certifications that cover both foundational and specialty cloud computing topics.

AWS offers 11 different certifications. The article below discusses which one is right for you:

https://cloudacademy.com/blog/choosing-the-right-aws-certification/

AWS vs Azure

Amazon has the top spot when it comes to cloud market share, but Microsoft is presenting more of a threat than ever.

Amazon Web Services essentially invented the modern cloud computing market in the mid-’00s, and dominates it to this day. According to estimates from Gartner, AWS has 47.8% market share, with its position reinforced by new products in databases, AI, and other fields.

But Microsoft, the runner-up, is catching up, with its arsenal of long-time enterprise customers. Already, analysts say that AWS — which has historically prided itself on paying attention to customers, not competitors — is showing rare signs of becoming more reactive to Microsoft’s big moves.

www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-amazon-aws-reinvent-execs-2019-12

AWS re:Invent, Las Vegas, 2019

I am attending my first AWS re:Invent conference, Las Vegas December 2-6, 2019.

The conference is enormous, with over 60,000 attendees who command most of the big resorts on the strip.

Yesterday I participated in a Security Certification Bootcamp (proper name AWS Certification Exam Readiness: Security – Specialty) and this morning I wrote the certification exam proper; three hours long, 65 questions, and I had 3 minutes to spare at the end. Let’s face it, the exam is hard, and requires studying. I was successful, but it required steady studying over the last 3 months. The AWS certification exams are challenging, but one does learn a lot. As an academic the hardness of the exams is a good thing as it says that this material has a legitimate role to play in academia, especially as we make it accessible to our students, and deploy it toward our research.

How did I prepare? In addition to reading the requisite white papers (such as Introduction to AWS Security Processes and AWS Best Practices for DDoS Resiliency), I was fortunate enough to have access to the Cloud Guru training in security. Their 10 to 15 minute lessons in all the topics are easy to absorb, and the summaries and quizzes are a good preparation for the exam.

I have been teaching Cybersecurity for over a decade, but the AWS security exam is not about foundations of Cybersecurity — it is about how to use AWS tools in order to achieve security objectives; this kind of knowledge arises not from learning principles or cryptography (although that does help too!), but rather from in-depth familiarity with AWS tools, such as CloudTrail, Inspector, Macie, Athena, CloudWatch, KMS, and many many others. My plan now is to incorporate this knowledge into our CI class in Cybersecurity, COMP 524, so that students will have knowledge of fundamentals as well as an understanding of security in the (relatively new) paradigm of cloud computing. COMP 524 students will have the additional benefit of covering the content of the certification

I should also say that even though foundational knowledge such as cryptography is not tested directly, it is nevertheless helpful. For example, a good portion of the exam relates to keys, specifically AWS KMS. It is much easier to remember when symmetric keys are used (e.g., S3 encryption with AES256) rather than asymmetric keys (i.e., public keys, e.g., key pairs to SSH into EC2) when one actually understand the difference between the two. Or, for example, why hashing of encrypted logs in S3 can help with data integrity measures for backups.

The Bootcamp that I took the day before was perhaps the least helpful toward success in the exam. I would suggest to take the bootcamp at the beginning of your studies toward passing the certification exam, as a quick bird-eye overview of what needs to be mastered. I sat through the bootcamp listening to what I knew already, without the possibility of going more in depth (we had 4 hours total), and without the audience being able to ask questions, as the instructor was rushing to cover the material.

Quick Tip: AWS is uncanny in its rolling out of new tools and features, most really captivating and useful. However, keep in mind that a tool or feature that is younger than 6 months will likely not make it to the exam. As I understand, the exam process is too exacting to be done quickly, and hence it take some time before new material is incorporated.