Getting Started with Cloud Services

Using AWS as an Example

Workshop at office.
How can one get started with cloud services and take advantage of them? At Consid, we work with several partners and platforms in the field of cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. In this blog post, our solutions architect Magnus Sjöstrand, who transitioned from a software developer, provides tips for those who want to begin using cloud services, with a specific focus on AWS.

Consider migrating to the cloud

When considering a migration to the cloud, it’s important to consider security concerns, cost benefits, and availability. Moving an application from a server to a cloud-based platform can be advantageous as users can leverage the scalability, high availability, and security of the cloud. It is also suitable when there is a business or technical reason to migrate, such as the need to handle traffic spikes or better manage variations in service demand. It is also suitable when a company wants to reduce infrastructure and maintenance costs or when it seeks a high level of data and application redundancy and security.

Of course, there are several factors that can affect the suitability of moving to the cloud. An important factor is the modernization level of the application, where older and larger applications may be more challenging to migrate. To facilitate such migrations, AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure offer various services for application modernization. These services aim to lift an application and break it down to upgrade the services.

An overview of different cloud-based services

The choice of the most suitable type of cloud service depends on usage and responsibility level. Here is an overview of different cloud-based services:

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS platforms and services provide infrastructure in the cloud, including servers, networks, operating systems, and storage. Users have more responsibility and control over the infrastructure. Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 is an example of an IaaS service that enables the creation and management of virtual machines (VMs) on a cloud-based infrastructure without worrying about the underlying physical infrastructure.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS is a type of cloud service that provides users with a complete development environment. Users have less responsibility and can focus on developing the application while the cloud provider takes care of everything else. OpenShift is an example of a PaaS service that offers a comprehensive development environment.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is a ready-to-use service owned by a third party and can be accessed by all types of users over the web. Users have the least responsibility as everything is already available. Dropbox is an example of a SaaS service where everything is ready, and users can use it directly without having to take responsibility for the infrastructure.

Getting started with AWS as an example

AWS is a cloud platform provided by Amazon, offering users access to a global network of data centers. Amazon, along with over 200 different services, delivers scalable, secure, and cost-effective solutions for your application. In just a few minutes, or even seconds for some services, you can deploy your product to any part of the world.

The first step is, of course, to create an AWS account. However, many people do not go beyond this initial step because it also requires signing up with a credit card to link all your expenses. After that, you gain access to a large “sandbox environment” where you can experiment as you wish, whether it’s setting up an S3 Bucket (for file storage) or having an instance of an EC2 (virtual server) that runs continuously. These are, by the way, two of the oldest services.

Working at the dashboard is heavily driven by one’s interests, such as working with databases, networks, or security, to understand how things are interconnected. One of my first projects was to follow a code example provided by Amazon on setting up a simple pipeline. With just a few button clicks and some copy-pasting of sample code, you can set up an entire pipeline that fetches source code from GitHub, builds it, and deploys a basic web service. Of course, you can also tear it down if you want.

Tips for steps to follow when migrating to the cloud

When taking the step towards the cloud, there are some best practices to follow. Firstly, be prepared for it to be a long-term investment that requires expertise and time to migrate existing systems. The first step is to calculate costs and risks.

Next, you can start looking at the technical aspects, such as performing a “lift and shift” of existing databases to an EC2 instance. Then, you can explore services that can replace existing systems, like RDS or Aurora.

Finally, you can upgrade your applications and explore opportunities to use “Serverless” services like Lambda.

It’s important to tailor these steps according to the size and complexity of the existing systems. Smaller, more complex systems can be migrated more easily, while large monolithic applications may need to be broken down into smaller microservices using IaaS services.

Common languages and tools used within AWS

Within AWS, common languages and tools include Java, .NET, and Python, which can be used in AWS Lambda, a serverless service that allows for the execution of inline code.

To build infrastructure from code, you can use AWS’s own service, CloudFormation, or tools like Terraform. The YAML format is often used to describe and build infrastructure.

For monitoring, you can utilize AWS CloudWatch and CloudTrail, but there are also numerous third-party tools available for this purpose, such as Prometheus, Datadog, Sumo Logic, and others. Generally, the focus within AWS is on infrastructure code, but an understanding of testing and monitoring communication between different servers and resources is also required.

Medarbejdere hos Consid griner under en workshop

Do you want to learn more about cloud services?

Contact us here and we'll get back to you.

Privacy Policy

More blogposts