Monday, 24 August 2020

AWS vs Azure services offering comparison for Solution Architects

Overview: Microsoft provides a useful list that allows me to know AWS services aligned to Azure Services.  This is pretty useful if you know 1 platform considerably better than another to quickly figure out your options on either AWS or Azure.

My Service comparison notes:

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) – SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, PostGress and Aurora (Amazon’s proprietary database).  

Azure SQL lines up with Amazon's RDS SQL Server Service.  Although Aurora is probably also worth the comparison as it's AWS's native DB option.

Amazon DynomoDB – Same as CosmosDB – NoSQL database.

Amazon Redshift is the data warehouse.  Can be encrypted and isolate.  Support Petabytes of data.

Amazon ElastiCache run Redis cache and MemCached (simple cache).

AWS Lamda – Azure Fundtions.  Serverless.

AWS Elastic Beanstalk – Platform for deploying and scaling web apps & Services.  Same as Azure App services.

Amazon SNS – Pub/Sub model – Azure Event Grid.

Amazon SQS – Message queue.  Same as Azure Storage Queues and Azure Service Bus.

Amazon Step Functions – Workflow. Same as logic apps

AWS Snowball – Same as Azure Box.  Physically copy and transport to data centre for upload.

Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) – Azure virtual network 

Tip: I am glad that I did the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam as it helped my understand of the AWS offering which has been very useful in large integration projects.  I have worked with AWS IaaS (EC2, API gateway and S3 historically).  Like Azure, there are a lot of Services and features.  Basically, there are equivilant services for Azure & AWS.  It may be a 2-to-1 service offering or it is not something offered by the cloud provider.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

AWS vs Azure vs GCP Comparison

Overview:  I predominately use Azure & Microsoft for all my cloud services.  

I have installed multiple SharePoint farms and setups on AWS EC2 instances and I'm currently preparing for the Cloud Practitioner AWS exam.  I have used Google for authentication, SaaS nut not as a IaaS offering.  I'm also a huge fan of Heroku which is great for PaaS and I used this to host my game built for Facebook games.  I've also seen IBM's cloud offering a few years ago.  For me it is too niche and not as feature rich.  So basically I understand Azure's offering well so I found this comparison pretty useful.

My Thoughts:  The contenders:  I really like Heroku for it's simplicity.  I feel for a small Indie developer or company, Heroku has a good free and cheap simple billing options.  GCP, I really can't comment from a good position of knowledge but from what I've used, I like GCP.  GCP is the third biggest Cloud provider.  As a large organisation, I'd only consider the big three: Microsoft Azure, AWS, and GCP to be our cloud partner.  Multi-cloud partner is a demand from some organisations, it's truely extra expensive.  If you are thinking multi-cloud consider Terraform by Hashicorp for IaC.   IBM's offering, well if you are a partner, you cloud go with this option but it is aimed more a large business partners.  IBM's cloud is IaaS focused, with some PaaS offerings but once again I'm not an expert.

AWS, has always been really easy to use.  It is big and complex like Azure with many offerings.  Basically, I'd choose AWS if the organisation was already using it and the people in the org know have experience with AWS.  AWS originally was aimed at the B2C/startup market but was first to market at scale.

Azure, so in my world Azure and O365 feel like the dominant player but the diagram below provides a great insight into the relative size of the Cloud infrastructure market.  Azure SaaS offering O365/M365 is also huge and hosted on Azure.   Azure security is well thought out and their thinking on BYOK and geo-location appear to be important.

There is good resource that goes into looking at the various cloud providers.  My current take away is Amazon is the biggest player in the IaaS field.  Azure has IaaS, a large PaaS offering and a massive SaaS (including Dynamics and O365) offering (Amazon has no equivalent).  I am focused on PaaS solutions for my customers so as to remove the infrastructure and process overheads of IaaS.

Off the top of my head reasons for moving and objections I hear for the cloud regardless of platform:

Why Cloud:

  1. Save Money
  2. More Secure
  3. Fast Delivery/More Agile/Easy to scale/Increase business resilience
  4. Eco-friendly


  1. Lack budget
  2. Spiraling costs
  3. CAPEX model vs OPEX is business common norm that some business find difficult to switch
  4. Resources/Skills
  5. Believe security is an issue/Don't trust the Cloud
  6. Migrate legacy apps (for me don't move to the cloud unless you get significant advantage)

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Onboarding staff and New Starters for SaaS

Overview:  With large SaaS projects, various stakeholders tend to start at different times.  For me it takes a while to get all team members up to speed with: domain knowledge, technical knowledge, our design and big picture, company specifics. 


In person and Teams/Skype meetings are great for building relationships and getting the most information to the new starter.

Record presentations, then shorten and annotate the presentation to make focused high impact onboarding material that can be reused across various roles.

For each starter, ensure they have an introduction/onboarding plan:  Book meetings, get the people the background, have resources e.g. websites, mp4. glossary of terms ready:


List out useful resource specific to the role.  I tend to keep these in SharePoint but as long as content if searchable and consistent and of value, I am in the right place.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Possible Technical Roadmap and thoughts on a startup

Overview:  A friend of mine's son has recently built a web site, and it looks impressive, and we started discussing his project, this turned into a detailed technical conversation to everyone's horror at a BBQ.  This chap is 14, and all I can say is wow.  All hosted and built without spending any money.  I interview many developers, and his knowledge is outstanding.  

I've drawn his architectural explanation below, added a few items to check and what my next piece would be.

Clarification of High Level Design
  1. Build the Native mobile apps, getting users buy-in with a Native App will be considerably higher.  As you have used React, use React Native (React is separate to React Native, a completely new codebase).
  2. Cordova/PhoneGap is a wrapper that would allow you to keep a single code base and merely inject the existing code into Native wrappers for iPhone and Android.  As your app is HTML 5, and already looks like a modern mobile app, I'd use PhoneGap.  At least try it out and see if it fits.  You'd then only have to deal with a single code base to update all the platforms.  You could always use Google's Flutter if you wanted a single code base for the web site and Mobile native apps. 
  3. Ensure your API's are OpenAPI/Swagger
  4. Security - the API already has some protection.  Ensure the database is protected/secured.
Revenue model:  Ads (Gambling Ads pay well). Make a premium-paid for service (keep end-user usage/sign-up free).  Sign-up and collection of money while not directly applicable to this venture, can be done and kept dead simple using Shopify.