AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional 2020

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AWS services becoming huge and complex

The more I learn about AWS it also raises more questions. One is whether the platform does not become overly complex with so many services, also often overlapping eachother. On one hand its nice to have all the options but whats the point to have two services that basically differ only one small feature from eachoter. This complexity and options puts huge demands on developers and architects etc and makes optimizing costing also a challenge. So end of the day you depend more and more on AWS prof services which probably aren’t cheap either. Also your staff needs to get more and more propriety certs so they get locked in as well and when they move on leaving a gap.

Does anyone know how AWS compares with Azure e.g. wrt complexity. And does Azure and Google also have free tiers as well which is a tempting way to get started but once your business grows and runs out? How do you decide what cloud provider to choose, AWS, Azure, Google that’s best for you? Once the decision is made its not that easy to change.

3 Answers

Hi Jeroen,

All your points and questions are completely valid.  That’s part of the business decision making process that should go into deciding (1) to cloud or not then (2) cloud strategy then (3) which provider or providers.  There’s really no standard criteria.  Factors can include geography, regulatory coverage, ability to negotiate, willingness of the provider to win your logo, etc.

The vendor lock-in point has been covered here before in other posts.  Anyone who’s been around IT for a while will recall IBM’s efforts at "retention of customers" as it is pleasantly called in the 80’s and 90’s…then that well dried up and they were left scrambling for a while.  (See also Oracle, Microsoft, HP and many other giants who we thought would never waiver.)

All the providers have some entry-level or free tier…that’s just standard for today’s market.  I think GCP gives you about $300 in credit to get started for example.

The overlap of services is something that is kind of a by-product of innovation.  You introduce Service X and people start using it.  A few years later, you introduce Service Y that does all the stuff Service X did and more.  Because lots of people built mission critical apps using Service X, you can’t just shut it down  (unless you’re Google…then yes you shut it down).  You can encourage people to migrate over by creating financial incentives or offering help, but that’s not really within the control of the Provider.

However, this situation is not unique to cloud providers though.  Any software provider struggles with the same thing, trying to keep their customers on a recent version of their newest product and phasing out old products.

Lots and lots of material has been written on the things you point out and ultimately, it’s just part of the decision process.


[ACG] Stephen Sennett

Very well said!

Alessandro Behling

Well said indeed, the more these services evolve and the more features they get the better. Change is good, more change is even better !! Embrace it 🙂 I’d rather having to (re)-learn how a certain feature of a given service works from time to time, it’s probably fair to say, (adding to Scott’s point) innovation drives such changes along side competition, gone are the days where we were forced to stick to a monolith build by IBM or some other crumbling giant.

To answer your question of which Cloud Provider to choose, it often depends on what your customer/business needs. Some companies already run most of their environment on Windows based servers and utilize Office 365 so migrating or implementing a Hybrid Cloud with Azure makes more sense. Some companies have more Linux servers or run a container heavy environment which would benefit from a Google or AWS cloud offering. You must also take into account whether there are discounts for each, i.e. my company is an APN partner and we offer certain discounts for AWS customers through our premier partnership. Others may be a Gold Microsoft partner and can offer discounts for Azure.

AWS is significantly more complex than Azure- in many ways. Number of services, features and options, many many overlapping services- compounding confusion.

Constantly new services and features keep coming – impossible to keep up. The Best Practices keep evolving, what was best practice yesterday is no longer today- endlessly chasing your tail.

To setup even a basic service/application requires many steps- mostly the defaults don’t suffice : Keys, roles, permissions, VPC, Subnet, SG,….. In AWS you can slice and dice to no end. 

Azure is simple(er) – you cant slice and dice much only, so you get only that much – but it generally works.

Nonetheless, AWS is definitely far more mature and stable (bug free).

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