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5 Top Tips for Designing Applications for AWS

Published in: Business
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  1. 1. Phil Dalbeck Principal Engineer Skyscanner
  2. 2. Adopting AWS
  3. 3. Who am I? Phil Dalbeck Principal Engineer 6+ years and counting… Recovering Cloud Skeptic
  4. 4. We aim to be the most trusted and most used online travel brand in the world
  5. 5. Who are Skyscanner? • Europes leading travel metasearch site • Receive nearly 4m unique visitors a days • >900 staff, with 48 nationalities (at last count!) – 50% are Software engineers • Headquartered in Edinburgh, with offices in London, Singapore, Beijing, Shenzen, Tokyo, Miami, Budapest, Sofia, and of course Glasgow • Recently confirmed as one of the UK’s ”Unicorns” • Regard ourselves as a Tech company, rather than a Travel company
  6. 6. Now a bit about all of you… Decision makers or influencers Interested in adopting AWS Have lot of questions, and are not sure who’s advice to take Not sure how to get started Probably a bit skeptical Probably not scared of heights
  7. 7. A brief history of hosting Skyscanner 5000+ Production VM’s 2000+ Development VM’s
  8. 8. Where are we with AWS adoption? In the last 18 months ~1500 EC2 instances Critical Production workloads Nearly 1PB in S3 Aggressive containerization using Docker on ECS (with some in- house secret sauce) Lambda (Functions as a service)
  9. 9. Complete migration? Eventually… but Hybrid Cloud a necessity for now Large legacy codebase Still a few nasty architectural Monoliths to address Another 18 – 24 months.
  10. 10. Why not faster? Manpower and brainpower are finite Faster migration = slower feature delivery
  11. 11. Why have Skyscanner adopted AWS? Scalability Flexibility Reliability Cost optimization Accelerated product delivery
  12. 12. Scalability Rapid growth is a nice problem to have… if you have a solution!
  13. 13. Flexibility Stuff changes. Make sure you can deal with it.
  14. 14. Reliability “Design for failure and nothing will fail”
  15. 15. Cost Optimization Q: How much could your business benefit if every penny you wasted on under utilized capacity could instead be spent on driving growth? (Or paying dividends if that’s your thing)
  16. 16. Accelerating product delivery 3 Years ago  6 to 8 weeks Today 6 to 8 minutes How? AWS supported Containerization and Deployment Automation tooling. API driven infrastructure.
  17. 17. Accelerating product delivery – some examples Skyscanner Facebook Messenger Bot Amazon Alexa travel search
  18. 18. Learn from other peoples mistakes “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.” Niels Bohr
  19. 19. The One Question to ask yourself before you get started What business need does your cloud project satisfy?
  20. 20. The single biggest challenge to AWS adoption today
  21. 21. Skills shortages – Option 1 – Bring in outside help • Advice and hands on support is available from both AWS and a wide range of 3rd party professional services companies. • They can help with discovery, architectural planning, migrations, right up to fully managed services • Take time to decide which partner(s) and what kind of engagement best suit your needs. Be clear with them. • CAUTION: No-one knows your business better than you and your staff. You have the final say!
  22. 22. Skills shortages – Option 2 – Hire in AWS skilled staff • Good luck! • Crippling practical skills shortage (supply and demand spike) • Consultancies often snap up the best candidates • Make sure they are a fit for your culture. Don’t hire on technical skills alone. • Real experience trumps all else. Certification exams aren't that hard to get* • Make sure you are able to properly technically vet your candidates before arranging interviews! Hands on exercises are best!
  23. 23. Skills shortages – Option 3 – Upskill from within • Who will operate things once the consultants leave? • Nobody knows your business better than your own staff • Be ready for some reluctance / apprehension / resistance to reskilling • Managing cloud environments will be a natural career progression for many operational staff in the coming years. • Proficiency takes time and hands on practice. Don’t expect miracles overnight. • Cloud architecture / best practice training is often more valuable than practical training at first. Most will pick up the operational bits quickly with a little hands on practice. • Beware of training staff for their next employer!
  24. 24. Some stuff that isn’t in the manual. Don’t believe everything you read in the documentation The difference in service level between AWS support tiers is huge Before building tools ask AWS if they are in the pipeline already Some pretty important services are not available in every region Architecting for The Cloud: Best Practices < Obligatory read for all staff
  25. 25. A great way to accelerate your AWS journey Form a center of excellence from your keenest / most skilled staff (operational AND developers!) • Inhouse training • Example scripts/templates • Internal consultancy • Run regular demo’s and showcases • Eat the dogfood
  26. 26. Get in touch!
  27. 27. Demystifying the Cloud How to Leverage the AWS Cloud for your Business