Having worked in North America for 5 year prior to joining Cloudreach in France during 3 years helped me see how far behind we were in terms of cloud adoption in France. But during these 3 years I really got the opportunity to see AWS, GCP and Azure convincing all the large French companies and the cloud becoming more mature and an acceptable and safe option.
Some of the motivators that force companies to move to the Cloud:
Startups that began to compete with them and are faster are executing because they are already in the Cloud
Number of new services available in the Cloud, automating common solutions and making costly existing internal processes or VMs completely useless
IoT, AI, Containers, Datalake and data processing speed capabilities offered by the Cloud
Unique capabilities of the Cloud to innovate and play with different services very quickly
Large companies that successfully made the move to the Cloud, removing doubts that some C-level had in the past
Cool and trendy technologies making recruitment of talents easier
I have seen companies mostly struggling with:
Designing an organised Landing Zone that will host everything that they will create in the Cloud
Setting up correct permissions and roles for user access and machine authentication
Building their network including planning for the future of their organisation
Choosing the right tools for automation of their infrastructure and their applications
Estimating the cost of their infrastructure and optimising it after the first month of use
Dealing with operations after the creation of the resources
Bad knowledge of Cloud providers SLAs for the services they use and what they need to change to make it acceptable for production
Pro tips to make the move easier
Train your employees and help them to get certified with the fantastic ACloudGuru, Coursera and Udemy. Yes the certifications are costly and a very good business for Cloud providers but they will assure a correctly set up infrastructure.
Having an experienced Cloud Architect among your team will make a significant difference. Read the Well Architected Framework from AWS. Document as much as you can, make clean designs with Lucidchart and their library of AWS, Azure and GCP icons. Iterate and keep them up-to-date.
In terms of infrastructure automation, most companies are using the solution made by their Cloud provider or Terraform. For application automation many solutions are available on the market like Ansible, Chef, Puppet, etc. Don’t try to do both with the same tool.
If you call for help to automate your infrastructure, don’t let a company or a partner just deliver the code to you. Train your people first and make them participate to the code reviews until they are able to reuse and make their own templates.
To conclude, every company has its own level in term of Cloud Adoption: some are slowly moving to instances with a bit of automation, others are born with containers and serverless. Whatever your situation is, I hope this post would have helped. Enjoy your cloudy adventure!
Taking the GCP Architect exam is quite a challenge as there is very little study material or practice questions available at the time of writing this post.
I first took the Coursera GCP Fundamentals for AWS Architects class. Note that I passed the 5 AWS certifications prior to this exam so it helped a lot to not review the concepts of services that basically do the same thing on AWS and GCP
Play with the platform as much as you can (App Engine, Compute Engine, Network, Firewall, Tags, Load Balancers and IAM in priority)
To sum up the exam without saying too much, it was 50 questions for a total of 120 minutes. Timing is friendly, I had about 15-20 minutes left before the end. Half of the exam worked pretty easily by proceeding by elimination to remove the craziest answers. I was surprise to see a split screen with questions on the left and a listbox on the right allowing to switch between the 4 use cases available at the moment.
About 15 questions were related to use cases. They seemed more complex, even confusing sometimes. I had to use only 2 use cases out of 4, the rest of the questions is more general and seemed to be what I would categorize as medium level questions.
Important points to review
Prepare yourself with the 4 use cases available, work on them for an hour as if they were your customer and how you would deal with each point (means which service you would use on GCP instead of what they have)
Read about BQ, Bigtable, CloudStorage, Pub/Sub, Dataflow, Dataproc and when to use all of them
Container engine vs Compute Engine vs App Engine
Know cloud related business terms: capex, opex, tco, capacity planning
Best practices regarding IAM, audit logs and how to secure them
Know resources that are global vs regional vs zonal (some major differences with AWS)
Know how are structured the different databases
Learn everything about instance groups, load balancers, stress tests
CI/CD on GCP, how to architect perfectly dev/qa/stg/prod environments
You will have to look at Java and Python code as expected
Cloud deployment manager is part of the exam and interesting to know in details
Migration: how do you deal with existing DC, move data around, etc
Network: VPN, firewall, tags
Once again, good luck to everyone taking this exam!