Last month Leaf’s Cloud Services team headed up to Chicago for the AWS Summit. Amazon Web Services holds these free summits in many cities around the world. They are a great opportunity for beginners and experienced users alike to network and learn more about the platform. They even provide the chance to take certification exams (which reminded us that we need to keep our Solutions Architect certifications up to date!).
This year it was clear that microservices are taking over. The longest lines were for sessions detailing how to run microservices on Docker or on how to implement them with Serverless techniques using AWS Lambda. The concept of breaking larger applications into smaller services is not new, but with the public descriptions of Service Oriented Architectures like those of AWS and Netflix, it is widely used. We're particularly interested in the organizational benefits of assigning small teams to building and supporting tightly-scoped, loosely coupled services.
An event like this is also a good opportunity to check in with services that have existed for a long time to stay current on new features. A good example of these are AWS Storage Gateway and Elastic Filesystem which have both seen further development since their initial launch. A service that impressed us thoroughly is Aurora: Amazon's enterprise-grade MySQL-compatible database engine. It shows how effectively AWS can squeeze out performance and reliability improvements when they are in control of the whole infrastructure stack. Several of our clients use Aurora, and it is good to see that this will pay dividends as we inherit regular improvements from Amazon's continued development.
Another thing that struck us was the theme of Adrian Cockcroft’s keynote: public cloud providers have moved beyond allowing you to do the same things you did in your datacenter and are now providing capabilities that would be nearly impossible without massive investments in capital and talent. Take this example: CSPAN is annotating all of its video coverage of US politics by sampling frames and running them through Amazon Rekognition to detect the faces of politicians.
It’s obvious that cloud computing has moved beyond the startups. All major enterprises are making use of some form of cloud services and many are “all in”. The uncertainty and fear of moving workloads from your own bespoke data center to a cloud provider is a throwback to the last decade. How are we so sure? Consider this: McDonalds’ global Point of Sale system runs entirely on Amazon Web Services.
From a project perspective, our company launched as the industry was shifting from centralized, mainframe-based computing to distributed PC-based computing. As the 80s rolled over to the 90s, employees at Joseph Graves Associates were providing services across a wide variety of client sizes ranging from accounting services, staff augmentation, and custom development.
As the Internet became a household name, Leaf began providing web development services to adapt to the needs of its clients. Microsoft Visual Basic was a popular platform, and many of Leaf’s clients included traditional companies that were realizing the potential of the efficiencies gained by incorporating computers and networks into their everyday business processes.
2007 saw the release of the first smartphones from companies such as Blackberry and the Apple iPhone. Smartphones have changed many aspects of our business and personal communications. From a technology perspective, many of us are carrying around phones in our pocket that have roughly the processing power of a Cray supercomputer that filled an entire room in 1987.
Leaf has been around to participate in some amazing technology enhancements over the past 30 years. Many other industry shifts are underway, and we plan to post about them on Leaf's brand new technical blog.
Expect to see a wide variety of topics including: