Five takeaways from the AWS associate solution architect certification process

alexander koller
May 13 · 4 min read

More and more organizations are moving their analytical workloads to the cloud. SAS is working closely with the major public cloud providers like AWS to streamline deployments of SAS technologies on the cloud.

To understand the implications of deploying SAS on to AWS you need knowledge about how SAS works, but more importantly you need to have a thorough understanding of how AWS works. Deploying SAS technologies on AWS means bringing these two worlds together.

To gain insights on what it would require deploying SAS on AWS, I decided to embark on a journey to get AWS certified.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

To that end, I have recently been studying for the AWS associate solution architect exam. This process has given me some new insights into AWS and I thought others might also find these useful and interesting.

There were, naturally, things I already knew about AWS before I started studying for the AWS exam. These included:

· AWS offers managed database services: a managed database webservice takes care of the underlying hardware for the database, the maintenance on the database and possible licensing fees involved. It is managed by AWS, so is highly scalable. You can easily add more resources with minimum downtime. AWS takes care of most of the aspects of running a database, but you are responsible for securing your data.

· AWS is very much a pay-as-you-go model: AWS services do not require complex agreements and have no hidden fees. You only pay for the services that you consume. You pay less if you consume less and more if you start consuming more services. AWS does, however, offer discounts on services if you reserve capacity up front.

· AWS is the master of simple storage: probably one of the first AWS webservices that anyone hears about is Simple Storage Service or S3 for short. S3 storage is object storage that is scalable and high-performing, offering unlimited storage. It is tightly integrated into other AWS webservices. It can be used to host static websites, for disaster recovery scenarios, and off-premise storage, among other options.

The top five things I learned while preparing for the AWS associate solution architect exam were:

· AWS can make data transfer easy, even with large amounts of data.

1. If you need to move exabytes of data, AWS offers a service called AWS Snowmobile to move data from your on-premise data centers to the cloud. This service makes it easy to move massive volumes of data to the cloud. Did you know that snowmobile is actually a 14-meter-long shipping container pulled by a semi-trailer truck?

· There are good options to improve performance if you need them

2. When you expect a large number of re-requests to be made to your database application, you can increase the durability and performance of the application by introducing a cache. Any data that is requested multiple times will be cached in memory. Most common requests are then handled by your cache, which frees up your database application to focus on processing other requests.

· Using AWS means that you can optimize costs

3. AWS offers computing capacity in the form of EC2 webservices to subscribers. To do so, it has invested in hardware resources. However, it is very unlikely that all these resources will be used at the same time. So, at any given time AWS is likely to have hardware resources sitting idle. Rather then having these go to waste, they are offered at discounted rates through ec2 spot instances. Running workloads that are not mission-critical on these spot instances can save money.

· It is easy to secure your data, even in different privacy regimes

4. AWS offers several services that you can use to store your data. These services can be used across multiple geographical regions, which may have different regulations, certification and frameworks. To allow you to check whether the AWS storage service is consistent with the governance requirements of your local region, AWS offers a service called AWS Artifact. This provides the ability to access and review compliance reports. This can be useful for audit purposes to show that you are compliant.

· The global infrastructure of AWS allows you to quickly expand the reach of your application

5. AWS’s global infrastructure means that you can deploy your application into multiple regions across the globe. This allows you to easily bring your application closer to your users in a particular area, increasing the performance of your application.

Overall, the certification process has been a rewarding one, and I’m glad I participated. I’d love to hear from others abut your experience — did you find any surprises beyond those listed above?

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