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Throughout the last 12 months, I have passed several Microsoft Azure Certification Exams. These exams include the AZ-104, AZ-303, AZ-304, and the AZ-500, earning me the Azure Security, Azure Administration, and Azure Architecture Expertise certifications. I am continuing my certification journey by studying for the AZ-400 and AZ-204 exams to earn Azure DevOps Solutions and Developing Azure Solutions certifications.

These certifications and years of experience working in Microsoft Azure have noticed specific patterns and similarities between the exams. These observations have allowed me to improve my study habits and strategies for taking Azure-focused certification exams. …


Legacy systems are everywhere. We’ve all seen them in our careers, and all avoided doing much with them. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? But what should we do when we need to make changes or the industry we’re in changes? Perhaps update, or rewrite the application, or even choose an alternative solution altogether. If you’re thinking about these problems, you’re in good company. Legacy systems come with inherent risk as time erodes an organization’s expertise in applications and systems, and this erosion is magnified by the criticality of the legacy system. …


This article explains how to locally test, with AWS SAM(Serverless Application Model), a Lambda function + API Gateway created with AWS CDK(Cloud Development Kit).

When using AWS CDK for your infrastructure as code, it can be a pain to figure out how to efficiently test your Lambda functions. Deploying your code to AWS with cdk deploy for every change is slow, having to run a deploy for every code change is not ideal. Luckily it is straightforward to use AWS SAM to test your function locally.

For scenarios where local dev isn’t feasible, get faster deployments to Lambda with cdk…


Within software engineering, and especially the vast (relatively) new world of cloud adoption, it’s acceptable to say that Security isn’t at the forefront of every developer or cloud consultant’s mind. Each team that plays a part in the process of Cloud Development has an objective in their field of view, with Security being sometimes left in the backseat of the Cloud adoption train. …


We’ve all worked on projects where despite best intentions monitoring of the platform or application has been shoe-horned in the week before go-live and, as a result, often ends up monitoring the wrong aspects of the platform. So how can we introduce stories to our backlog at the start of application development to make monitoring and observability one of the foundation stones of every project we develop?

In the past, I’ve spoken about the monitoring river and the journey that we all need to take in order to get from “is the platform up?” through to “how are my users interacting with the application”, and today I’m going to build on that to look at how we can integrate the various stages of the monitoring river into our application.

Often as engineers, we (rightly!) focus our development stories on the user interaction. Stories such as “As a user, I want to be able to add an item to my basket, so I can buy it” are not…


Supply chain attacks rose by 42% in the first quarter of 2021 [1] and are becoming even more prevalent [2]. In response to secure software supply chain breaches like Solar Winds [3], Kaseya[4], and other less publicized compromises [5], the Biden administration issued an executive order that includes guidance designed to improve the federal government’s defense against cyber threats. With all of this comes the inevitable slew of blog posts that detail a software supply chain and how you would protect it. …


The problem with the Cloud is how easy it is to use. It can cost a lot, and quickly!

AWS Accounts

In large organizations, AWS bills can add up quickly. Some companies have 10’s to 100’s of AWS Accounts. For the longest time, using Account boundaries was the best way to ensure a clear separation of costs (as well as security and permission benefits). But using AWS Accounts has never been enough to understand who’s spending what in large organizations appropriately.

AWS Cost Categories

A while back, AWS introduced “AWS Cost Categories,” which is a way to group your cost and usage information into meaningful…


AWS updates their services so quickly they literally have thousands of updates each year (1,284 the last time I checked): https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2021/

This blog will highlight some of my favorite AWS updates for 2021.

AWS Network Firewall

https://aws.amazon.com/network-firewall/ — A managed service by AWS that allows fine-grained control over network traffic.

Before Network Firewall was available, customers were left to manage their own squid proxy or similar service if they wanted fine-grained control over their traffic in the Cloud (like many Enterprise customers do). This meant ensuring their service met security and compliance requirements, traffic and scaling demands, and uptime SLA’s, all while adding…


This is a two-part blog post I’m writing with my colleague Simon Darr, so please read on and stay tuned.

Flood and moisture analysis of wind farm pads using NDWI index derived from Sentinel 2.

Scaling satellite imagery analysis comes in two flavours — scaling to multiple use cases and scaling to navigate billions of pixels. But why would you leverage satellite imagery to begin with?

The availability of satellite images has changed over the last several years. The number of satellites in orbit has increased, increasing the number of revisits along with the availability of high-resolution sources and spectral bands. Also, the cost of acquiring satellite imagery has decreased thanks to smaller satellites, reusable…


Sick of newly created software having the wrong behaviors? Hate the hard-to-understand acceptance criteria? Want to speed up backlog refinement and story estimation? Desire better collaboration with vital stakeholders and SMEs? If you answer yes to any of these questions or just want to improve your Cucumber Gherkin writing, then this article is for you. In addition, Declarative Gherkin is an important element of Contino’s software delivery under its pillars of excellence. Declarative Gherkin fits in the pillars of Enterprise DevOps Transformation and Cloud Native Software Development.

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