A couple years ago I came across the video of a presentation that some young Japanese Solution Architects from AWS hosted at re:Invent 2012. They were presenting architectural solutions in the AWS through a series of Design Patterns.
I found it extremely interesting, because I work in the Cloud Computing industry since years, and many of the traditional concepts of Design Patterns are very resonant with the potentials of cloud. For example: drawing an architectural solution starting from common needs in the whole range of architectures computer systems, or automating predetermined layouts, specific actions based on events, and so on. To test the reception of the academic and professional area on this topic, I hosted a talk on this topic in July 2013, during the Cloud Community Day, an event I organized with EuroCloud Italy in the Politecnico of Milan, a prestigious italian university.
The topic is quite broad, so we will have discuss in a series of posts, starting with this one. Don’t mean to be exhaustive, but hope to inspire you the curiosity shared by many other Patterns enthusiasts.
The concept of AWS Cloud Design Patterns
A good, general definition of a a Design Pattern might be as follows: “A general reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem”. A design pattern is defined by the following elements:
- a Name for the Design Pattern;
- a description or a model to be applied to solve a problem that can occur in different situations during the design process;
- a problem, or the description of the situation you can apply the pattern to;
- a solution describing the elements of the project with the relations and their consequences;
- the consequences, results and constraints resulting from the application of the pattern.
It’s important to remark that, given the rapid innovation of the Cloud services, a design pattern may become obsolete over time, for example due to the release of new services. For example, think to Lambda, the new service that AWS recently launched: it could replace many architectural solutions. Or the new RDBMS service called Aurora: it might become a better solutions for RDS on AWS than other engines. It’s important to stay up-to-date with news like these and update your Design Patterns accordingly.
AWS has no reference nor official documentation about Cloud Design Patterns but they have a good amount of continuously updated “Best Practices” documents available at the AWS Architecture Center. Also, they share a good amount of Whitepapers that you might want to read. Their blog is another place where you can often find many interesting pointers. None of them is primarily focused on Cloud Design Patterns though. So, all in all, this initiative by the three Japanese guys, who work for AWS since several years by the way, seems to be an unofficial effort, probably born as a great evangelizing activities aimed at creating a community of pattern designers.
On the implementation side though, AWS has a service that perfectly blends with the logic of Cloud Design Patterns, and it is Cloud Formation. A solution described by a Design Pattern may be easily transformed into a template of CloudFormation. An intersting software from an AWS partner, that is Cloud Pattern Studio, tries to do just that. It’s a free AMI, published on the AWS Marketplace and produced by Cognizant, which allows you to draw an environment in AWS and to export it as a template of Cloud Formation.
Now, a definition for AWS Cloud Design Patterns might be as follows: “AWS Cloud Design Patterns are a collection of solutions and design ideas aimed at using the AWS Cloud technology to solve common systems design problems”. Following up the breakdown we have seen before, a Cloud Design Pattern might be described as follows:
- Pattern Name/Summary: Pattern name, summary and brief description;
- Solving Issues: Description of typical issues that led to pattern creation, and what issues/challenges can be solved through its implementation;
- Explanation of pattern / Resolution in the cloud: Description of the terms or how to solve the problems in the cloud; why any pattern, or a description of the configuration has become a pattern of what;
- Implementation: Description about how to implement the pattern using AWS;
- Benefits: Description of the benefits from the pattern’s application;
- Notes: Description of tradeoffs, advantages, disadvantages and points to note when applying this pattern;
- Other: Comparison with other patterns, use cases and additional information.
In the next post we will see an application of these patterns to a practical use case, to have a better idea of how Cloud Design Patterns can help you designing effective architectures in real-life scenarios.
WaitCondition Controls the Pace of AWS CloudFormation Templates
AWS's WaitCondition can be used with CloudFormation templates to ensure required resources are running.As you may already be aware, AWS CloudFormation is used for infrastructure automation by allowing you to write JSON templates to automatically install, configure, and bootstrap your ...
The 9 AWS Certifications: Which is Right for You and Your Team?
As companies increasingly shift workloads to the public cloud, cloud computing has moved from a nice-to-have to a core competency in the enterprise. This shift requires a new set of skills to design, deploy, and manage applications in the cloud.As the market leader and most mature p...
Two New EC2 Instance Types Announced at AWS re:Invent 2018 – Monday Night Live
The announcements at re:Invent just keep on coming! Let’s look at what benefits these two new EC2 instance types offer and how these two new instances could be of benefit to you. If you're not too familiar with Amazon EC2, you might want to familiarize yourself by creating your first Am...
Google Cloud Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites
Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2018, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the first time. In t...
Understanding AWS VPC Egress Filtering Methods
In order to understand AWS VPC egress filtering methods, you first need to understand that security on AWS is governed by a shared responsibility model where both vendor and subscriber have various operational responsibilities. AWS assumes responsibility for the underlying infrastructur...
S3 FTP: Build a Reliable and Inexpensive FTP Server Using Amazon’s S3
Is it possible to create an S3 FTP file backup/transfer solution, minimizing associated file storage and capacity planning administration headache?FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a fast and convenient way to transfer large files over the Internet. You might, at some point, have conf...
Microservices Architecture: Advantages and Drawbacks
Microservices are a way of breaking large software projects into loosely coupled modules, which communicate with each other through simple Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).Microservices have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The modular architectural style,...
What Are Best Practices for Tagging AWS Resources?
There are many use cases for tags, but what are the best practices for tagging AWS resources? In order for your organization to effectively manage resources (and your monthly AWS bill), you need to implement and adopt a thoughtful tagging strategy that makes sense for your business. The...
How to Optimize Amazon S3 Performance
Amazon S3 is the most common storage options for many organizations, being object storage it is used for a wide variety of data types, from the smallest objects to huge datasets. All in all, Amazon S3 is a great service to store a wide scope of data types in a highly available and resil...
How to Optimize Cloud Costs with Spot Instances: New on Cloud Academy
One of the main promises of cloud computing is access to nearly endless capacity. However, it doesn’t come cheap. With the introduction of Spot Instances for Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) in 2009, spot instances have been a way for major cloud providers to sell sp...
What are the Benefits of Machine Learning in the Cloud?
A Comparison of Machine Learning Services on AWS, Azure, and Google CloudArtificial intelligence and machine learning are steadily making their way into enterprise applications in areas such as customer support, fraud detection, and business intelligence. There is every reason to beli...
How to Use AWS CLI
The AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) is for managing your AWS services from a terminal session on your own client, allowing you to control and configure multiple AWS services.So you’ve been using AWS for awhile and finally feel comfortable clicking your way through all the services....