How to become an AWS Cloud Architect

How to become an AWS Cloud Architect? Here are areas you’ll need to work on.

As AWS grows ever stronger and more attractive, more and more companies are migrating their deployments. But there’s a large difference between designing for a physical environment versus a cloud environment. Architecturing for AWS requires a good understanding of AWS concepts and services. If you’ve got that knowledge, all kinds of AWS architect jobs will open up for you.
So: how to become an AWS Cloud Architect?
Transition into that role from admin has to be not so hard. Here are areas you’ll need to work on.If you’re already an AWS engineer, it is really not difficult to transition into an AWS Architect. All you need to do is focus on some very specific areas and work on them. This blog post will point you towards that goal.

How to become an AWS Cloud Architect by Cloud Academy
Architecture

The AWS Cloud Architect: key principles

An AWS architect must have a sound understanding cloud computing principles like high availability, disaster recovery, scalability and security. AWS Architects should also understand more general application and business requirements so you can better identify recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO). An AWS architect should always design his architecture for failure by thinking through possible fail points and asking himself “what if a piece in my architecture failed an hour from now? Will that failure affect functionality or cause a service outage?” If the answer to either question is “yes,” how can you avoid it?
Figuring out answers for these questions isn’t enough. You should also ask yourself what would happen if AWS itself has some kind of outage (it does happen)? Is your application ready to deal which an availability zone or regional failure? Do you have disaster recovery plan ready? Identifying a correct disaster recovery plan for your architecture depends on your application’s RTO and RPO.
You’ll also need to understand your application’s scalability requirement. If you are designing architecture for an e-commerce website, you need to focus a lot upon scalability as the traffic on an e-commerce website can increase multiple folds from one hour to the next. This is where autoscaling and load balancing might make sense. If, on the other hand, you are hosting an internal ERP system on cloud, it is fairly easy to predict the number of concurrent users and design accordingly.
Security is critical. Besides the AWS shared security responsibility model, an AWS Architect should understand a business’ security requirements and recommend appropriate compliance. If you are deal with a financial institutions or hold user credit card information, you’ll need to properly apply Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) requirements within an architecture satisfying these compliance requirements and security assessment procedures. While working with healthcare organization, you need to understand the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) – or any local equivalent. General application security understanding that can helps you close security loopholes at every level of your architecture can also be critical.

Hands-on AWS Experience

Continuing to explore the theme of how to become an AWS architect, we need to say that before transitioning into an AWS architect role, spending time getting hands-on experience on multiple AWS services while working as an AWS engineer can also help you to understand the complexity involved along with possible crucial workarounds. For example, AWS RDS SQL Server does not support timezone change: it’s always in UTC. But your customer might need his data in EST. So it is important for you to know how to satisfy the demand. (you can, by the way, either handle this at application layer or setup a stand-alone SQL Server on an Amazon EC2 Instance).
Hands-on experience also helps you to understand capability of each AWS service and how much it can support. While playing the role of an AWS architect, it is important to recommend correct instance sizing for your EC2, RDS, ElastiCache, etc instances. Incorrect instance sizing can lead to application functionality issues when higher load is witnessed or wasteful over-provisioning of resources. Cost efficiency is very much a required consideration.
You’ll need to work with business analysts to predict application growth and identify an architectural model that can meet future demand. You have to be future-ready.

Operating System, Networking, and Storage

Cloud deployments may be an abstraction layer built on top of virtualization, but that doesn’t make the compute infrastructure any less real. To correctly design and predict system behavior and performance, AWS architects must understand operating systems, networking, storage, and basic application designing fundamentals just as much as anyone else. Intimate knowledge of operating system fundamentals help you make the correct call when, for instance, choosing Windows or Linux for hosting your application. Networking fundamentals allow you to predict how your application components will connect to each other. If there are any routing or port issues with your environment, it will help you to trace the movement of traffic and identify whether it’s a VPC routing issue, blocked port at the security group level, or your firewall.
Understanding storage fundamentals helps you to know whether to go with magnetic disks, general purpose SSDs, or provisioned IOPS SSDs. To be able to successfully recommend a suitable webserver, or application, caching, or database servers for your applications, you’ll need to understand application layer fundamentals. For example : when designing for scalability, you should understand session management requirements and, thereby, recommend a suitable solution (whether AWS Elasticache, DynamoDB, etc).

How to become an AWS Cloud Architect: AWS feature updates

Amazon Web Services is evolving rapidly and regularly releases new features, upgrades and services. Last year alone, AWS released nearly 400 features. It is very important for an AWS architect to be aware of these change so they can fine tune their architecture and create performance improvements, cost savings, complexity reduction, etc.
You should also keep up with the AWS community. There are many cool products being built around AWS which can provide great value to your architecture. For example, there is an open source tool called s3fs which allows you to mount your S3 buckets on your instances. You might also consider some of the AWS and application log analysis tools developed by AWS partners that are currently available, along with many others, through AWS Marketplace.

Documentation, whitepapers, case studies and AWS videos

Concluding the topic “how to become an AWS Cloud Architect”: besides the material and courses available though Cloud Academy, AWS documentation is perhaps your strongest resource for information on AWS services and features. From sample use-cases to how-to guides, it is well written and thorough. For each AWS service, there is a getting started guide covering initial configuration, and more detailed documentation for all the fine details you’re likely to encounter. There’s language-specific API information for developers, CLI tools for DevOps engineers, and management console guides for the cloud engineer.
AWS also produces wide range of whitepapers, case studies and videos which can get up to production quickly. Case studies and customer success stories videos also exist to help you to understand how other organizations are making use of AWS and designing their architecture.

Written by

Head of Managed Services at REAN Cloud. Before joining REAN Cloud, I was CEO and Founder of StraightArc Solutions which was later acquired by REAN Cloud.I started my career working on cloud computing. Loves to talk about DevOps, System Administration, Scalability, High Availability, Disaster Recovery and Cloud Security. Apart from work, I love to meet people, travel and watch sports.

Related Posts

— November 28, 2018

Two New EC2 Instance Types Announced at AWS re:Invent 2018 – Monday Night Live

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. Both of the new instance types are built on the AWS Nitro System. The AWS Nitro System improves the performance of processing in virtualized environments by...

Read more
  • AWS
  • EC2
  • re:Invent 2018
— November 21, 2018

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...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
Khash Nakhostin
— November 13, 2018

Understanding AWS VPC Egress Filtering Methods

Security in AWS is governed by a shared responsibility model where both vendor and subscriber have various operational responsibilities. AWS assumes responsibility for the underlying infrastructure, hardware, virtualization layer, facilities, and staff while the subscriber organization ...

Read more
  • Aviatrix
  • AWS
  • VPC
— November 10, 2018

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...

Read more
  • Amazon S3
  • AWS
— October 18, 2018

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,...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Microservices
— October 2, 2018

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...

Read more
  • AWS
  • cost optimization
— September 26, 2018

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...

Read more
  • Amazon S3
  • AWS
— September 18, 2018

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...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
— August 23, 2018

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...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Machine Learning
— August 17, 2018

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....

Read more
  • AWS
Albert Qian
— August 9, 2018

AWS Summit Chicago: New AWS Features Announced

Thousands of cloud practitioners descended on Chicago’s McCormick Place West last week to hear the latest updates around Amazon Web Services (AWS). While a typical hot and humid summer made its presence known outside, attendees inside basked in the comfort of air conditioning to hone th...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Summits
— August 8, 2018

From Monolith to Serverless – The Evolving Cloudscape of Compute

Containers can help fragment monoliths into logical, easier to use workloads. The AWS Summit New York was held on July 17 and Cloud Academy sponsored my trip to the event. As someone who covers enterprise cloud technologies and services, the recent Amazon Web Services event was an insig...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS Summits
  • Containers
  • DevOps
  • serverless