Architecture the signs of designing buildings and all the physical structures and environments. But what happens when we apply it to a technology where there are no physical structures to work with?
Let's begin with thinking of architecture in the sense of designing and forming structures and applying critical thinking to the functions of various components, whether you are architecting a house or computing infrastructure, this is the same.
When designing a house, the architect must ask more questions to understand the criteria in building a house. Is it for a single person in the city, the large family in a rural area, or the next mansion for Scrooge McDuck? The same is true of a Cloud Architect, beyond general wishes there is a need to understand the inner workings too.
Just as an architect for a home knows to attach an unsuite to the master bedroom and not garden shed. A cloud architect needs to understand a virtual machine doesn't work without a network or storage attached to it.
Cloud architecture skills
Building cloud architecture is a fine balance of art and deep technical knowledge in the cloud. Therefore, it is very often a role for a more experienced person, someone who has dealt with the nuances of cloud technology in order to deliver a solution that meets the needs of the big picture. To get a sense of what I mean by nuances, let's look at some things that a cloud architect needs to be.
Cloud computing fundamentals
Firstly, Cloud Architects need a solid understanding of cloud computing fundamentals and its advantages and disadvantages. So you must complete proper education and training to get designation like aws certified cloud practitioner
Cloud services knowledge
Secondly, Cloud Architects need a solid knowledge of the options and limitations that cloud services can provide because they develop and coordinate the cloud architecture of the organization. This means laying the requirements, challenges, business needs, compliance restrictions, and more to eventually complete the organizational puzzle without any spare pieces left behind.
Thirdly, Cloud Architects need to be able to communicate like really communicate. You need to be able to listen, understand, take what you hear and apply that to your problem-solving. Not all of the problems that you'll be presented with will be strictly technical, nor will their solutions.
Remember you as a c are the advocate for cloud adoption. Your solutions need to be cost-effective, scalable and give your stakeholders not only what they want, but the stability and security they need. So advocate with knowledge because without it, it would be like a student teaching the class.
If you're hearing this and thinking, Oh, I think I need to brush up on some of my skills. That's fine. Here is a list of resources that can help get you the skills you need to become a Cloud Architect.
- AWS Cloud Architect Learning Path
- Mastering the AWS Well-Architected Framework
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate SAA-CO2
- AZ-300 Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies 2020
- Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect 2020
- AZ-301 Microsoft Azure Architect Design 2020
A day architecting for the clouds
So what does a day up in the clouds look like for an architect? Well, in no particular order, it can include establishing best practices for cloud usage within an organization. Discussing real business problems and identifying opportunities with cloud technologies, overseeing governance, AKA the rules and standards the cloud environment must abide by. IT security task to monitor privacy and develop incident response procedures. Plans to mitigate any risks that security and governance might have helped identify. Estimating cloud infrastructure costs and meeting budgets. And of course, design and implement their cloud infrastructure. The tasks are large in responsibility and far-reaching in impact, but that is part of the appeal of being a cloud architect. Big choices, big impact.
The big picture
Let's take a look at how cloud architects have made a big impact. In fact, it saved people's lives. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York was doing a research project into DNA sequences of breast and ovarian cancer patients. In order to find links between the DNA and the diseases, they ended up with more than 100 terabytes of data, which needed to be stored and cataloged that's just way too much data to be handled using traditional solutions. And all that information would have been almost unusable due to the resources needed to process it.
When thinking of ways around this, they sent a list of criteria. The solution had to be cost-effective, always available, and fast. Using Cloud Architects, they developed a fully cloud enabled solution that not only met their criteria, but was also more secure and offered a more collaborative approach to using the data.
They saved thousands of dollars and cut costs to the equivalent of one day's worth of lunch. The researchers could then focus on using the data to save lives instead of just focusing on the resources, just to use it.
Paths to cloud architecture
Cloud Architecture is the pinnacle of working with and in cloud while are drawing buildings and bridges. You are using your knowledge experience and intuition to build the strongest and most durable cloud infrastructure. This is the tricky part because there is no set path to becoming a Cloud Architect. Just as children play with Lego, not all are destined to become master builders. It's only through experience and several projects that you can find yourself on a path towards becoming a Cloud Architect.
You could start out in IT support, then go to a System Engineering role that could lead to a Database Administrator job, and then onto a Cloud Architect role.
You could start out as a Developer, learn about DevOps and then build out system deployment processes that could lead to a Principal Developer job, and then onto the Cloud Architect role.
You could focus on the data side and understand how data enters a system and become a Principal System Administrator, and then onto the Cloud Architect role.
But there are many ways to peel the apple.
So you want to be a cloud architect?
So you want to be a Cloud Architect, but what's next through supporting roles. You will get some design and architecture knowledge, garnish it with cloud certifications and a Cloud Architecture certification from AWS, GCP or Azure for a huge advantage. Build on your communication skills and logical problem-solving skills to a point that you can preempt situations.