AWS Ireland cloud user group gathers speed

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There was cloud talk aplenty at the latest Amazon Web Services (AWS) Ireland user group in Dublin this week. Speakers from BCC, bizmaps and Engine Yard gave refreshingly honest insights from the front line of Ireland’s burgeoning cloud scene.

Last Tuesday saw 50 developers make their way to eir HQ in Dublin for the second AWS Ireland User group meeting.

If you don’t already know about the AWS Ireland User group, it more or less sprung up overnight. The catalyst was real demand for peer discussions around Amazon Web Services and its applications for developers and companies using (or considering) the cloud for deploying systems and apps. With over 100 registered members in the group and growing, there is clear interest emerging in Ireland in cloud. Dublin has a cluster of tech giants deploying data centres, and an eco system for developers is emerging thanks to growing demand for web apps and a buoyant start-up culture.

Eoin Keary from BCC

First up was Eoin Keary from BCC, with a distinct security and cyber threat theme. He reminded us that we can’t improve what we can’t measure and advised listeners to keep benchmarking their cloud and web security against best practice. He also wisely cautioned against “just trying to pass the audit,” but instead to strive to make your cloud based-business more secure: it’s about your organisation’s security, not just scraping past the auditors.

Eoin also noted that the focus on security can be misguided, and true threats overlooked. In a bizarre case in Canada last year, two returning visitors to the USA were detained due to the Kinder eggs in the boot of their car. They had bought the eggs in Vancouver as an Easter treat for their kids but US border guards deemed the toys in the eggs to be a choking hazard for American kids. The US border agency reportedly seized more than 60,000 Kinder eggs in 2011!

Pat Donnelly from bizmaps

Pat Donnelly from bizmaps gave a really engaging talk about his company’s experience of moving from a physical data centre to a cloud-centred virtual private data centre based on AWS.

He described with refreshing honesty his experience of lifting and shifting to AWS, and the difficulties that caused him. He hadn’t prepared a cloud migration strategy in advance, as he was under time pressure and didn’t want the extra cost of a lengthy cloud design process. He said he paid for that mistake later, in time and money. You must design for cloud: EC2 instances are not servers. Don’t hog them: use them and lose them if you don’t need them, and deploy in as few availability zones as you can get away with.

Before you move to AWS think about the best way to deploy, he said; design specifically for EC2; and write specifically for S3. And do use third parties when you can, he advised, citing useful applications from Pingdom, Zendesk and SAAS players.

Kevin Holler from Engine Yard

Kevin Holler from Engine Yard revealed that Engine Yard has 15,000 EC2 instances on AWS! Engine Yard provides Automation and Orchestration services and PAAS to clients and has a few years under its belt now. With offices in San Francisco and Dublin, they are well positioned to add value to the Dublin AWS user community. They heavily use S3, EBS and EC2 and have automated billing for clients for AWS usage.

Tadhg Concannon

Technical Architect Tadhg Concannon wrapped up the meeting by inviting discussion around the various presentations.

Would you like to join us or attend the next AWS Ireland meet up? Just get in touch through the meet up site at AWS-Ireland-Usergroup