Although it's annoying to be at the bottom of a new stack of software and methodology, at least now there is a visible ladder. AWS is offering professional certification and I've started on that path. Over my career there have rarely been occasions when I have been drawn to the idea of certification. It's just doing what I do that matters. But I have to say that what Amazon is offering is the first time I have looked at a very practical, large scale computing platform that makes sense in the biggest realm since I studied XNS at Xerox back in the 80s. I'm sure that there were people who saw SNA and the 360 world back at IBM at the same period in time in this comprehensive way - so let me say it bluntly. AWS is what IBM was. The rest is just a matter of time and market share. And you have to look at it at that level - well, if you're stuck with the kind of mindset I'm stuck with you have to keep that perspective.
Microsoft had the same ambition, bless their hearts, but they mistook a compute size for a compute world. That is to say until Dell started building badass servers on the Microsoft platform, MSFT itself was locked into front office computing - and it is the seduction of that money that allowed (Thank God) Linux to leap into the gap. Back in the day DEC was all about that end to end compute platform as well, and HP managed to hobble along. Sun Micro did the exact reverse of Microsoft if you ask me. I cannot understand how SunOS and Solaris never managed to gain a reasonable foothold in the front office. Oh wait, they were overpriced. And the Linux desktop leaped in, almost. Apple did a finely focused job on a few places and were insanely great, but I think it was patience, in the end that allowed the Mac to survive. It's hard to say whether or not Sun could have made a desktop as finely crafted as Apple, but then again, they weren't really trying.
So now we are back to AWS - to huge systems architectures on the scale of XNS, SNA and DECnet. Where those three were closed, AWS is open, piggy backing on the best and probably not dependent on TCP/IP like the rest. I haven't heard the term 'SONNET Ring' in a long time. Nor FDDI. I used to hear a lot of that when I looked at huge architectures, and so I suspect that such network technology is embedded in the AWS Region and Availability Zone architecture. Embedded and invisible where it belongs. I can't say that I generally think this large, and it's rather surprising that I do so as an individual. I never expected that such small teams in such entrepreneurial commerce might think and execute at such large levels. The last time I tried to envision such were when I considered Black Rocket and then the launch of Joyent. These were the guys who said they have the whole web thing licked.
By the way, what I've learned is that Linux hacking is way more important than I ever considered, because in fact few people are inventing new stuff as much as they are cobbling together interesting pieces in interesting combinations. Those pieces often go open, or at least people tend to talk about them openly. But the kind of visions I've been plagued with made me think that there were larger software engineering development teams than there probably are.
So it's clear to me that AWS is the place to be. They are the computing platform and I can clearly see a great deal more of IT from the perspective of the infrastructure AWS provides. Consequently I can implement more ideas that make for more comprehensive solutions. The first cert on this pathway is AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate Level. And there will be more as soon as they finish developing the curriculum. I'm after the first cert ASAP.Having passed the preliminaries, it's clear that AWS has evolved in an organic fashion. They have taken logical steps and addressed particular business cases, and I can see that in the shape of the classes so far. The simple products that have been around are now yeilding to more complex offerings, and the integration is good. There are some slightly troublesome areas for us at Full360 but only because we have customers outside of the main US Virginia region. We expect those to be handled over time. So, no big deal.