From Cloud Certification to Use in Practice: Setting Up Projects + Cloud Architecture Diagram

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Not so long ago, before the big technological boom triggered, organizations preferred traditional computing models to meet their data-handling requirements. For example, within on-premises infrastructure, data management was happening within the organization’s computer systems and data centers, storing all the physical components such as servers, routers, backup devices, ethernet cables, etc. A prevalent approach still applied by many, is a client-server model where the central server receives and responds according to the client's requests. It is widely implemented in various surroundings such as web browsing, email services, database management, etc.

The list of disadvantages of these and other traditional architecture systems is almost never-ending. Starting with enormous expenses for IT infrastructure implementation, the constant risk of network collapse, 24/7 electricity usage, demand for IT professionals to manage and control the systems accordingly, low reliability and control over the data security protocols; all this, in addition to the head-spinning momentum in which technology is running, led us naturally to creating something more promising and perspective that we today call Cloud Computing

Due to the appearance of cloud platforms and the as-a-service options, IT professionals are expected to quickly adapt and cooperate with new releases that occur literally every day.

Since the beginning of Inviggo’s tech journey, we have excelled in delivering cutting-edge solutions for many partners and have successfully stayed ahead of tech innovations. Equally important, we continue to support and invest in our team members’ career paths, as we understand that tech innovations demand up-to-date knowledge and skill improvement to deliver the best solutions possible. With that said, we began our journey towards Cloud Certification months ago.

The Current State of Cloud Computing

According to the survey on cloud in 2014 by The IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing, it was reported that 69% of businesses are already using cloud technologies, while 18% said they plan to implement cloud computing solutions at some point. Almost ten years later, The O’Rilleys survey resulted in 90% of business respondents stating they actively use cloud technologies. Based on the numbers, it is no surprise it is expected to witness cloud shifting from an optional to a necessary component for maintaining business competitiveness by 2028.

General Types of Cloud Service Providers

By Google’s definition, A CSP (cloud service provider) is a third-party company that provides scalable computing resources that businesses can access on demand over a network, including cloud-based computing, storage, platform, and application services.

Among many, there are three types of cloud service providers:

Leaders in Cloud Certification - AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP 

For already skilled developers looking for additional education, opting for cloud certification will bring a significant benefit. It may not be a direct presentation of the experience itself, but it certainly provides software engineers with comprehensive knowledge. Since the cloud is expected to become mandatory and not just optional for delivering successful business operations, there’s no way it will bypass technical sectors no matter the industry. 

Currently, the most reputable and highest-paying certifications are of three major cloud computing services: 

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Each service provider offers multiple certifications, so adjusting one’s choice according to the company’s needs would definitely make sense. Since AWS and Google provide eleven, and Microsoft twelve certifications, it is hardly possible to manage all of them, so choosing only a few wisely can contribute to developers with an amazing knowledge upgrade. 

Since AWS is the world's most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud service provider, we’ll start with its certification system first. 

AWS Certification

AWS has divided its certification into four levels, each applicable to the specific roles and responsibilities.

Microsoft Azure Certification

Even though AWS is currently more popular, Azure is catching up quickly, making it a strong competitor in the cloud services market. So let’s go through its certification options as well. 

Same as for AWS, Microsoft has divided its certifications into three main levels, each applicable to the specific responsibility area - Infrastructure, Data and AI, Digital App and Innovation, Modern work, Business applications, and Security.

As said before, there are twelve Azure certifications classified into three levels with specific Azure certifications selected:

My advice for anyone just starting with Cloud Certification would be to focus on the building blocks and learn the core concepts to understand the big picture. After that, you can focus on individual cloud service groups (storage, computing, security, databases, etc.) and learn the services they offer. Also, if you have the resources you should test your knowledge in practice and build a basic app on the cloud. - Milica Siriški, AWS Explorer

Google Cloud Platform Certification

Despite being in third place among the Big Three, GCP is gaining significant market share with strong AI, Machine Learning, and data analytics tools. 

Its certification system is also divided into three levels, offering specific responsibility certificates:

Must-have skills for Successful Cloud Computing

The following information is based on the experience of our employees so far. We have gathered their insights to highlight the essential skills for every developer working on delivering the best solutions possible while working with specific cloud technologies. 

No matter the specifications, to efficiently work on a project, a broad understanding of the cloud and DevOps cycle is necessary. It is usually more important to be familiar with the concepts than the actual provider. Professionals can easily find the single service from the provider that needs to be adjusted, but the required changes can be adjusted much faster if there is a significant familiarity with the concept itself. 

Depending on the specifications of the project, the desirable knowledge and skills may vary. If the project is being built on Azure Architecture, it would potentially require a solid understanding of Azure Functions and CosmosDB knowledge.

If you are a passionate mobile developer and your project requires skills in building within the GCP architecture, it is recommended to master Firebase products, Authentication, Analytics, Messaging, Crashlytics, etc. These are most commonly preferred in mobile application development and monitoring. 

Our Internal Projects: Selfnest and Baby Bloom Cloud Architecture

Next to delivering digital products for our partners, our mission is building our own in-house projects that we strongly believe in. Throughout these processes, we've gained extensive insights on the correct approach to development, striving to make our projects models of cutting-edge development practices.

First of all, Cloud Architecture is essential for building in the cloud, connecting all the necessary components and technologies for cloud computing. This includes hardware, software, software capabilities, and virtual network systems interacting to create functional computing environments. 

The four main layers of cloud architecture are:

  1. Physical layer - hardware infrastructure of the cloud
  2. Infrastructure layer - servers and storage 
  3. Platform layer - development and deployment tools
  4. Application layers - software applications accessible via the cloud

Cloud Architecture Diagrams are a great way to visually represent the project organization within a specific cloud computing environment. Since the infrastructure of these services is often complex, diagrams are an effective way to present the cloud architecture. 

Our projects, Selfenst and BabyBloom, were built on two cloud architecture services, as presented in the architecture diagrams below. 

Selfnest

Selfnest is an online platform for connecting psychotherapists with those in need, wherever and whenever they want. Users have the option to remain anonymous throughout the entire process and decide on a preferred user package with live and/or real-time chat sessions. 

The Selfnest development team operates on two sides: client and therapist accounts, which means double work for the team of developers striving to ensure its functionalities function perfectly at any time. In May 2023 we successfully launched the first Selfnest Android application. Currently, our team is busy focusing on finalizing the iOS version which we expect to be launched in the following months. 

Selfnest project environment and cloud architecture

What challenges/mistakes were made and what lessons were learned?

It was a learning experience for all developers so a lot of mistakes were made, and later improved. The one I plan on tackling is migrating to a solution like AWS Cognito for user authentication and authorization.

Baby Bloom

Baby Bloom is Inviggo’s second project, created to support women's physical and mental health throughout pregnancy planning and the pregnancy period. It is designed to motivate women to nurture their babies as well as their well-being.

The project was developed on the cloud using Microsoft Azure Cloud Services from scratch. 

Babybloom project environment and cloud architecture

What are the benefits of using and implementing cloud technologies from scratch on a project:

The benefits of using the cloud are numerous but the most important ones are security, scalability, and speed of iterations. Simply using the cloud will not improve the quality of the product, but by following the best practices for cloud usage, we can be confident that our product will be stable, secure, and scalable.

Excited to be on the journey of cloud certification, we can proudly say that the Inviggo team is on its way to becoming a future AWS partner. We believe that by giving attention to what makes our services unique and approach professional, we deliver the best solutions possible, customed to our partner’s needs on a long-term basis.