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November 29, 2016By Mark Bloom

AWS – The Biggest Supercomputer in the World

AWS is one of the greatest disruptive forces in the entire enterprise technology market. Who would have thought when they launched in 2006, it was going to kick off perhaps the most transformative shift in the history of the $300B data center industry. Over 25,000 people (or 0.0003% of the World’s population) are descending on Vegas this week to learn more about AWS, the biggest supercomputer in the world.

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As we get ready to eat, drink, network and learn, I wanted to provide some responses to inquiries I often get from prospects, reporters and folks who I meet at various conferences around the country.

What advice would you pass on to anyone deciding to use AWS for public cloud storage?

  • Understand the IaaS provider’s shared security model. In Amazon’s case, AWS is responsible for the infrastructure. The customer is responsible for the security of everything that runs on that infrastructure – The applications, the workloads and the data. Make sure any additional service you use on top of that have pursue their own security certifications and attestations to protect data at rest and in motion. This will allay fears and give people comfort in sending data through a SaaS-based service. We find that organizations are making different decisions based on the trust level they have with their partners, and we at Sumo Logic take this very seriously investing millions to achieve and maintain on an ongoing basis, these competitive differentiators. Too many people try to live vicariously through the certifications AWS has and pass this on as adequate
  • Understand the benefits you are hoping to achieve before you start (i.e. Better pricing / reduced cost; Easier budget approvals (CAPEX vs. OPEX); Increase Business Agility; Increase flexibility and choices of what programming models, OS, DB and architectures make sense for the business; Increased security; Increased workload scalability / elasticity, etc.)

How can we maximize AWS’s value?

  • Crawl, walk, run – it is a learning curve that will take time to master. Adopt increasing levels of services as your teams get up to speed and understands how to leverage APIs and automate everything through code. Compute as code is now a reality.
  • Understand the pain points you are trying to address – this will dictate approach (i.e. Pricing / Cost / Budget; Internal Politics; Control of Data Locality; Sovereignty; Security; Compliance, etc.)
  • Turn on logging within AWS. More specifically, activate Amazon CloudWatch to log all your systems, applications and services and activate AWS CloudTrail to log all API actions. This will provide visibility into all user actions on AWS. The lack of visibility into cloud operations and controls stands as the largest security issue we see.

What cautions might there be in terms of how to end up paying more than one should or not really getting full value out of this type of storage?

  • Understand not all data is created equal…in terms of importance, frequency of access, life expectancy of the data, retention requirements, and search performance. Compare Operational data (high importance, high frequency of access, short life expectancy, high search performance requirements) to audit data (medium importance, lower frequency of access, longer life expectancy/data retention requirements, low performance requirements)
  • Align your storage needs to the value and urgency of the data that you are logging (S3, S3 Infrequent Access, Glacier, EBS, etc.)
  • Look for solutions and tools that are cloud native, so you can avoid unnecessary data exfiltration costs.

10 years ago, no one was virtualizing mission critical workloads because of Security and Compliance concerns…but we ended up there anyways. This is exactly the same thing for cloud. And in this new world, speed and time to market is everything. Organizations are looking to be more flexible, more agile, capitalize on business opportunities, and how you approach security is different. And to support the rapid pace of delivery of these digital initiatives – weekly, even daily – these companies are leveraging modern, advanced IT infrastructures like AWS and Sumo Logic. In this new world, we at Sumo Logic have a tremendous opportunity to help operations and security professionals get the visibility they need as those workloads are moved out to the cloud. We help them become cloud enablers, to help drive the business forward, not being naysayers. Visibility is everything!

Come stop by our booth – #604 – and say hi!

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Mark Bloom

More posts by Mark Bloom.

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