AWS, GCP, Azure Consoles Graded

I work with all three major public cloud vendors for various clients.  I find it interesting to observe the differences in their approaches to the design (and subsequent usability) of their web consoles.

AWS

The AWS console reflects the state of their services (and their market share).  It is consistent, clean and very usable.  It loads very fast on browsers I use (Chrome mostly). This page show exactly the information I need (and no more). Interestingly, it does NOT show any of my security information by default on the main page.  Services are organized in a logical way, service icons ‘make sense’ in color, type and size. The ability to add service shortcuts at the top improves usability.  Also, surfacing resource groups on the first page is great, as this is a feature I use often.

I would like to see my total AWS spend per region per account on this page as well.

Grade A

AWS.png

GCP

The GCP console recently had a major overhaul and the results are very positive.  The amount of improvement from previous version is significant.  GCP uses the concept of one or more GCP projects as containers for billing and a set of GCP service instances.  I do find this convenient because I can easily see my total project costs.  I also like the ‘Billing’ widget on the first page.

Although the list of services available in GCP is easily findable by clicking the ‘hamburger’ (three white lines) menu in the upper left, I do find that this method of showing all possible services does confuse some customers (particularly those who are moving over or adding to AWS).

One feature I particularly like is the integrated command line tool (gcloud) console.  It’s fast, usable and works great!

Although I can’t think of how to do this (I am a UX consumer – rather than designer!), I’d like to see a more intuitive way to see all of the currently enabled GCP services (and all possible services) shown in the main console window.

Grade B+

GCP-1.png

Azure

Azure uses two consoles, both an a ‘classic’ and a ‘current’ console. For the purposes of this review, I am including the ‘current’ console only. As you can see by the image below, Not all of the tiles render in my browser (Chrome). I’ve tweeted about this bug a couple of times, but haven’t seen any improvement.

Azure uses the concept of subscriptions as containers for services and billing. I find the layout of this portal confusing and unintuitive. That coupled with the fact that the main page renders slowly and usually fails to render correctly is very frustrating to me.

Also the default listing of service types (which is some subset of the actual services available – some items are services, others are category names for groups of services) is once again, unintuitive and generally irritating to me.  What does ‘classic’ mean? Is it good, not good, should I use it, etc…?

Also the odd sizing of the tiles (too much blank space) is not helpful.

Generally, this ‘new’ Azure portal is not showing the increasingly more competitive set of Azure service in a positive way to me and my customers.

Grade D

Azure.png

I am interested in your opinion. Do you use any or all these cloud consoles?  If so, how do you find them?  What works well for you?  What doesn’t? What do you wish would be added and/or removed for improved usability?

Happy Programming (in the cloud)!

 

Getting over 4 Million TPS with NoSQL on the Google Cloud with Aerospike

Aerospike Whitesands Tool
I did some work with the Aerospike team and some other partners (@dchaley and @jamesrcounts) to validate Aerospike performance benchmarks on the Google Cloud using GCE instances.

In addition to blogging about the relatively simple 6-step process of setting up a 20-node cluster to get this mind-boggling performance, my team also wrote some scripts so that you can easily replicate our work.

Also, I recorded a screencast about Aerospike which includes a live demo of the performance benchmark – guess what? we actually got an even HIGHER benchmark tonight – between 5 and 6 MILLION TPS for read-only workloads. We also added a test for a mixed workload – 50% read/50% write. We got over 1 MILLION TPS for both the reads and the writes using the same size cluster – BAM!

Notes from ‘Building an AWS Redshift Data Warehouse w/Matillion and Tableau’ at re:Invent

Building a Data Warehouse on AWS
I led a great team at this year’s AWS re:Invent conference in building a workshop for attendees. We took on the daunting task of creating courseware for teams of students to build an end-to-end data warehouse in just two hours. Happily, all teams were successful!

So, how did we do it? We used AWS:Marketplace partners to ‘speed up’ our time-to-value. Specifically, we used Matillion ETL for Redshift to load and transform our data. Then we used Tableau to create a dashboard.

Want to know more?

I’ve posted our session notes / setup on slideshare for you to review.
Also, I’ve posted a setup guide on GitHub. This includes AWS cli commands for you to use if you wish to duplicate this exercise yourself.

Also, I’m part of a new site that AWS launched to help you to understand exactly what selected AWS:Marketplace Big Data partners have to offers. Here you’ll find interviews with technical leads from these companies, where we discuss what exactly their product is and does, architectural patterns, common use case and also customer success stories. Content is targeted at technical architects.

How do you use AWS Redshift? Which AWS:Marketplace Big Data partners have you explored? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

TKP Courseware Influences

We often get asked ‘what are the influences’ for TKP courseware? TKP courseware includes TKPJava, TKPSmallBasic and new courseware around Data Science and IoT concepts.

In addition to to the work of the TKP team that has created TKPJava courseware, the team is inspired by many other influences.  These influences are varied and many (and listed below), in particular the ideas in this book inspire many of our lesson concepts:

TurtleGeometry