Cloud Skills Gap: Overcoming the AWS Talent Shortage

Running your applications in the cloud is no longer enough. For a true competitive advantage, software delivery teams need to fully harness the power of their cloud platform of choice. Yet, without cloud management talent on staff, the promises of fast, flexible cloud-based enterprise application delivery often fall flat.

An enterprise-wide implementation of a cloud platform like Amazon Web Services (AWS) touches many roles, from technical to sales to purchasing to finance. And what each team does on that platform is different, as are the technical capabilities they need. While these capabilities are often automated for the business-side of the house, technical teams tend to find themselves manually scripting many of their processes. These one-off scripting jobs impact the entire release pipeline and are a clear indicator that cloud expertise is lacking.

The cloud has become so complex and its capabilities are evolving so rapidly that enterprise organizations––especially those with complex, hybrid environments and/or moving towards serverless architectures ––need in-house cloud expertise. Unfortunately, that type of talent isn’t always readily available and they’re forced to get creative. Their developers, for example, while they might be well-versed in using the cloud for development and testing, get charged with things like configurations, security, networking, and monitoring.

A wise, but expensive move to combat this internal talent dearth is to outsource part of IT with a service provider or invest in some cloud-native talent. Of course, many enterprises concentrate on the latter part of the ‘wise, but expensive’ equation and look to their existing staffs to cut some corners–– mismanaging their technical resources, pulling them away from the value-adding projects they’re getting paid for, and putting releases at risk.

Let’s take a look at some of the areas that suffer as a result.

Migrations

Cloud migrations are accelerating. Without a proper cloud knowledge-base, organizations are risking downtime during the migration and exposure to security risks down the road. Most enterprise apps still reside on a mix of legacy and public cloud infrastructures. Therefore, when migrating a varied, complex application portfolio, enterprises need to do so in a controlled fashion––without sacrificing security and compliance.

Security

The fear that a company’s data is not secure in the cloud is a thing of the past. Enterprises are more than comfortable storing their data in a cloud platform. But when it comes to customer-facing software, especially in highly-regulated industries, it’s not enough to rely on a cloud’s native security settings. While traditional security skills––incident response, SIEM, threat detection––still apply, there’s a lot more that goes into securing the cloud. As more data goes into the cloud, the pressure is on for teams to keep applications safe. But what are the chances there’s a Certified Cloud Security Professional on your team?

Containers

The increased portability, improved scalability, and enhanced productivity that comes with containerization is driving an adoption rate in enterprises that often outpaces management capabilities. For enterprise DevOps deployments, it quickly becomes apparent that containers are not a complete solution. And without the proper talent on staff, managing containers in a release pipeline with hundreds of applications, varying infrastructures, and demanding compliance requirements can get ugly.

Serverless architecture

With serverless architecture, applications can be built and run without anyone on the team having to manage infrastructure. The application still runs on servers, but all the server management is done by a cloud provider, like AWS. But there’s more to serverless architecture than just removing the infrastructure management layer. Development with serverless architecture requires a change in developer mindset and a commit to a new way of developing. In a serverless architecture, code is broken down into small processes, each running on a different service. There’s a learning for using these services and tying them together in a delivery environment.

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Overcome the Cloud Talent Gap with XL JetPack

While it’s likely that your team members have some of the necessary skills for developing AWS-based applications, it’s also likely there are plenty of gaps. XebiaLabs has pioneered release orchestration and deployment automation for DevOps and Continuous Delivery across on-premises, hybrid, and cloud environments. Now, with XL JetPack, we’ve wrapped up our best practices and tools into one convenient package, so teams can launch automated cloud deployments in minutes––regardless of their level of cloud expertise.

With XL JetPack, you get everything needed to push apps to Production in the cloud, with all the correct settings, best-practices, and built-in governance. XL JetPack lets you:

  • Automate pipelines and deployments all the way to Production––without scripting.
  • Use tested, repeatable processes to deploy apps from Dev to Production on AWS.
  • Manage releases from the command line.
  • Automate reporting and compliance requirements.
  • Bake-in security processes throughout the release pipeline.
  • Leverage complex data sets, get continuous insight, understand complex deployments, and track release performance with customizable dashboards.
  • Follow blueprints to deploy a microservice-based application on Amazon EKS.

Try XL JetPack for free to see how you can easily move to the cloud while continuing to develop and work with the best of breed tools you love, like Jira, Github, Jenkins, and Terraform.

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