AWS cloud

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Note taker: Benjamin

  • Jessie from a nonprofit service provider - wanting to make things cloud agnostic. Azure and Linode.
  • Tom - wants to learn about alternatives to Amazon. I'm old and we used to do things without the cloud. Or VMWare 25 years ago. Used Rackspace before.
  • Deborah - works with several nonprofits. Many use Microsoft tools. Some clients hoping to switch off of it to 'vegan alternatives'. Concerned about vulnerability to corporate interests or worried about government intrusion.
  • Scott - Spent life in the cloud. Using G-Suite for newly formed company. Googleplex may not be most aligned with my organization's indigenous-aligned values.

What is Cloud? end-user cloud vs developer cloud.

  • End-user cloud - For regular people. The data in it is only as secure as the company that hosts it. That service provider will usually answer to subpoena.
  • Developer-cloud - For devs to build on. You have more control over how the data is stored. You can store encrypted data.

When choosing clouds, things to think about:

  • Is the data in your use case super sensitive? What security threats should you be concerned about?
  • Many organizations/nonprofits just aren't sure how sensitive the data their storing is. Make sure your org is asking about this.
  • In developer clouds, there are sometimes so many things in it that it's hard to know where to start. It's not just servers. But now there can be serverless products, databases as a service. This means you may not have to maintain the server that the service runs on, but you also have less control.
  • Will your workloads be very variable? If not, then you may not need the elasticity of the cloud (which adds cost/complexity).

Comparison of 3 major clouds

  • AWS
  • Google Cloud Platfrom

•* Azure

In some ways they're very similar. But they're also different enough that when you get a certain level in, you sort of get locked in and to switch you may have to rearchitect things.

  • e.g. all clouds have email delivering APIs (e.g. AWS SES). But each one is different. So you have to think about how your app integrates with that in a way that doesn't increase lock-in.


  • May First PeopleLink
  • Greenhost
  • OwnCloud/NextCloud - an open source suite of cloud tools


  • What you want to do?
  • What your security/privacy model is?
  • What values are important to you for your service providers?

Advantage of major cloud providers is that many people use them so there may be more documentation, tools, etc. But that doesn't mean they're easier to use, just bigger community/ecosystem.

Scott - hard to decide for a small org whether it's worth the added cost to use a values-aligned service provider.

* Maxwell: reminds me of deciding between using a Linux vs Windows laptop
  • Tom: Many organizations just don't decide. And leave the hard choice to developers.

Ben: What are some vegan alternatives:

  • May First
  • Greenhost - environmentally-conscious
  • Koumbit - Canadian. Shared hosting. VPS.

Ben: Been thinking a lot about data jurisdiction. I suggest it as something to think about when choosing a cloud service provider.

Jessie: My clients say they want to move all their files to the cloud. And now I just say... no you don't. Usually they just want to access their files from outside the office.

  • Ben: The cloud isn't just one place you have to move things to. You can move the cloud to your devices too.

Jessie: Cloud is good for elastic scale up and scale down. But most small business don't actually need it. They just need one or two servers.

"The Coud Sucks". Well at least for small scale projects where you don't need it's scalability and elasticity features.