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10 Great Reads and Listens If You Want to Learn About Cloud Cost

|March 3, 2020|

Whether it be a tweet about shocking AWS bills or the impact of cloud bills on tech company margins, cloud costs are a hot topic. If you're looking to get up to speed and learn a little more, check out this collection of podcasts, blogs, and articles:

  1. Blog: ConvertKit: Engineering

CovertKit is a growth-hack startup that has gone where few companies have gone before: publishing their AWS bill for the world to see. Their engineering team has released multiple write-ups on what they’re spending and how it’s changing over time. These posts are great reads if you’re looking to see how other companies are thinking about their cloud costs, to compare your approach, or to just prove to your boss that you really could be spending more than you are today. They also have some great blogs on topics ranging from fixing fragile rail tests to their CI/CD process

      2. Article: “Why Gross Margins Matter” (Two Sigma Ventures)

We’re big believers in treating cost optimization like anything else in DevOps: building it in as you go is always going to be cheaper than dealing with it down the road. While Two Sigma Ventures’ blog is much more business-centric than most of the ones on this list, this particular article is a must-read for anyone managing costs in a growing business. It tackles the question about whether or not you can improve your margins as you scale. (Spoiler alert: It’s really hard to unravel architectural complexity. )

     3. Podcast: Screaming in the Cloud

If you care about cloud cost (or poking fun at AWS), it’s likely you’ve already heard of Corey Quinn, whose weekly podcast Screaming in the Cloud revolves around all things cloud, with a frequent focus on billing. With industry-leading guests and content both technical and conceptual, Screaming in the Cloud should be the commute entertainment of choice for engineers (and cloudtech nerds alike.) Quinn has covered topics from AWS consulting and the nonsense of right sizing instances to the impact of cloud computing on climate change, and new episodes come out every week!

     4. Blog & Podcast: cloudonaut.io

Cloudonaut.io is a self-described “launchpad” for AWS. Co-founders Andreas and Michael Wittig are independent cloud consultants, accelerating the serverless journeys of startups and enterprises alike. They also co-authored the comprehensive AWS guide, Amazon Web Services in Action. Cloudonaut hosts both a blog and a podcast, covering topics such as AWS savings plans and avoiding S3 data leaks.

     5. Online Magazine: ZDNet

A joint outlet of CBS Interactive and TechRepublic, ZDNet is a gold mine of online tech news, and their Cloud category is highly active and informative. ZDNet controls a network of 50+ blogs, with topics ranging from gadgets and software to security and IT research. The Cloud blog has featured stories on open source in the cloud and data center spending, not to mention countless other topics. The best part? ZDNet is highly active: their Cloud blog alone averages about 5 new posts daily.

     6. Video: “Lyft Team at AWS re:invent

Lyft is a global icon for agile and DevOps prowess. In this recording from this past year’s AWS Re:invent, hear how Lyft’s engineering team mastered cost optimization. Most impressive was how their team broke down their AWS bill into the smallest possible unit cost: cost per ride. While most companies probably don’t have a team of engineers dedicated to cost like Lyft, it’s interesting to read about how it’s done when you have the resources.

     7. Podcast: Day Two Cloud

All of Packet Pushers’ podcasts are top-notch resources for cloud developers, but their new show Day Two Cloud is especially so, focusing on dealing with common problems that come along with adopting the cloud. Topics from the path to Cloud Certification to building a cloud strategy for IT operations have been covered, with new episodes every week. Day Two Cloud started in 2019, so the weekly content is still incredibly relevant and fresh.

     8. Article: “The New Business of AI (and How It’s Different From Traditional Software)

This piece from the Andreessen Horowitz team discusses how the expanding business of AI is completely changing business models for newer technology companies. The article covers not only hidden costs of AI systems, but also the challenges that arise when scaling those systems.  One key takeaway: Cloud infrastructure is a substantial – and sometimes hidden – cost for AI companies.

     9. Blog: AWS Cloud Enterprise Strategy

Balancing AWS strategy with the rest of your business presents a new challenge for Operations. Luckily, Amazon provides a number of blogs to further aid customers of their AWS platform. The Cloud Enterprise Strategy blog is perfect for those working with cloud systems in a business context. The site features articles geared specifically toward CIOs forming a cloud strategy, as well as pieces focused on higher-level IT management concerns, such as How to Create a Data-Driven Culture.

     10. Article: “Spotting a million dollars in your AWS account

Segment is a big data platform that makes customer data accessible for all companies. Their blog covers a whole host of engineering and DevOps topics, including some great pieces on AWS and cloud architecture. This article discusses specifically how to understand an unstructured AWS bill: grouping by product areas, tagging your existing infrastructure, and combining data across accounts.

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