Book Review: Ahead in the Cloud by Stephen Orban

I found a lot of great nuggets in this book, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to everyone. If you’re trying to sell your boss on a move to AWS, definitely give her this book. If you’re trying to figure out what your IT priorities are, I’d recommend Leading the Transformation or The Pheonix Project. If you insist on reading something that’s written by an AWS Employee, I’d even try War, Peace, and IT by Mark Schwartz.

While I found some nuggets that I enjoyed and found informative, I found most chapters just identifying a problem and then explaining how being in the cloud mitigates that problem. It’s not really surprising considering it’s 53 chapters in only 298 pages (at least how Kindle counts it). One big exception to this is Chapter 5 and Chapter 53 outline processes and are a little more detailed (but each of them could be an entire book). The other little nuggets that I liked were:

  • Chapter 23’s discussion of the future of Managed Services in the cloud was interesting. I believe the combining of migrating to cloud and managing applications (essentially turning them in to SaaS) was a great point. Also, the highlighting of DevOps as an important feature of an MSP.
  • I liked Chapter 33’s discussion of Hybrid Cloud. Too often AWS and their surrogates talk about Hybrid Cloud as a fantasy. Unless you have the kind of capacity that it’s worth building an entire datacenter that runs just for you (like Netflix), you’re probably better off having everything in the cloud. The problem is, you can’t just put it there by magic. Orban does a nice job recognizing Hybrid Cloud as a stage, maybe a VERY VERY long one, but not a destination.
  • I liked the discussion in Chapter 46 about a company’s vision for moving from Centralized IT to Exponentially Growing IT.