Small Talk Is an Overrated Way to Build Relationships with Your Employees

The relationships that you form with each of your direct reports are central to your ability to fulfill your three core responsibilities as a manager: Create a culture of feedback, build a cohesive team, and achieve results collaboratively. But these relationships do not follow the rules of other relationships in our lives; they require a careful balancing act. You need to care personally, without getting creepily personal or trying to be a “popular leader.” You need to challenge people directly and tell them when their work isn’t good enough, without being a jerk or creating a vicious cycle of discouragement and failure. That’s a hard thing to do.

When you can care personally at the same time that you challenge directly, you’re on the way to successful leadership. The term I use to describe a good manager–direct report relationship, and this ability to care and challenge simultaneously, is radical candor. So what can you do to build radically candid relationships with each of your direct reports? And what are the pitfalls to avoid?

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The Difference between SOA and Microservices?

We’ve had a few articles over the years on the differences and similarities between SOA and microservices. Some suggest there is much to be learned from SOA whereas others believe that distancing microservices from SOA is more beneficial. Furthermore, Neal Ford, amongst others, has suggested that moving from monolithic architectures to a services-based approach may be easier than going to microservices. There has not been much activity recently around the overall “SOA or microservices” debate until RedMonk’s Stephen O’Grady published an article on the subject. In it O’Grady suggests that the size of the service is not the deciding factor, similar to what others have argued over the years, such as Dan North, and separately Jeppe Cramon stated:

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Amazon Revels in Revenues from its Ever Expanding Cloud Business

There is no denying the fact that the Cloud has taken the world by storm (pun intended). As soon as Amazon revealed it’s financials within the financial world, Wall Street was abuzz with a lot of commotion. Believe it or not, but the Amazon Cloud is a $4.6 billion business, which is continuously growing. Even though this financial volume might seem to be trivial as compared to the total revenues generated through Amazon’s online retail business, nevertheless, it is a significant jump as compared to the rest of the similar providers in the market currently.

As per Amazon’s books, AWS grew around 49 percent in the year 2014, wherein it managed to earn $4.6 billion in revenues. In the first quarter of 2017, AWS has already amassed $1.57 billion in revenues, which is fast approaching the sales forecast of $6.23 billion by Q4. Despite the massive growth, AWS forms only 7% of the company’s overall revenue model. But this has not stopped Amazon from raising its hopes with the advent of AWS over the years.

Without doubts, the growth of AWS is an important milestone when it comes to ruling the Cloud market in terms of customer outreach and profitability. If the trends are to continue, Amazon might soon be known as a leader in the Cloud industry rather than just an online retail store leader.

Amazon leading the Cloudy way

AWS, Amazon’s Cloud venture has lead the company’s outreach in terms of providing extensive computing power over the Internet. One might wonder how AWS Cloud comes to the rescue of service seekers. The answer is rather simple; by taking the lead, Amazon is able to rent out Server space, storage systems and other software to businesses and developers, who need to stay afloat on the Internet.

With the advent of the Cloud know-how, technology giants like HP, Oracle, Dell and many others are slowly withering away. These giants used to sell hardware and software to companies and developers to setup within their own premises. While this proved to be a costly affair for the developers, it was nevertheless a profitable venture for the tech giants selling the hardware and software.
With the estimates rolling in, Amazon and its venture AWS will slowly gnaw its way to revenues of $40 billion in the next five years. As per Boston Consulting Group’s senior partner, Amazon is a leading service provider in the Cloud industry and will they will continue to lead the markets till the onset of the next few years.

Since Amazon is the undisputed leader in the world of Cloud technology, there is a lot riding on its Cloud business. However, the share of the market is on a constant decline, since there are a lot of entrants in the market currently. With Microsoft and Google also joining the Cloud business there is a lot of competition which is posing a threat for AWS’s share in the market. With a lot of investments in the new data centers, Amazon has to avoid being too smug about its increasing revenues, in order to remain grounded and excel in the ever expanding competitive market.

10 DevOps must-reads | The Enterprisers Project

DevOps has emerged as a powerful tool for CIOs striving to deliver speed and agility to the business. But with that great potential comes great responsibility. So IT leaders consume DevOps advice with a critical eye – and debate DevOps with passion. DevOps methodologies also involve huge organizational and cultural changes for IT teams, and with change, leaders must manage a high level of emotion. Talent worries also come along for the ride. Consider what SunTrust CIO Anil Cheriyan shared with us recently:

“It seems everybody has their own idea as to what [DevOps] should look like. I think, fundamentally, DevOps is about talent … For too many years, people have been sitting in silos. It takes real effort on both sides to begin understanding and work together in a more agile and iterative fashion, and all of that needs to happen before you can even think about calling your approach DevOps.”
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Life as an IT contractor | Network World

Independence, job variability, earning potential, skills development. But is it worth it?

The upside of life as an IT contractor is alluring. You get to be your own boss, accept only the jobs you want, and work flexible hours. With each assignment comes the opportunity to learn new skills and gain exposure to different environments.

But there are obvious sacrifices – job security and paid vacations, for starters. As an IT contractor, you’re also often responsible for your own benefits (healthcare, retirement), paying taxes, and marketing yourself for the next gig.

Tech pros who successfully balance the pros and cons of contracting play an important role in the IT world. They provide manpower when workloads spike and can bring key expertise or niche skills to a team. In recent years, companies have increasingly relied on a contingent workforce to augment their full-time staff. According to new survey data from IT staffing and services firm TEKsystems, 26% of IT hiring managers expect to increase headcount for contingent workers in the second half of 2017 (another 46% report that headcount will remain the same for temporary workers, and 13% say it will decrease).
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Why serverless? Meet AWS Lambda

Why would a developer use AWS Lambda? In a word, simplicity. AWS Lambda—and other event-driven, “function-as-a-service” platforms such as Microsoft Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions, and IBM OpenWhisk—simplify development by abstracting away everything in the stack below the code. Developers write functions that respond to certain events (a form submission, a webhook, a row added to a database, etc.), upload their code, and pay only when that code executes.

In “How serverless changes application development” I covered the nuts and bolts of how a function-as-a-service (FaaS) runtime works and how that enables a serverless software architecture. Here we’ll take a more hands-on approach by walking through the creation of a simple function in AWS Lambda and then discuss some common design patterns that make this technology so powerful. Read more..

New Online Training – AWS in Motion

AWS are happy to announce the filming of our book Amazon Web Services in Action. Our video course AWS in Motion is introducing Amazon’s cloud offerings in more than 3 hours of video lessons and 25 exercises.

Manning has published our online course consisting of:

• Quality video lessons available on-demand.
• Rich, interactive transcripts for navigation.
• Exercise driven learning.

Packed with exercises and tutorials to try out, you can learn how to work with AWS in a way that makes sense: by working with AWS directly. We’ve designed the lessons to work within a free trial subscription to AWS, so you can get started without spending anything on a live AWS account. With the expert training of the Wittig brothers, the authors of our bestselling Amazon Web Services in Action, you can rest easy knowing you’ve learned the foundation that every AWS developer needs to succeed, and fast! Read more..

AWS Summits 2017 – Chicago

Date : July 26-27, 2017
Location : Chicago, IL
Venue : McCormick Place Lakeside Center

Why Should You Attend?

AWS bringing together the cloud computing community to connect, collaborate and learn about AWS.
Whether you are new to the cloud or an experienced user, you will learn something new at the AWS Summit. This free event is designed to educate you about the AWS platform. Develop the skills to design, deploy, and operate infrastructure and applications.

Key Features:

Sessions & Workshops – More than 40 technical sessions ranging from introduction to deep dive. Plus small scale hands-on workshops.
Bootcamps and Labs – Get hands-on training opportunities in paid bootcamps and free self-paced labs.
AWS Certification – Demonstrate your technical proficiency by getting AWS Certified onsite and receive special recognition.
The HUB – Experience The HUB, a high-energy expo with top AWS technology and consulting partners, and access to AWS engineers and architects.
[Know more about the Conference]

About Idexcel: Idexcel is a global business that supports Commercial & Public Sector organizations as they Modernize their Information Technology using DevOps methodology and Cloud infrastructure. Idexcel provides Professional Services for the AWS Cloud that includes Program Management, Cloud Strategy, Training, Applications Development, Managed Service, Integration, Migration, DevOps, AWS Optimization and Analytics. As we help our customers modernize their IT, our clients should expect a positive return on their investment in Idexcel, increased IT agility, reduced risk on development projects and improved organizational efficiency.

Jed Tonelson Director Cloud & DevOps Sales will be attending this event. For further queries, please write to

Hosting Your WordPress Site on Multiple AWS Server

amazon-multiple-serverIf you are an avid part of today’s technology, then you might already be aware of WordPress and all the good features it brings to the table. Add a series of wonderful Amazon Web Services to the list and you already have a winner on your hands. With the combination of AWS and WordPress, you get access to some of the best web hosting opportunities in the market.

Without further suspense, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of hosting your WordPress site on AWS, in order to reap maximum benefits from the association.

1) Registering your AWS account: If you are still new to the world of AWS, then as a first step, you need to create a new AWS account. Head over to; click on “create an AWS account”. Ideally, avoid using the normal Amazon page to create an account. If you do, you will be required to follow a myriad set of approaches, before you reach the AWS registration page. By clicking on the link directly, you can register in a flash. Once you have filled in the primary details, you will arrive at the dashboard, which will offer you a series of options.

Some of these options include, but are not limited to:

a. EC2: EC2 which is the Amazon Workhorse, allows you to compute the capacity in the cloud and make it resizable as per your needs. It helps make web-scaling easier for developers.

b. S3: Storage on Demand or S3 is the disk space which offers a rather simple interface to help store and retrieve data as per convenience. With S3, one can scale trillions of data from anywhere around the web, without having to bother about data security and ease of access.

c. RDS: RDS, also known as Relational Database Service, is easy to setup and operate. It provides developers with 6 of the most familiar database engines, which include the likes of Microsoft SQL Server, Amazon Aurora, MySQL, Oracle, MariaDB and PostgreSQL.

d. SES: SES or Simple Email Service is a cost effective solution which is built on the scalable infrastructure of AWS. With SES, you can easily send and receive emails with no prior commitments. Pay as you go, so that you are never overcharged for usage.

2) Getting to the designing phase within the AWS Infrastructure: Each of the servers above help in getting your WordPress site up and running on the AWS servers. Primarily, EC2 is used to create a web server to power the WordPress installation. RDS, S3, and SES are configured alongside to ensure proper utilities are available to the users through the AWS domains.

3) Choosing between scaling up and scaling out: In AWS, you have the opportunity to setup all WordPress instances on a single EC2 instance. However, this is not a very good approach in the long run. In order to enhance your server’s efficiency, you need to choose between scaling up and scaling out.
a. Scaling up: You can increase the actual hardware and memory resources which are ideally used to power your website. Peruse through options like increasing the RAM size, CPUs, VPS, and investing in a dedicated server.
b. Scaling out: The only limitation with scaling up is the physical hardware limitations imposed during usage. By scaling out, instead of maximizing the usage of the hardware, you throw in a lot of servers into the website. This way, one can host different parts of the website on different servers, in order to maximize efficiency.

4) Creating your web server infrastructure: Once your database is up and running, you need to setup the server instance on the EC2 instance. There are a lot of preconfigured instances pertaining to WordPress which can prove to be handy in a jiffy. With AWS installed, one can even install specific configurations of WordPress. The new instance can be created through the AWS Management Console on the EC2 tab.

5) Installing Apache Web Server + WordPress: After the web server infrastructure is ready to host, you need to install the Apache Web Server + WordPress setup to ensure all software components are in place.

6) Link EC2 Instance with your Domain: Link the public domain of the AWS WordPress installation to your public IP address. This way, you can map your domain name to the concerned IP address.

By following these steps, you can successfully launch your WordPress website on different AWS servers, thereby taking your site’s efficiency up by a notch.