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I’m an independent IT consultant and entrepreneur in the Internet and software business. I’m interested in design, enterprise applications, web apps and SaaS products. I design and develop business solutions and applications. I help companies in terms of software quality and knowledge transfer, e.g. with Angular and Spring Boot.

New Stratospheric Blog Post on Faster Amazon ECS Container Deployments

This week, we published a new Stratospheric blog post on how we achieved faster Amazon ECS Container deployments. So, if you're running containerized applications on AWS you might want to check this out. While that specific example uses the AWS CDK in its Java incarnation the general ideas and settings are generally applicable and therefore should easily translate to other languages and environments, too. Read more

Optimising Docker Image Sizes: “Self-extracting” Node.js Applications

As a follow-up on last week's article on tools for inspecting Docker images, and Docker image sizes in particular, today I'd like to introduce another - more custom - approach for reducing the size of Docker images for production deployments. As a means of shaving off an additional 50 MB from the packaged application in question I came up with an idea somewhat reminiscent of the self-extracting archives of yore (of the WinRAR and 7-Zip flavours, for instance) for reducing the size ... Read more

Tools for Inspecting Docker Images

Recently, I needed to inspect a Docker image in order to optimize its size for distribution and deployment on an ARM-based industrial microcontroller with rather tight bandwidth constraints. Once deployed at customer sites, these controllers typically don't have an Internet connection but still need to be updated occasionally, via the local network in that case. Since there's no guaranteed minimum network speed in this type of environment, yet software updates still have to complete within a relatively short period of time, optimizing ... Read more

Cloudcraft – Cloud Architecture Diagrams and Visualisations

After recently having written about AWS cloud visualisation and management tools such as CloudMapper and Vantage I was made aware of yet another such tool by Sebastian Reuße: Cloudcraft allows you to not only visualise your AWS cloud architecture with beautiful as well as somewhat playful isometric infrastructure diagrams reminiscent of turn-based strategy games but also provides live connectivity with your actual AWS infrastructure and so-called "smart" components. Using these features you don't have to manually draw and recreate your existing infrastructure in ... Read more

Vantage – A Unified AWS Console

In last week's blog post I casually mentioned that out-of-the-box with AWS there's no single unified console providing you with an overview of your deployed infrastructure. Thankfully, there's Vantage - a centralized dashboard that provides you with such an overview and cost transparency across AWS regions and accounts through views, global search, and actionable insights. Up to $500 in monthly AWS spend Vantage is free. Beyond that there are Pro and Business plans at a monthly price of $50 and $250, respectively. Read more

CloudMapper: An AWS Visualisation Tool

CloudMapper is an AWS visualisation tool that's highly useful for getting an overview of your AWS infrastructure and network setup. Depending on the number of services, instances, VPCs, and subnets used, getting lost is quite easy, especially when considering that out-of-the-box with AWS there's no single unified console from which to get an overview of your deployed resources but rather a multitude of consoles, one for each AWS service. Therefore, keeping track of your infrastructure and keeping your costs in check can be ... Read more

Monoliths Aren’t Inherently Bad

Self-professed minimalist developer Kelsey Hightower a few months ago wrote about monoliths being the future. The microservice design pattern has been trending in software development for quite some now. Unfortunately, more often than not it's been indiscriminately treated as a panacea to every software architecture and design problem out there. Microservices can help with one aspect specifically: Reducing deployment risk. If you have a large monolith and frequently need to make changes to a specific part or feature provided by that monolith the whole ... Read more

Boring Solutions Revisited: Choose Boring Technology by Dan McKinley

Dan McKinley's article on choosing boring solutions, although not exactly new anymore, has been a welcome reminder for me to revisit the topic of of using boring solutions and keeping things simple. Dan makes the point that "adding technology to your company comes with a cost" or as I stated in my own article on this subject: "The elephant in the room is: There’s an opportunity cost to everything." Most choices come with a trade-off. If you decide to use a technology for the ... Read more

Keep it simple, stupid

As something of a follow-up on my article on using boring solutions from two weeks ago I'd like to point you to a blog post by Justin Etheredge, cofounder of software development company Simple Thread: Software Complexity Is Killing Us In this post Justin outlines in which ways software development has become easier in the past few decades and also points out the ways in which it hasn't. Most of the complexity of software applications accumulates in the layer that deals with business processes. ... Read more

Use Boring Solutions

Often when working with both startups and project teams at larger, more seasoned companies I encounter a variation of the not invented here syndrome. This usually starts with the well-intentioned idea that in order to build the actual product you need ancillary services A, B and C in order for the product to work. However, more often than not instead of building the 'perfect' solution for your product yourself it might be a good idea to take a step back and think about ... Read more
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