My Transition from On-Premises Software to Cloud

At the end of the last year I decided to make a significant change in my career. I joined cloud-native internet company Skyscanner and relocated from Prague to Edinburgh. It’s almost three months now so I think it’s a good time to capture my experience.

Relocation

My relocation was fairly easy, probably because I was interested in UK and local affairs even before my decision was made. There are obviously some cultural differences you need to adapt to, on the other hand Czechs share similar sense of humour and similar culture. From the paperwork point of view UK is much easier and almost everything is quite simple. Yes, even taxes! The single most annoying thing seems to be a different electric plug system 🙂

Mindset Transition

The most challenging part for me was the professional transition from on-premises software work-flow to cloud-native work-flow. I had almost no experience with real cloud services, nor AWS before.

On-premises software that is delivered to customers by an installer or a package does not allow you to remotely asses the health or rollback faulty update. That implies that you cannot test new pieces of functionality directly on your customer base as you might hurt customer satisfaction and trust. All reported errors must usually go through your support team and you must reproduce them locally that slows down the process and increases costs.

Cloud-native approach, especially combined with philosophy “you build it, you run it”, removes the problem of debugging as you generally have access to your boxes. You can also try a new version of your software on one box to test your code without hurting all customers. You need to twist your thinking about machines that are no longer in your ownership and management (e.g. VMware ESXi), but in a shared black box platform, so you must expect literally everything. I plan to write about it more in depth in the next blog post.

Conclusion

I don’t regret my decision to step outside of my comfort zone as it helped to change my thinking about software and improved my experience a lot. It’s also wonderful to explore a different country and culture that sometimes challenges your customs.