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Amazon Cloud Engineer
Interview Questions

20 Questions and Answers by
| William Swansen is an author, job search strategist and career advisor who assists individuals from all over the world.

Question 1 of 20

Can you discuss the different types of clouds and how they are used?

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Cloud Engineer Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Can you discuss the different types of clouds and how they are used?

      If an organization is new to cloud computing, it will be looking to learn about the different features, benefits, and options available within the cloud computing environment. As a prospective employee, they want to test your knowledge of these to determine if you can assist them in selecting the appropriate cloud type for their organization. When responding to this question, keep your answer brief and to the point. The interviewer will ask a follow-up question if they need additional information or explore the topic in more depth.

      William's Answer

      "There are four main types of cloud environments. These include private cloud, public cloud, community cloud, and hybrid cloud. A private cloud is dedicated to the organization and may be hosted by a third party or maintained by the organization. A public cloud is hosted by a third party, such as AWS, with resources dedicated to individual clients. A community cloud is hosted but shares the resources among multiple clients. The hybrid cloud is a combination of any of these three and offers organizations options and flexibility."

  2. 2.

    Can you define the components of a PaaS architecture, as provided by AWS?

      This is an example of a technical question. These types of questions test your knowledge of the subject matter associated with the job for which you are interviewing. As a cloud engineer, you can anticipate that most of the questions you will be asked will be similar to this. The best way to prepare for these is to review the terms, concepts, processes, and operations used in your job.

      William's Answer

      "There are three main layers of AWS' platform as a service or PaaS architecture. The first of the cloud controller. This is used to create virtual machines, deploy applications, and connect services. The second layer is storage. This is where data and applications reside. It manages relational databases and SQL queries. The final layer is applications. These provide the services needed by the users. It is the one component of cloud computing which is managed by the client organization."

  3. 3.

    Can you discuss the major differences between the AWS cloud and a traditional data center?

      As the interview progresses, the Amazon interviewer may switch between the different types of questions. These can include general, technical, operational, behavioral, and situational questions. Being familiar with each type of question and knowing how to respond to them is critical to a successful interview. This is a general question, so your response should be general in nature. Keep your answer brief and to the point to include the interviewer to move on to a new question or explore this topic in more detail by asking a follow-up question.

      William's Answer

      "There's very little difference between the AWS cloud environment and a traditional data center from an infrastructure standpoint. The key differences are how the resources are accessed and who is responsible for managing them. In a traditional data center, the organization is responsible for all aspects of the IT environment. These include acquiring the resources, managing them, updating them, and maintaining them. In the AWS cloud environment, the organization purchases the services on an as-needed basis. This reduces their initial investment, allows them to scale up or down as needed, and provides them access to resources they may not be able to afford. The tradeoff between the two environments is that the AWS cloud offering is often less expensive, whereas the traditional data center provides the organization with more control and better security."

  4. 4.

    What are the steps used to design and deploy a cloud architecture?

      By asking this question, the Amazon interviewer indicates that they are interested in deploying a cloud architecture but may not have the internal experience or resources needed to do this. This probably is one of the main reasons they are looking to hire a cloud engineer. This may have even been disclosed in the job description. When interviewing for this role, a good strategy may be to create a pro forma plan to develop a cloud architecture and present it to the interviewer. This would be especially effective if this requirement was mentioned in the job description.

      William's Answer

      "When I am designing and deploying a cloud architecture, I use three distinct steps in the process. The first is to develop a reference architecture. This is based on how the cloud resources will be used and what services the users would like to access. The next step was to create a technical architecture. This involves all the hardware, software, network, and applications required to provision the reference architecture. The final step is the deployment operation architecture. This describes how the technical architecture will be deployed and what resources will be required to keep it functioning. These resources involve the cloud provider's services and those managed by the organization's IT personnel."

  5. 5.

    Can you define the 'Cloud' and discuss some of its features?

      This is a general question which the Amazon interviewer will use to get you talking, learn more about your background, and collect information they can use throughout the interview. This provides you the opportunity to direct the interview towards an area that you are knowledgeable in and comfortable discussing.

      William's Answer

      "The cloud consists of IT infrastructure that is hosted off-site, typically by a third-party provider such as Amazon. It consists of hardware, software, storage, networking, and IT services. The cloud is managed by service providers, including AWS, Microsoft, Oracle and others, and accessed by users through various devices from virtually any location in the world."

  6. 6.

    Please discuss the differences between Cloud and On-premise Computing.

      This question is requesting you to pick compare two concepts used in this profession. When answering a question like this, you should first define each concept and then discuss their differences and similarities. You can either list all the features and benefits of one of the concepts, then do the same for the other, or compare them point by point. Your answer should include the features offered by Amazon's AWS service.

      William's Answer

      "The main difference between cloud and on-premise computing is that cloud computing is off-site and hosted by a service provider such as AWS while on-premise is managed by the organization, which is responsible for all aspects of the IT infrastructure. The key features of on-premise computing are that there is a high initial investment, the organization is responsible for all the maintenance and support, hardware and software upgrades must be maintained, and scaling the infrastructure can be challenging. On the other hand, Cloud computing has low initial investment, requires no maintenance or support from the client organization, upgrades are automatic and managed by the service provider, and the infrastructure can be scaled as needed. The disadvantages of cloud computing over on-premise infrastructure are centered around security and control."

  7. 7.

    What are some of the benefits offered by cloud computing that would induce an organization to adopt it?

      The Amazon interviewer may ask this question for two reasons. The first is to test your knowledge of cloud computing and confirm that you know some of the benefits it offers. The second is that they may be considering expanding their use of this technology and want to get your opinion of its benefits and why they should move in this direction. Since you are interviewing for an Amazon cloud engineer's role, your answer should promote the use of cloud technologies.

      William's Answer

      "Cloud computing offers many benefits compared to hosting an IT infrastructure on-premise. First, it is cost-effective in that you only invest in the IT infrastructure you need. Since cloud computing scales easily, you can increase or decrease the infrastructure in real-time. Cloud computing also offers organizations access to IT resources they may not be able to afford to either purchase or manage themselves. Another advantage is that the cloud service provider such as AWS is responsible for the data backup and recovery, which is a key requirement for any organization's disaster recovery plan."

  8. 8.

    What are the main services provided in a cloud computing environment such as AWS?

      Identifying and discussing the key services provided in a cloud computing environment is a fundamental qualification for this role. When answering this type of question, you should identify each service and briefly define it. Your answer should be succinct and to the point. The interviewer will ask a follow-up question if they need additional information.

      William's Answer

      "There are three main services provided in a cloud computing environment. These are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS,) Platform as a Service (PaaS, ) and Software as a Service (SaaS.) Infrastructure as a service refers to the environment managed by the cloud service provider. This includes the building, power, cooling, and management services. Platform as a service refers to the computing hardware. This may be dedicated to the client or shared by several clients. Software as a service is the applications, operating systems, and tools provided by the cloud service provider or a third party. Clients rent these rather than purchase them. A service provider like AWS is very experienced at offering these services and assisting their clients to select and configure the services best suited to their needs."

  9. 9.

    Why would an organization use a hybrid cloud rather than one of the three other types?

      This is a follow-up to a previous question. Interviewers in organizations like Amazon will ask follow-up questions if they want to learn more about a topic or have a special interest in the subject. When asked a follow-up question, keep your answer brief and to the point. This also indicates that the Amazon interviewer may have a special interest in this area. You may want to respond to other questions by referencing this topic since it may be important to the organization.

      William's Answer

      "The benefit of a hybrid cloud is that it offers organizations access to resources that may not be available if they choose to use one of the other three dedicated cloud configurations. An example of this would be having access to specialized software available in the public cloud, which may not be part of a private cloud. A virtual cloud could also give organizations access to a portion of the resources hosted by AWS which they could not afford in a dedicated private, public, or community cloud, such as high-end storage or computing hardware."

  10. 10.

    Please talk about how cloud computing can help with the reliability and availability of an organization like Amazon's IT resources.

      As a cloud engineer, you should be able to describe the benefits of cloud computing. One of the key benefits of this technology is helping organizations maintain access to and the availability of IT resources. You should also be able to describe the technology behind these benefits, including specific features. Be prepared for follow-up questions, which the Amazon interviewer will use to explore this topic in more depth.

      William's Answer

      "One of the key benefits of cloud computing is that it provides a higher level of reliability and availability to the users. This is because of its use of fault domains. This technology involves two virtual machines so that if one were to fail, the other would be available. The software will distribute and control computing instances across both VM's, so failover is instantaneous. Fault domains can also be employed when upgrading software by first upgrading one virtual machine and then the other. Another benefit of fault domains is that network access, and data storage are replicated, ensuring these resources are always available."

  11. 11.

    What is Eucalyptus, and how is it used in Cloud Computing?

      You may recognize this question as technical. Technical questions ask about a specific concept, term, process or operation used in your profession. When answering technical questions, you should first define the term or concept and then describe its use. You may want to provide an example to illustrate your answer. As always, be prepared for a follow-up question.

      William's Answer

      "Eucalyptus is an open-source software infrastructure. The term Eucalyptus stands for 'Elastic Utility Computing Architecture for Linking Your Programs to Useful Systems.' Its primary use this to implement clusters with them a cloud computing environment, regardless of the type of environment. You could even use it to convert an on-premises data center into a private cloud."

  12. 12.

    What is an AMI, and how is it implemented in a cloud computing environment?

      This is a question about a specific technology used with the cloud computing services provided by Amazon's AWS division. When preparing for an interview for a cloud engineer role with Amazon, you should ensure that you are familiar with the latest technologies used in this field. Amazon looks for candidates who maintain their currency in the most recent technologies introduced in those fast-moving segments of the computing industry. It would be best if you also were prepared to discuss how you stay current and the resources you utilize to do this.

      William's Answer

      "AMI is an acronym for the Amazon Machine Image. This is a copy of your root file system and is required to launch a computing instance on a virtual machine within the Amazon Web Services cloud computing environment. You only need one version of this to launch multiple instances unless you're using a different root file system configuration. Am I also controls which AWS accounts can launch the instances."

  13. 13.

    What technologies are used to ensure that cloud computing is secure, and the organization’s information is protected?

      Security is one of the major concerns organizations have when considering the use of cloud computing. There are several different technologies and techniques to ensure that cloud computing is as safe as on-premise computing. As a prospective Amazon cloud engineer, you should be able to discuss several of these and provide in-depth information if asked follow-up questions about them.

      William's Answer

      "Technologies used to protect information within a cloud computing environment are the same ones used when securing an organization's data on-premises. These include identity management, access control, authentication, and authorization. Also, data transmitted across the Internet between users and the cloud computing environment can be encrypted, adding an additional layer of security."

  14. 14.

    Please describe the layers used within a cloud computing architecture, similar to the one provide by AWS.

      This question may seem similar to one asked earlier in the interview. Amazon hiring managers will often ask the same question several times during an interview, changing the format slightly. They do this to calibrate your answers and make sure you are providing valid information throughout the interview. This is why your answers should be honest and factual. If you don't know the answer to a question, admit this and then describe how you would obtain the information.

      William's Answer

      "There are several layers used to manage a cloud computing architecture. These include the cloud controller, the cluster controller, the storage controller, and the node controller. Each of these helps the AWS cloud engineers manage a specific set of resources within the cloud. The software tools used to do this are specific to the type of cloud environment you are working with. However, they may be provided by a third party. Often, the tools are consolidated into a single dashboard which provides the cloud engineer a comprehensive picture of the entire cloud architecture."

  15. 15.

    What are some other major cloud database providers you have worked with, and why do you prefer their products?

      An interviewer will ask this type of question to determine if you are familiar with some of the technologies they currently use or are considering. If they're looking to upgrade, they may be seeking recommendations based on your experience. If you have done your research, you will be familiar with the technologies the organization is currently using or may be considering. This will allow you to align your answer with their specific needs.

      William's Answer

      "I have worked with most of the main cloud database suppliers. These include Microsoft, AWS, IBM, Oracle and Google. Of these, I prefer AWS. It is more flexible, reliable, and effective in processing SQL queries. Of course, you may select one that has been recommended and is supported by the cloud service provider you choose to use."

  16. 16.

    How are APIs used in the cloud?

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  17. 17.

    How are Data Centers deployed or transitioned to the AWS cloud environment?

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  18. 18.

    What are the three types of clouds individuals or organizations can use?

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  19. 19.

    Other than AWS, who are the main cloud service providers, and which ones have you worked with?

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  20. 20.

    What are some of the main service components offered by AWS?

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