Talking about cloud technologies, software development, and the Ukraine MVP community

Andrew Gubskiy
8 min readJan 4, 2024

Recently, I was invited for an interview by the Yuksek project team. This publication is a condensed translation of the interview into English. However, I also recommend you see the original interview.

– Greetings to everyone. Friends, today we have a new guest with us — Andrey Gubskiy. Andrey is a software architect, IT consultant, expert in cloud application development, and a Microsoft MVP. Andrey, welcome. Could you tell us a bit more about yourself?

– Greetings. I have been in information technology since 2008. As you said, I work with cloud technologies, developing in C#.NET. In general, it’s both my hobby and profession. It’s what I enjoy and find interesting.

– Andrey, please tell us we are talking about the cloud. Can you explain what the cloud is? What does it mean?

– The cloud is a platform that allows you to acquire several services and resources quickly and easily, much like in a supermarket. Simply put, we have a large data center with many servers, and we can create small computing blocks for individual companies from these servers. For the client, it looks like an almost infinite resource. Of course, there are limits to computational resources. There was an incident when a large amount of resources from Ukrainian companies were transferred to Azure in a region physically located in the United Kingdom, and the data center resources in that region were almost exhausted. But that was an unusual case. Usually, cloud data centers have a significant reserve of resources.

– Can you explain cloud computing in simple terms so it’s understandable to everyone?

– Cloud platforms are like a market where you pick up the technologies and resources you need for specific purposes. You don’t have to build your complex infrastructure and hire many particular specialists. You can come to Azure or Amazon, choose the desired database version and the necessary number of servers, and quickly deploy it. If the need for computе power grows, the existing services can be easily scaled up, and that too without involving specialized professionals, as the platform allows many settings to be adjusted right out of the box. Therefore, cloud technologies are in high demand not only by businesses. Many developers often use cloud platforms for their pet projects.

– In what areas are cloud technologies now indispensable?

– It’s not that they are indispensable, but it’s important to consider whether it makes sense to go without them. There are categories of companies for whom cloud technologies are already insufficient. These companies deal with very high traffic and large volumes of data. Then, there are categories of companies whose needs are ideally suited for the cloud. For most businesses, building their own data center, setting up clusters, and managing the support and maintenance of all that infrastructure doesn’t make sense. It’s simpler for them to rent cloud services. Companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Google are starting to build their clouds because it’s more cost-effective for them. But most businesses are not at that level of need yet. In most cases, there’s no point in trying to replicate the infrastructure you can buy independently. The cloud is very flexible and easily scalable. Suppose a business needs to increase the power of its systems temporarily. In that case, this can be done in the cloud by temporarily increasing the allocated resources and returning to the previous configuration when these resources are no longer needed. Cloud platforms are very efficient in terms of IT infrastructure cost optimization.

– What are the specific advantages of cloud computing?

– First, it offers a flexible scaling system. You can scale both manually and automatically. Second, there’s no need to maintain a staff of costly, specialized professionals to support your infrastructure. It’s important to note that you can’t directly compare the cost of a cloud service to, for example, buying a server. Any server requires maintenance, its depreciation needs to be calculated, and the salaries of specialists who support the infrastructure must be considered. There’s a concept called TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) — the overall cost of owning infrastructure. The TCO is often much lower for cloud-based solutions than building your infrastructure. Also, if a company wants a high level of SLA, it’s easier to use services from the cloud than to build their own data center. Like a regular website, you could use shared hosting or your server for simple solutions. But you need to care about infrastructure for cases when you require reliability and handling a large volume of traffic. Not every business can and should invest in their data centers. You can also use a hybrid infrastructure, where both cloud services and on-premise solutions are used. Depending on the business’s requirements, it’s determined whether they need the cloud and, if so, which particular services.

– Are you aware of any cases where cloud technologies have been used in government projects?

– Yes, clouds are used in government projects. For example, Azure and AWS offer special cloud services for the government, such as Azure Government and AWS GovCloud, compliant with local legislative requirements. In Ukraine, many resources were transferred to Azure and Amazon cloud platforms after the war began. The Ministry of Digital Transformation wrote about this. Government entities often use clouds, but it’s important to consider specific requirements for preserving and encrypting data stored in the cloud. Information must be stored in certified data centers within the country, and some data can be placed in the cloud. I am confident that Ukrainian legislation will actively adapt to facilitate state-owned companies’ use of cloud platforms.

– What specific information must be stored within the country and cannot be moved abroad?

– There are various laws on personal data storage. For example, in Europe, GDPR is in effect, and companies in the European Union must meet several requirements to avoid large fines. With the development of laws to enhance user security, companies must take more action to comply with these laws. This applies to both businesses and government structures. It’s worth noting that we often give explicit consent to use personal information for specific purposes in government services. The rules for using this information are stipulated in local legislation. Businesses, in turn, cannot just take a person’s data and transfer it to partners without explicit user consent. All these aspects are regulated to prevent abuse and dishonest advertising and protect people’s Internet rights.

– Please tell us about your experience and the projects you’ve worked on in this field.

– All my projects since 2011 have used cloud technologies. One of them is Turf TV, an original project by Kirill Kislyakov. We fully implemented a media platform for the project in Microsoft Azure’s cloud. We were the first in Ukraine to implement such a media project in the cloud entirely. All processes, from video upload to publishing announcements on social networks, were automated using Azure services. Nowadays, many projects use the cloud in one form or another, and it’s the exception for a project not to use cloud services. Cloud services are used not only for hosting finished projects but also for development. For example, Azure allows you to automate the project assembly process and testing. All these possibilities dramatically simplify and speed up development.

– You are Microsoft MVP. Could you tell us more about it?

– Microsoft’s MVP, or Most Valuable Professional, is an award given to IT experts by Microsoft. For example, I have an MVP in the Developer Technology category. I work on open-source projects and write technical articles about development. There are also MVPs in other categories: artificial intelligence, Azure cloud technologies, IoT, etc. To become an MVP, you need to be a noticeable expert. Usually, when someone receives this title, they are already well-known in their field, with a series of successfully implemented projects, popular publications, presentations, and so on. Unlike certifications, the MVP title does not have public criteria. So, you can’t obtain it by downloading a list of ready-made answers to questions and preparing yourself, as can be done with certifications. In my case, in 2016, when Microsoft released the .NET Core platform, I started actively working with it, transitioned some of my open-source projects to it, and wrote articles on .NET Core development; during this period, I first received the MVP award. Now, I continue doing the same activities as before. I keep supporting my open-source projects and occasionally write technical articles. There is also a separate MVP community in Ukraine. These are people interested in and working with Microsoft’s technological stack.

– You just mentioned the MVP community. Could you elaborate on that?

– It’s a community of Ukrainian IT specialists with the MVP award. Currently, there are 15 active MVPs in Ukraine in various categories. There are about 5000 MVPs worldwide. This award is given every year. It’s worth clarifying that MVP specialists do not receive any financial bonuses from Microsoft. However, they do get some non-material opportunities. For example, they can directly communicate with Microsoft development teams and gain access to projects not yet available to the public. It’s noteworthy that the Ukrainian MVP community comprises many diverse people, all with extensive experience. Since the war began, nearly all Ukrainian MVPs have participated in various humanitarian projects, helping the state and volunteering.

– What does being an MVP? Does it affect the salary of the person who holds the title?

– The MVP title significantly enhances recognition and helps attract clients worldwide, as it is a sign that the person is a strong expert. However, it doesn’t dramatically change anything for them if the specialist was already a firm expert and have own personal brand before receiving the title. The MVP award is more of a pleasant bonus to existing experience and achievements.

– Okay, you mentioned Microsoft’s cloud solution. Are there any competitors to Microsoft in this market? How many are there?

– Of course, there are competitors. Amazon was the first in the cloud services market. We can name AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud among today’s most significant cloud platforms. These platforms provide the largest number of services and volume of resources. Besides them, there are smaller clouds, like Digital Ocean, with a much shorter list of services but more straightforward pricing. Local clouds also compete with the giants, such as China’s Alibaba Cloud, primarily targeting the Chinese market. The cloud services model is quite effective and exciting for different companies.

– In terms of percentage, how do you think Microsoft and Google are doing? Is it 50–50, or something else?

– I don’t remember the exact statistics, but as far as I know, Amazon leads, followed by Microsoft with a lag of about 20%, and then Google. But it’s better to look up the current data. Generally, a few percentage points, plus or minus, aren’t unimportant. All these companies have already occupied a significant market niche. It’s more important to understand which cloud suits a particular business.

– What about .NET? Does it have a future?

– Of course, .NET is actively developing. The expansion of .NET began in 2016 with the release of .NET Core, which rapidly entered the cross-platform solutions niche. Now, with the release of new versions of .NET, Microsoft is continuously improving and polishing the platform.

– Would you advise newcomers to enter the field of cloud computing? If yes, what specific advice would you give? How best to become an MVP?

– Cloud computing has deeply penetrated the development sphere; it’s hard to ignore. Newcomers should start with introductory free courses from Microsoft and Amazon. They have very well-prepared material. But it’s important to understand that the field of cloud computing is so vast that even an expert can’t know everything. It’s essential to determine the direction in which you want to develop.

Regarding the MVP title, the main thing is to develop what interests you and what you like. Recognition and money will come if you passionately engage in what pleases you.

– Thank you for the interview, Andrey. It was very informative and exciting.



Andrew Gubskiy

Software Architect, Ph.D., Microsoft MVP in Developer Technologies.