How can Cloud help with IT Training?

Cloud is the logical evolution of Compute Power moving from an owned resource to a utility. In his book ‘The Big Switch’, Nicholas Carr likens the utilisation of electricity at the turn of the previous century, to what is happening now in the IT industry. As such, Cloud has been made possible primarily through the technological advances that machine virtualisation has provided. Just as technological advances in the late 1800’s allowed longer distribution lines for Electricity, leading to electricity becoming a utility.

According to the NIST Definition of Cloud Computing, the five essential characteristics that cloud computing systems must offer are:

  • On-demand self-service, to enable users to easily provision what they require without needing the assistance of cloud provider personnel
  • Broad network access, enabling access from a multitude of different devices
  • Resource pooling, derived mainly from the capability provided through virtualisation
  • Rapid elasticity, providing on-demand computing, hence the ability to ramp up and down as required
  • Measured service, the key to Cloud, only pay for what you use

Cloud is broken up into a number of Service Models, or ‘as a Service’ offerings, with the three main service types being Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Along with this, we have a number of Deployment models with the two main arguments being for Public Cloud as opposed to Private Cloud. Many organisations see the benefits of Public Cloud, but require control over some systems, which has led to the adoption of Hybrid models, where they make use of some services in the Public Cloud and others hosted in their own Private Cloud.

For organisations offering IT Training services, the Public Cloud is an attractive option for hosting lab environments for various instructor-led or even virtual deliveries. Of the essential characteristics that a Public Cloud offers, the On-demand self-service enables the IT Training provider to spin up the required number of machines, dependant on student registrations for the course. The broad network access allows students to use the device they desire, and through resource pooling and rapid elasticity, students are ensured the performance they require to complete their practical components. On top of that, the Training Provider benefits from not having to host their own costly data-centre to provide the lab environment required for training. The IaaS service model is an attractive option for IT Training organisations. Red Education uses IaaS in the Public cloud to deliver a premium training experience for a number of the courses they offer.

 

Written by David van Gemert

View David’s Bio Here

Why Pay for IT Training?

If you’re a technology integrator with 5 or more focus vendors, and you have to hold technical certifications across all of them to make top tier partnership then the question of training is a valid one. Not only do you have to take your key engineers out of the field for 5 days or more, but you have to put your hand in your pocket and pay as well!

If you’re an end user customer with a team of engineers to install, support, maintain infrastructure whether its on premise or cloud, paying for training becomes a question of whether the people you have trained and certified will hang around once they have acquired those new critical skills.

Both are fair concerns.

All the IT vendors provide a level of free information on their websites and forums these days. F5 is a great example. They have free “Getting Started” videos which are short snippets of how to run up the basics of all their products, plus communities like DevCentral where you can find the answer to almost any problem, plus a raft of innovative solutions that professionals from around the globe with substantial experience have contributed at no cost to anyone. There are other examples of this at Microsoft, Cisco and many others.

If you want to find the information, it’s there and freely available.

It is, however, the responsibility of all IT vendors to deliver a comprehensive training program based on an all encompassing classroom environment which gives you the hands-on skill and knowledge to address the complexity that arises with most projects. The vendors that we work with at Red Education are all enterprise and service provider grade solution providers. If you spend $100,000 or more on a technology solution to deliver a specific outcome to a business, unless you’re outsourcing the whole shebang, there better be skills and knowledge on how to put it together and then maintain, upgrade and support that solution once it’s in. That business outcome may not be realised otherwise.

This is where paid training is mandatory.

You get to spend a few days of allocated time to learning a technology, surrounded by experienced people (or novices with new approaches!) like yourself, drawing on the guidance of an instructor who should have plenty of experience for the group to draw on, delivering material written by the vendor so you get loads of best practise examples. Just on the instructor, ideally they should have hands on experience in the field – someone who is out in real environments implementing solutions with that technology, so they have actual “war stories” to bring into the classroom. Does your training provider do professional services as well? It’s not a bad indicator of whether their instructors “get out much”.

You should expect to walk away from the course having spent as much time as the course allows for you to undertake practical exercises using a sandbox style lab environment so that you can apply what you have learnt in your environment.

If you are looking to attain a certification with that vendor, it’s usually the case that the official classroom training gives you at least a start on gaining the skills and knowledge to tackle the exams associated with it.

I love that LinkedIn post you may have seen…. Person A: “What if we train them and they leave?” Person B: “What if we don’t and they stay?”. Indeed.

Rob Howard – Managing Director of Red Education

Red Education is the leading provider of specialised IT training and Professional services across the Asia-Pacific region. We provide training for multiple vendors with a regular public schedule in over 24 different locations. In addition to this we also have the ability to conduct closed onsite courses. For further information on how we can cater to your requirement please visit our website www.rededucation.com.