- January 6, 2017
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IT Cheat Sheet : Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing is taking advantage of computing resources housed outside an organization and accessed via the Internet. There are several types of cloud computing:
- Public – This is what most people think of when discussing cloud computing. In a Public cloud, organizations use resources provided by another company. Major IT players like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, and others offer public cloud solutions.
- Private – Some organizations repurpose their existing data centers to provide their own internally provisioned cloud services. In a private cloud, all resources are owned by the organization, but they are used the same way someone would use a public cloud. Private clouds are popular with organizations that are very concerned about security and data privacy such a financial institutions, healthcare organizations, and government agencies.
- Hybrid – Hybrid is a combination of public and private cloud. For instance, a financial institution may run their sensitive applications and data storage on a private cloud, but move some of their non-secure operations to the public cloud.There are two main reasons we see organizations going to cloud computing:
- Cost savings
- Increased flexibility and scalabilityIf you think about it, unless an organization is an IT services provider or vendor, IT is not the organization’s main business. It doesn’t make sense for an organization to develop its own internal computing facilities and staff them when the organization can easily license access to the same infrastructure via a cloud computing offering. In a cloud computing offering, the cloud computing vendor owns the hardware, software, networks, etc. and they are responsible for staffing, supporting, and securing the computing environment. A public cloud user signs a contract with a cloud computing provider (including a service level agreement or SLA), and then starts using the computing resources through a web browser interface.
For flexibility, as an organization’s needs evolve and change, they simply contact the cloud provider and ask them to “provision” additional resources or change their configuration. The organization doesn’t have to contact a hardware vendor, negotiate a new purchase agreement, await delivery, configure and install the equipment, and then support it.
Good examples of the effective use of Cloud Computing include:
A company moves their entire data center to a cloud computing solution like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.
Skillsoft is a cloud computing provider that allows our customers to run their learning management systems and store all their learning assets on Skillsoft’s computing environment.
IT is the beneficiary of cloud computing, and they are involved in cloud computing vendor selection, learning how to use the cloud computing environment, and then moving existing operations or developing new programs on the cloud computing environment. If implemented properly, a move to cloud computing should be invisible to anyone outside of IT. There may be some minor operational impacts to business units, but these should be minor and would not require any “cloud computing training” of people outside of IT.
There are a number of skills important to successful Cloud Computing initiatives:
- Understanding of the business benefits to IT of Cloud Computing – The IT department needs to understand what is involved in a move to cloud computing – what are the benefits and possible pitfalls. Cost savings and flexibility must be weighed against multiple risk factors including not having direct control over infrastructure and computing components (what happens if the provider goes out of business?), and loosing direct control over the security environment.
- Understanding of cloud computing offerings – There are many factors to consider when selecting a cloud computing vendor, so organizations need to know what is involved with using each environment. It may also be that no one vendor can provide all of an organization’s cloud computing needs so multiple vendors may need to be selected and integrated.
- How to structure cloud computing agreements and service level agreements – Vendor selections and contract negotiations are different than for internal IT purchases.
- How to architect on the cloud computing platform – Organizations need to know any unique requirements for architecting solutions on the cloud computing vendor they select.
- How to manage a cloud computing solutions – Instead of having dedicated data center and IT operations staff who handle day-to-day management of an IT infrastructure, IT staff need to learn how to manage remote resources and how to work with the staff of the cloud computing provider.
- Project Management – Cloud Computing, especially a migration to a cloud computing environment, requires strong project management skills.
- Is your organization using or considering cloud computing?
- If yes, are you using a public, private, or hybrid cloud?
- If public, have you decided on a cloud provider? Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure?
- Do you have the skills you need in your organization to support your cloud efforts?
Skillsoft provides a range of content to support all of the skills described in the previous section. Here are some tips for finding the right content to show to your customer/prospect:
- Playlists on IT demo advanced group on demo8 – This is where you should start!! There is a folder in the Playlists section called “Cloud Computing and Virtualization”. You will find a number of cloud computing playlists that highlight our best cloud computing content, and the content is presented in the order a learner should take them. The playlists also include multiple modalities including videos, books, and video-based courses. If you asked the questions suggested earlier, you can select the playlists that most closely align with their needs.
- Browse – To find Cloud Computing content in Browse Views, go to Browse > IT Skills > Cloud and Virtualization. From here you would click on the appropriate vendor based on the questions you asked earlier. As you go through the Browse views, make sure you point out how we are presenting the latest content at each step. We are all about “content discovery”, not “searching”.
- Search – You can easily search on specific big data technologies, but you may get a large number of assets returned without a clear indication of what you should take and what order you should take it in. If you use search, try to use advanced searching techniques to narrow the number of search results. If you find a course, click on the Related Items link to see if the course if part of a course series. Related Items will also show you how the asset is categorized and you can try clicking on the displayed category links to see if there is more related content.
This article was originally published by Skillsoft.com