New Content: AWS, Azure, Typescript, Java, Docker, 13 New Labs, and Much More

This month, our Content Team released a whopping 13 new labs in real cloud environments! If you haven’t tried out our labs, you might not understand why we think that number is so impressive. Our labs are not “simulated” experiences — they are real cloud environments using accounts on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Docker, Kubernetes, and much more. This means you’ll log in directly on the cloud console to test your hands-on skills.

As you may know, we have three very different types of labs: hands-on labs (guided), lab challenges (non-guided), and our newest lab playgrounds (sandbox). Depending on your technical level, you’ll want to start with the right lab for you.

  • Hands-on labs are guided experiences to learn in live cloud environments with step-by-step guidance to practice your skills without getting stuck. 
  • Lab challenges are non-guided skill validation to demonstrate problem-solving skills — basically, hands-on labs with the gloves off.
  • Lab playgrounds provide a safe and secure sandbox environment for you to explore your own ideas, follow along with Cloud Academy courses, or answer your own questions — all without having to install any software on your local machine. You can feel free to take risks and try unfamiliar tools and commands to learn more about working in a live environment — even if it means running into a dead end and needing to start the lab over.

New training justification letters

Since our training platform helps build the real-world experience you need before “testing” your skills in your company’s live environment, it helps mitigate major production issues and significantly adds value to your organization. To help you streamline your company approval process, we created new training justification letters. Whether you’re looking to get a personal plan for yourself or an enterprise plan for your team or a few co-workers, we have a template to help you showcase the value of using our training platform.

New content on Cloud Academy

At any time, you can find all of our new releases by going to our Training Library and finding the section titled “New this month in our library.” You can also keep track of what new training is coming for the next 4-6 weeks with our Content Roadmap.


Hands-on Lab: Rewinding a MySQL Amazon Aurora Database with Backtrack

Compared to other backup and restore options, Backtrack is fast. With a traditional Point in Time Restore (PITR), where your database is restored to a specific point in time, the process can be expected to take hours on large datasets. Backtrack can complete rewinding your database in minutes. In this lab, you will populate an Amazon Aurora MySQL database with some sample data, delete some data to simulate a data loss event, use Backtrack to restore the database, and finally, you will use Amazon CloudWatch to examine Backtrack specific metrics that are available to you.

Hands-on Lab: Storing and Rotating RDS Credentials in Secrets Manager

One of AWS Secrets Manager’s key features is the ability to automatically rotate a secret on a schedule. Secrets Manager integrates seamlessly with your existing AWS services. In addition, it can be easily configured to rotate credentials in external or unmanaged services using a custom Lambda function. In this lab, you will store a secret in Secrets Manager, update a Python web application to retrieve the secret and, enable automatic rotation of the password in the secrets using Secrets Manager.

Lab Challenge: AWS Database Migration Service (DMS) Challenge

In this challenge lab, your AWS Database Migration Service (DMS) and Relational Database Service skills are put to the test. You need to complete several tasks that result in successfully migrating a database between two real RDS instances before time runs out.


Course: Overview of Azure Services (UPDATE)

In this course, you will not only get an overview of the Azure services available in various categories, such as compute, storage, and networking, but you will also follow hands-on examples showing you how to create virtual machines and web apps using the Azure Portal and Azure command-line interface.

Course: Advanced VM Management in Azure

This course offers an in-depth look at VM scale sets, VM configuration management, VM storage options, and VM monitoring within Azure. We kick things off by looking at VM scale sets, vertical scaling, and horizontal scaling. After that, you’ll learn about the tools used for configuration management, as well as how to deploy software using VM extensions and how to deploy an Azure PowerShell DSC Configuration.

Lab Playground: Azure Cloud Shell Playground

Azure Power Shell is an authenticated, browser-accessible way to interact with Azure resources from the Azure portal. Cloud Shell is authenticated, meaning once you have access to your Azure portal, you also have access to Cloud Shell. It allows you to use either Bash or Powershell in combination with the Azure CLI to programmatically interact with most Azure resources quickly and without having to set up an environment. Companies use Cloud Shell because of the ease it offers in managing Azure resources. The playground is a safe and secure sandbox environment for you to explore your own ideas or answer your own questions all without the need to install any software on your local machine.

Lab Playground: Azure Networking Playground

Azure offers the ability to create and configure a large number of networking resources and manage things like virtual machines inside your networks to a very specific degree. Networking skills in Azure are also essential for attaining certifications like the AZ-104 certification. For certifications like that one and in order to be able to build solutions in Azure, a solid grasp of networking principles is needed.

Lab Playground: Azure Databricks and Data Lake Storage Playground

Azure Databricks is an analytics platform powered by Apache Spark. Spark is a unified analytics engine capable of working with virtually every major database, data caching service, and data warehouse provider. In Databricks you have the option of working with Spark, Scala, and Python to manage, analyze, and visualize data. Notebooks in Databricks clusters provide the ability to programmatically interact with data from virtually any major data source.

Google Cloud Platform

Hands-on Lab: Managing Google Compute Engine Persistent Disks

Persistent disks are one of the core concepts when you need to store and handle data that will be used by Compute Engine instances. Persistent disks can be zonal or regional. In this lab, you will create a zonal persistent disk, attach it to an existing VM, and back it up by creating a snapshot.

Hands-on Lab: Monitoring VPC and Firewall Operations With Network Telemetry

Google Cloud Platform provides you the possibility to create, handle, modify, and secure a custom network infrastructure following the latest security requirements. You can create subnets, define a firewall to protect incoming and outgoing traffic, and perform many other operations to keep your resources safe. In this lab, you will create a VPC and create a subnet inside it with flow logs enabled. You will then create a firewall rule with firewall rule logging enabled, to block HTTP traffic directed to a VM that Cloud Academy has deployed into your environment. Finally, you will switch to Cloud Logging to view the logs created.

Machine Learning

Hands-on Lab: Moving From Spreadsheet to Database

Databases are essential to organizing and understanding your data. Databases allow you to ask questions or query your data to find exactly what is needed. This lab is aimed at beginners who want to move beyond spreadsheets and migrate their data into a database.

Hands-on Lab: Handling Variable Data with Grace

Data can come in all varieties, which can be a major drawback of having a fixed schema. NoSQL allows for any type of data to be stored, allowing your schema to evolve. In today’s world with IoT and increasing data complexity, NoSQL is becoming a standard part of many technology stacks. This lab is aimed at students with a basic understanding of Python who want to learn about Amazon DynamoDB. Students will explore programmatically and using the DynamoDB Console interface to insert and scan data.

Hands-on Lab: Acquiring and Storing Data in Python

Utilizing APIs to query and store data is the heart of most web applications. This lab is aimed at students who have a moderate understanding of Python, who want to understand how to query an API, manipulate the data, and store that data into a database with a more advanced schema. This lab walks through complex processing of JSON data into multiple tables, and shows how powerful Python is for data processing.


Lab Challenge: Docker Basics Challenge

In this lab challenge, your basic Docker skills are put to the test. You need to complete several tasks using a real Docker host to complete the challenge. Use your knowledge of Docker concepts and the Docker command-line interface (CLI) in unison to pass all of the checks before time runs out.


Learning Path: Typescript: Zero to Hero

This learning path is a complete guide to building applications using Microsoft’s popular JavasScript superset TypeScript. The learning path starts with an overview of TypeScript, and how to get the TypeScript toolset installed.

Hands-on Lab: Understanding the Java Spring Framework

Spring is a popular Java-based framework for developing large-scale enterprise-level applications both on and off the web. It is based on the dependency injection design pattern and allows for building decoupled applications. It has grown in popularity over the years due to this nature and the number of supported projects that are still ongoing. Spring also provides support for connection to databases using both JDBC methods and object-relational mapping libraries such as Hibernate.


Learning Path: Preparation for the (ISC)² CISSP Certification (UPDATE)

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) continues to be the most in-demand information security professional certification currently available. This certification learning path is suitable for anyone wanting to become certified as a CISSP.

Updated content to this learning path includes the following:


Office Hours: Mastering the Azure Administrator Certification

Do you want to take a really impactful step in your technical career? Join Guy Hummel, Azure Content Lead, and Tom Mitchell, Azure Trainer, to learn how to attain the Microsoft Azure Administrator Associate certification, one of the most sought after Azure certs around.

Reducing Costs for Your Containerized Workloads on ECS

In this webinar with, we discussed how to optimize infrastructure for containers at 3 different stages:

  1. The instance life cycle – should it run as an RI, a Spot Instance, or plain On-Demand?
  2. The instance type and size – as we deploy many different ECS services, how do we best pick a mix of instances for our containerized applications?
  3. The Container Utilization – how do we make sure our services and tasks are optimally sized for their needs and aren’t oversubscribed for resources?

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