At Cloud Academy, we are passionate about cloud computing technology, and nothing makes our eyes light up like adding a new cloud provider to our learning experience.
What is Alibaba Cloud?
Alibaba Cloud is the cloud computing arm of Alibaba, the Chinese internet shopping giant that is often compared to Amazon. Whilst they may be not so familiar to many people in the West, they have a global reach, supporting 23 regions across the world. Regularly receiving large investments from their parent company since being founded in 2009, they have become a major player in the cloud computing industry.
Why use Alibaba Cloud in a multi-cloud strategy?
We take multi-cloud seriously here at Cloud Academy. It’s a strategy that has huge advantages for those who adopt cloud technology for the long haul. It brings with it increased reliability and redundancy, and it helps you sleep at night by not having to worry about vendor lock-in.
But whilst multi-cloud is a big opportunity, it is also a big challenge. Running workloads at scale across multiple cloud vendors means that you and your colleagues now have to be fluent in more cloud vendors than before. In short, your knowledge burden has increased.
Cloud Academy already provides exceptional certification coverage of the big three cloud providers (AWS, Azure, and GCP). Our Training Plans and learning paths have helped numerous companies and organizations (including some very big names) upskill themselves. But we have not been sitting idle.
Alibaba Cloud hands-on labs
We’ve begun to support Alibaba Cloud, or as we like to call it here at Cloud Academy, Ali Cloud. We’ve started with a learning path for the Alibaba Cloud Certified Associate (ACA) certification. And recently, we’ve updated this learning path, adding our first hands-on labs.
We regularly hear from customers that our hands-on labs are a key ingredient in the learning process. Often, a technical topic simply doesn’t fully click until a student has been able to practice it for real. We’re excited that we can now offer our hands-on labs to customers who are interested in Alibaba Cloud.
Right now, you can learn about Alibaba Cloud’s Object Storage Service (OSS) and Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) services in one of our laboratory environments. You can also test yourself with our OSS and VPC lab challenges to cement the practical knowledge you’ve gained.
If you have experience with VPC and Object Storage Services from other cloud providers, you will find the Ali Cloud experience familiar. This is particularly true if you are coming from an Amazon Web Services background.
How is Alibaba Cloud different?
Ali Cloud covers all the foundational services that have powered the cloud to where it is today. However, it doesn’t cover some of the more innovative services. For example, there’s currently no Ali Cloud equivalent of Amazon Athena (an amazingly useful serverless interactive query service that can work with data stored in many different places).
The Ali Cloud equivalent of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is named Elastic Compute Service (ECS). AWS customers may find this initially confusing since the ECS acronym means Elastic Container Service (a managed container orchestration tool) in Amazon land. But there’s no doubt that another provider supplying compute globally means the cloud landscape is more competitive and that you now have more multi-cloud strategies available to you.
Alibaba Cloud in business
You don’t have to be in the Asia-Pacific region, or have Chinese customers, to make use of Ali Cloud. Ali Cloud’s own customer case studies show that while Ali Cloud has an Asian focus, many of the world’s biggest multinational companies are already making use of their service.
Our experience of Ali Cloud has been very positive. One thing to watch out for is the quality of the Ali Cloud documentation. It sometimes shows that it wasn’t written in English first, but it’s still very usable and accurate. Ali Cloud also doesn’t have the same heritage of innovation of the big three cloud providers. But neither of these things should deter you from investigating what Ali Cloud is capable of doing for you.
We’d like to encourage customers interested in Alibaba Cloud to try out our new labs. You can also use Cloud Academy’s labs and courses to compare the different cloud providers, to see how similar services differ by provider.
If you have comments or questions about our Alibaba Cloud learning material, we want to hear from you. Let us know what you think and what you’d like to see more of in the future.