Learn Cloud Computing: Basic Requirements Introduction
What are the prerequisites and requirements to start learning Cloud Computing?
This is the first article in a series to introduce our members to the Prerequisites to learning Cloud Computing. This was a question I got a thousand times via email from our users and while we’ve got Learning Paths, AWS Certification Training courses, Hands-on Labs, and Skill Assessment, I think we can still provide a useful guide on this topic.
Prerequisites to learn Cloud Computing
Most of the members of Cloud Academy ask us, “What are the prerequisites and requirements to start learning Cloud Computing?”
In this article, we’ll give you the necessary information needed to answer this and make sure you’re ready to start learning cloud computing without worries.
The term Cloud Computing refers to a big area of Information Technology that involves: hardware infrastructures, software infrastructures, data center facilities, virtualization technologies, and software engineering concepts.
All these areas are connected and provide you with a strong background for your journey of learning to use and work with cloud computing platforms. However, in this article, we’ll focus only on Infrastructure as a Service cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine and Rackspace Cloud. As well as Platform as a Service, providers such as Salesforce.com, Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine.
We can start with a basic assumption: you don’t need a particular degree or a Computer Science or Computer Engineering Degree to learn cloud computing. You can start learning cloud computing from scratch even if you have very basic skills in information technology.
Wrong assumptions about learning cloud computing:
1. To learn cloud computing you should be able to code.
To learn cloud computing, you can start using a public or private cloud computing service, even if you are not a software developer.
2. You should have some previous experience in the IT world.
Cloud Computing is a technology used in all industries globally. Understanding it will help everyone, not just technical people. Chances are, you work at a company that is already using cloud infrastructure.
3. Cloud computing is only for technical people and developers.
Cloud Computing is changing how companies build and use IT systems, involving all their software. Cloud Computing is a topic that managers, marketing people, executives, system administrators, and developers must learn. Of course, with different approaches and specific aspects for the different roles and responsibilities.
Operating systems, Virtualization and Networking
Since Cloud Computing is a broad area, to learn Cloud Computing you should have some skills related to basic concepts of Operating Systems (how they work and operate at a high level): Windows, Linux and a few basic concepts about them.
If you are pretty confident with them then you know that Virtualization Technologies play a very big role when we speak about cloud computing: there is nothing like trying to start your own virtual machine (you can do that with VirtualBox) to understand how a virtualized environment works. Virtualization allows you to create virtual environments that have specific amounts of CPU, RAM and disk space assigned and their own installation of an Operating System like Linux or Windows.
They share the same physical hardware and all the network equipment but they are virtually separated from the other virtual machines. One of the first pioneers in this industry is a company called VMware. Virtualization was a well-known technology before VMware, but this company basically changed the landscape by commercializing it as packaged software that is now very common in small, medium and big sized companies.
Virtualization has introduced an economical and strategical concept called Consolidation. It means that companies around the world, using Virtualization, don’t have to allocate a single, physical server for every type of application or workload they run, but they can share resources across many virtual machines.
Basic concepts you should know about Virtualization
Hypervisor: the name of the Virtualization Core that runs all the virtualization machines. An example is VMware, KVM, Xen or OpenVZ. All the cloud environments use a (modified) hypervisor. Amazon Web Services uses Xen. Learn what is a Hypervisor here.
Virtual Machine: this is the basic element. You should know that a virtual machine has its own operating system, CPU, RAM, disk space, and may have a more articulated configuration on the networking side.
Virtualization advantages: consolidation, possibility to move VMs among different physical nodes, flexibility to add new resources to an existing virtual machine. If you want to deepen your understanding of the most important technical advantages of server virtualization, this course on Virtualization Technologies gives you everything you need to get started.
Once you have basic knowledge of Virtualization Technologies and Operating Systems, you should consider some introductory course to Networking. Then, you will easily learn cloud computing.
Networking can be a very difficult topic, and even those with some strong skills, typically require time to fully understand it. Please refer to the networking section of this article to understand what the prerequisites are.
Finally, we want you to have a clear idea of what Public Cloud Computing vs Private Cloud Computing means.
Public Cloud: we refer to a publicly accessible infrastructure where you can store data, virtual machines, and any other kind of cloud resources. You can do that autonomously, and you don’t have to invest in hardware or infrastructure. You use public clouds with a pay per use approach. You are not buying the car, you are renting it for a specific period of time.
Private Cloud: as a company, you want all the flexibility and advantages of Cloud Computing but you may still have your own data center and infrastructure. You are responsible for managing the whole thing.
In this short lecture, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to understand the differences between these models: Cloud Deployment Models: Public, Private, and Hybrid Clouds.
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