1. Home
  2. Training Library
  3. Module 1 - What is the Cloud?

Servers and Data Centers

Developed with



The course is part of this learning path

Servers and Data Centers

Course Description 

This module explains what servers and data centers are, before explaining what the cloud is and contrasting the different types of cloud service models. 

Learning Objectives 

The objectives of this Course are to provide you with and understanding of: 

  • the basic components and operation of servers and data centers. 
  • what the cloud means and its role in providing software, hardware and other computer services. 
  • the different types of cloud service models. 
  • the key business benefits of cloud services, including economic and security benefits. 

Intended Audience 

The Course is aimed at anybody who needs a basic understanding of what the cloud is, how it works, and the important considerations for using it. 


Although not essential, before you complete this Course it would be helpful if you have a basic understanding of server hardware components and what a data center is.  


We welcome all feedback and suggestions - please contact us at qa.elearningadmin@qa.com to let us know what you think. 


Sally and her husband Raj are the proud owners of a small dairy farm in the beautiful rolling hills of Montana. While Raj has always been passionate about his dairy cows, Sally loves ice-cream. She loves it so much that she convinced Raj to let her open an ice-cream parlor on the farm. And so, the Waffle Bowl was born. Things started well but slow. She could get everything she needed from either the farm or the local shop, and before long, her Ice cream was becoming a local favorite.  

After a year, Sally decided to invest in a small server. This little computer could run everything she needed to keep track of her supply chain and payroll for her small team. But never in her wildest dreams could she image what would happen when a massive Hollywood film crew set up in her local village. Word soon got round to the stars that there was some seriously good ice-cream just around the corner, and they couldn’t get enough of her beautiful farm and delicious ice-cream. Of course, this meant that they posted about it to their millions of social followers…  

Within a few days Sally was being bombarded with requests for her ice-cream. Millions of people were clamoring for her signature salted caramel and peanut butter waffles. Sally and Raj were blown away by this response, but they didn’t have the server capacity to handle the requests, or to manage their supply chain. They decided to invest in a data center, which gave them the servers they needed to handle all the new business, and the business grew from strength to strength.  

A few years down the line, and here we are. Sally and Raj’s Waffle Bowl has become a household name. Some things haven’t changed though. They still live on their farm, with a barnful of servers run by a one-man IT department named Tim. But the servers aren’t aging well. Sally keeps having to buy new motherboards, CPUs, ram, hard-drives and power supplies to keep them working. During yet another meeting to discuss IT costs, Tim suggests they move their data center into the cloud.  

Sally doesn’t like this one bit. For one thing, she’s quite fond of her barnful of servers. And she doesn’t understand why paying someone else for their servers would help the Waffle Bowl, because they already have a data center.  

Tim explains that cloud servers aren’t the same as the physical ones in the barn – they’re virtual! You just let the cloud service provider know what you need, and they can spin up servers to do the job. No more worrying about aging hardware, or buying new components. Servers in the cloud are just another kind of software, and you use them in the same way you use water or electricity – as a utility!  

Sally and Raj are convinced, and secretly Raj is happy about it – he can get his barn back for his cows!  

Every business needs servers and data centers these days, and cloud offers them in a maintenance free, customisable and scalable way. Anyone can use them, from tiny start-ups, to massive global enterprises. With their data centers now in the cloud, the waffle house is poised for world domination!  

About the Author

Daniel Ives has worked in the IT industry since leaving university in 1992, holding roles including support, analysis, development, project management and training.  He has worked predominantly with Windows and uses a variety of programming languages and databases.

Daniel has been training full-time since 2001 and with QA since the beginning of 2006.

Daniel has been involved in the creation of numerous courses, the tailoring of courses and the design and delivery of graduate training programs for companies in the logistics, finance and public sectors.

Previous major projects with QA include Visual Studio pre-release events around Europe on behalf of Microsoft, providing input and advice to Microsoft at the beta stage of development of several of their .NET courses.

In industry, Daniel was involved in the manufacturing and logistics areas. He built a computer simulation of a £20million manufacturing plant during construction to assist in equipment purchasing decisions and chaired a performance measurement and enhancement project which resulted in a 2% improvement in delivery performance (on time and in full).