Posts Tagged 'cloud computing training'

Implementing a Private Cloud Solution

Last week I attended Learning Tree’s “Implementing a Private Cloud Solution” course at our Reston Education Center. It is a great course for anyone seeking in-depth technical details on how to build their own on-premises private cloud. The course also covers using a hosted private cloud solution and building secure connections to your own data center.

This course is not for the faint of heart! It is also not for the technically challenged! When you show up Tuesday morning you need to be prepared to work very hard for the next four days. The course author, Boleslav Sykora, has put together a fast paced session that gives you as much technical detail as you would ever want on the subject. It is the type of course where you will want to come early and stay late each and every day so you can work through all the extensive bonus exercises that are offered. I loved it and I think you will too!

We feature building two private clouds, one using Eucalyptus and another using Microsoft System Center, completely from scratch. There is a lot of Linux command line stuff and quite a bit of detailed networking configuration. This is exactly the reality of what is involved if you want to build your own private cloud. Over the four days you come to understand that private cloud computing is not some mystical, magical hype but is an evolution of solid fundamental concepts that have been around for some time. This course will appeal to technical professionals who want to gain real experience implementing solutions that will define the future of the on-premises data center.

For those who would prefer not to bother with the complexity of an internal private cloud implementation there are many hosted solutions to choose from. Probably the best known is Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). Once you use VPC on Amazon you will likely never go back to using EC2 without it.

In fact as I write this blog I am on a train heading to New York. There I will teach Learning Tree’s “Cloud Computing with Amazon Web Services” course. That, also, is a great course!

Because there are many private cloud implementations based on the Amazon EC2 model and API (particularly Eucalyptus) Amazon has kind of become the de facto standard for how Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is done. Even if you believe you would never use a public cloud for a production system there is much to be learned about cloud computing from Amazon. Beyond that the public cloud is a great place to do testing, development and proof-of-concept before investing the time and capital required to build your own private cloud. Public clouds such as Amazon can also become part of a hybrid solution that features the best of what private clouds and public clouds have to offer. Learning Tree’s Amazon Web Services course gives you hands-on experience with many aspects of Amazon’s cloud and shows you how to build solutions using the various services offered there.

So if you are a hardcore techie who wants to have end-to-end control over all aspects of a cloud solution come to Learning Tree’s private cloud course. If you would like to understand how to leverage the Amazon public cloud or to understand the service models of arguably the most dominant cloud provider in the world then come to Learning Tree’s Amazon Web Services course. Either way I hope to see you soon!

Kevin Kell

Updating the Introduction to Cloud Computing Course

It only seems last week that I submitted an updated version of Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing introductory course. Well time passes quickly and Cloud Computing changes just as quickly. Its time to update the course again. Feedback from attendees has been extremely positive and the course is proving extremely popular with a high demand.

So why the update only weeks after the last one ? Two things: firstly, there are changes in cloud products and tools we cover in the course, and secondly, the development team likes to respond to feedback and suggestions we receive from attendees promptly – those comments on evaluation forms attendees provide really are invaluable to us.

Based on feedback and current trends in Cloud Computing we are making the following changes to the course.

  • Firstly, the order of the chapters is going to be changed. We teach the architecture and services of the cloud using the SPI (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) model top down. The order of these will change so that we introduce the architecture bottom up – that is IaaS, SaaS, PaaS. The feeling is that this will be a more logical structure and smoother flow.
  • More hands-on exercises. These are always popular in Learning Tree courses. The challenge on this course is developing exercises on a wide variety of different providers products to give a balanced, yet realistic view of what the cloud provides. New exercises will be added that utilise Amazon AWS as well as calculating and evaluating the cost of adopting cloud computing. In the existing exercises, more will be added to highlight integrating services from different cloud vendors.
  • Expand on private clouds. As more and more organisations begin to really adopt or at least evaluate private clouds, so we have received requests for more on this topic in the course. Private clouds will now have their own chapter as well as a hands-on exercise working with the Eucalyptus private cloud system.

The above are the major changes to the course we are making as well as updating all tools such as Microsoft Azure and Google App engine to the latest versions. The aim is to have the first run of the new revision by 14 May 2012. So before I sign off and begin work on the new revision, may I take this opportunity to thank all the attendees of the Cloud Computing introductory course for attending the course and providing invaluable feedback.

Chris Czarnecki

Get a New File Server in 15 Minutes

Last week, a customer sent me an email that included the following. “The file server is full and slowing everyone down, and I’m tired of having to clean files off of it. Maybe we should get a new one.”

So, I went to Dell’s Web site and found the cheapest file server they had. It cost $1395, which doesn’t include the charge for installing it.

I quoted her the price, and then showed her my file server in the cloud. I demonstrated how to create drives and folders. I explained how we could map cloud drives as drives in Windows Explorer. I showed her what software had to be installed on everyone’s computers. I also showed her how to access files from a Web browser.

The cost for this server is $4 per account, which includes 10 GB of storage. Additional storage is charged at the rate of 15 cents per GB per month. We figured it will be about $20 per month given the number of accounts we need and the amount of storage required. Plus, the first 2 weeks are a free trial. If for some reason they don’t like it, they just have to cancel the account. So, the risk is $0.

Do the math. $2000 for a server that they have to backup and administer, or $20 a month and someone else even pays the electric bill.

Where do you get this file server you may be wondering? Go to Sign up for a business account and choose either the Workgroup or Server edition. We used the Workgroup edition.

Once you have the account, you can create drives. Drives can be created using Amazon S3 storage or using RackSpace. The cost is the same either way.

Finally, install the Jungle Disk client software. This is not strictly required, as the files can be accessed through the browser. However, the software provides three useful features. First, cloud drives can be mapped as a drives in Explorer. Second, local folders can be synchronized with cloud storage. Third, scheduled backups to the cloud can be set up. The client software runs on Mac and Windows. There is even an iPhone app.

The whole process takes about fifteen minutes.

This is an example of the cloud not only making computing cheaper, but also easier and better. If you would like to learn how to use the cloud to benefit your users, take one of the courses in Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing curriculum.

Doug Rehnstrom

Private Cloud Computing Training Course

Since I wrote Learning Tree’s first Cloud Computing course eighteen months ago, a number of related courses have been developed including:

All of these provide attendees with the vital skills required to make the most appropriate use of Cloud Computing for their organisations. With the rapid uptake in Cloud Computing it is interesting to see that organisations want to not only deploy public cloud solutions but now more and more private clouds.

To gain the knowledge required to deploy a private cloud computing solution, a wide range of business and technical knowledge is required as well as product specific details. As an example, deploying a private cloud can be achieved by provisioning an off-premise infrastructure from a provider such as Amazon or Rackspace for example or hosting it on-premise. An appropriate solution may be a hybrid private cloud handling different traffic types on the on-premise and off-premise clouds. Security will also be a primary concern as well as regulatory compliance for many organisations. The different type of storage types must also be considered for security, performance and durability. On-premise private clouds are available from many vendors such as Eucalyptus, OpenStack, Open Nebula, Hyper-V to name a few.

The new Learning Tree Cloud Computing course will address all the above subjects and more and provide attendees with the skills required to design and implement a private cloud appropriate for their organisation. I will keep you informed on the progress of the course development as it progresses.

Chris Czarnecki

“Agile” Cloud Computing


I often see the word “Agile” associated with cloud computing. That’s a word I know well. I wrote a class on Agile Programming, and I teach XP and SCRUM. I believe I’m Agile in my projects. But what does it really mean?

For some, “agile” is just a tactful way of saying “get it done cheaper”! But it’s more than that.

When we write “Agile” with a capital “A” it means it abides by the 12 principles of Agile programming. We could summarize those principles by saying; give customers high quality, quickly and for a good value. And when the customer changes their mind, adapt. That all sounds very obvious doesn’t it?

If we write “agile” with a lower case “a”, then it means “quick and well-coordinated in movement” (see

Cloud Computing

So, what does “cloud computing” mean?

  • In part, it means rented. We are going to purchase software and/or resources when we need them and for only how long we need them.
  • It also means elastically scalable. As demand fluctuates we easily add or remove resources, paying only for what we need at any moment in time.
  • Cloud computing means fault tolerant; the system is almost always available.
  • For many, cloud computing means online; the system is available from anywhere.
  • It also means resilient; the system can automatically recover from failures.
  • Cloud computing means reduced administration. Someone else is responsible for patches and backups and hardware upgrades.

Agile Cloud Computing

Does cloud computing make IT more Agile (agile)? To determine this, we can analyze the cost, but cost can’t be the only driving factor. To be Agile, cloud services must satisfy users and must provide even greater benefit than traditional software.

I moved all my servers to EC2, not because it is cheaper, but because it is better for my company. The fact that it’s also cheaper is a pleasant by-product.

Using Windows Azure is not the cheapest way to deploy an ASP.NET application. It can however be the best (most Agile) way. At least if you care about things like scalability, fault-tolerance, security and simplicity.


There are many ways to streamline IT using cloud computing services. These services include Office 365, Google Apps, Windows Live, Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure,, SharePoint Online and many more.

If you want a better understanding of cloud computing and how it can make your organization more Agile, take one of the courses in Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing curriculum. You can even take the course from the cloud using Learning Tree AnyWare

You may also like to read these articles that explain more about the different cloud services.

Doug Rehnstrom

Please visit Learning Tree’s new .NET Programming blog.

Learning Windows Azure

Over the past few months, I’ve written a series of articles on learning Microsoft Windows Azure. I thought it might be helpful if I listed them all in one place.

I’m also the author of Learning Tree course 2602, Windows azure Platform Introduction. If you want to move beyond the basics, come to this 4-day class. I’ll be teaching it in Reston, VA starting July 26.  We also have it scheduled in Toronto, ON for Aug 30.  If you can’t make it to either Reston or Toronto, you can also attend either of these live classes online from home or office via AnyWare.

If you have any questions or suggestions for new Azure related articles, please leave a comment.


Doug Rehnstrom

Choosing Windows Azure or Amazon Web Services

Two of the largest providers of cloud computing services are Microsoft and Amazon. Both companies sell cloud services at every level of the cloud computing stack: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).

The Windows Azure Platform

In the world of cloud computing, Microsoft is probably best known for their PaaS offering, Windows Azure. However, they provide many other cloud-based services as well. These include SQL Azure for relational database, Office Live, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Microsoft CRM Online and SkyDrive. When Microsoft says they are “all in” on the cloud, they aren’t joking.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon’s best known cloud technology is their IaaS offering, Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2). They too have a full range of other services including, S3 and SimpleDB for storage, RDS for relational database and Elastic Beanstalk, their PaaS offering.

Learning about Cloud-Computing Technology

Choosing between Azure and Amazon can be confusing, but a little knowledge will go a long way towards making an informed decision. At Learning Tree we have many cloud computing and related training courses that will help.

To learn more about Windows Azure, come to Learning Tree course 2602, Windows® Azure™ Platform Introduction: Programming Cloud-Based Applications. If you’re in the Washington, DC area, I’ll be teaching that course on July 26, in Reston, VA.

Learning Tree is also developing a new course, Cloud Computing with Amazon Web Services. It is scheduled to run for the first time on August 30, also in Reston, VA. That course will be taught by the course author, Steve Lockwood.

Learning Tree also has a great cloud computing overview course, Cloud Computing Technologies: A Comprehensive Hands-On Introduction. In that course we’ll give you an overview of the cloud services provided not only by Microsoft and Amazon, but also Google, and others.

Doug Rehnstrom

Also, we just started a new .NET Programming blog. Please visit if you’re a .NET programmer, or would like to learn more.

Reasons for NOT Moving To The Cloud

Yesterday I read a great article by Ray DePena titled ‘65 Reasons for NOT Moving To The Cloud‘ which was written slightly ‘tongue in cheek’ but I believe highlights a number of important misconceptions about Cloud Computing. I urge you to read it. The key message that the article promotes is that there are very few if no reasons for at least seriously considering some aspects of Cloud Computing in your organisations IT strategy.

Some of the more lighthearted reasons included:

  • You like to be in control – you don’t use banks, you carry all your cash in your wallet where it’s safe
  • You treasure the 6-12 week vacation between ordering equipment and waiting for it to arrive
  • You love the crinkling sound of unwrapping shrink-wrapped software
  • You’re partial to capital expenditures

You see from these that whilst humorous, there is an important message. The cloud delivers real benefits both technically and financially. Some of the more serious reasons listed include:

  • You need to be FISMA compliant, and Google Apps is not FISMA compliant – oh wait…
  • Your security needs are greater than the Pentagon’s
  • You’re concerned that Cloud providers can see your data – that’s why you don’t use any telecommunications services
  • Your internal infrastructure is much more reliable than that of the leading Cloud Service Providers

Anybody who has attended the Learning Tree Cloud Computing course will recognise many of these myths and misunderstandings about Cloud Computing and how the course, over three full hands-on days, dispels them all and more via presentation by an expert instructor with real world experience of delivering Cloud Computing solutions.
Based on my experience of hearing clients repeat the same misconceptions, I wrote a white paper that you can read here. If you would like to find out more about what Cloud Computing really is and how it can benefit your organisation why not consider attending the course. A schedule can be found here, I am sure you will not be disappointed and you will have access to an industry expert who can answer your business specific questions too.


Learn About Cloud Computing Using Cloud Computing

The fact that Cloud Computing is important and impacts business is no longer an ‘if’ question. It is definitely now a ‘how’ question. How can Cloud Computing be best used by my organization to bring significant business and technical benefits? This is not an easy questions for many reasons including:

  • Cloud Computing is many different things
  • May require new staff skills
  • Organisation has a large working infrastructure that is paid for or under long term contract
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Security concerns
  • Vendor lock-in

For business and technology professionals that have the type of concerns listed above, and really want to know what Cloud Computing is, Learning Tree has developed a focused half day course that provides answers to these questions. The course itself is described in detail here and is delivered using Cloud Computing technology which enables attendance remotely using a system known as AnyWare.

With the AnyWare system, you can attend the class from your office, home or wherever you have Internet connectivity. The course provides the details you need to understand this technology and how it can impact your business. It also has a number of live demonstrations of different Cloud Computing technologies and services including from Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, and others so you can see first hand what is available. In addition, attendees have the ability to ask the instructor any related questions, which can be general or specific to their organisation. This also has the benefit in that you will hear the views and concerns of other organisations too. Learning Tree’s instructors are all practicing consultants, so you can be confident the course will be delivered by an expert working at the cutting edge of Cloud Computing.

If you are interested in attending, take a look at the upcoming schedule. You can enrol online or call sales on 1-888-843-8733. I am confident you will find the course of real benefit.


Windows Azure Training in New York

From May 24 to 27, I will be teaching Learning Tree course 2602: Windows Azure Platform Introduction in New York City. The course is filling up fast, but there is still time to sign up.

Learning Tree New York City

In New York, Learning Tree is located in downtown Manhattan at One New York Plaza.

We’re on the 30th floor, where you can get a beautiful view of New York harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and lower Manhattan.

We’re also just a couple blocks away from the best steak in New York at Ancora Ristorante. Order the Ribeye Steak Pittsburgh Rare, but stay away from the grappa if you want to be on time for class in the morning.

Learning Tree from AnyWare

If you don’t want to come to New York, you can take the class online using Learning Tree’s AnyWare system. You’ll get a live view of the course from your home or work computer, you can interact with the instructor and students in real-time, and you’ll access a remote computer to do the course exercises.

It’s almost like being in New York. You’ll just have to print out a picture of the Statue of Liberty and hang it on your wall and cook your own steak in the evening. That will save you a hundred bucks, and you won’t be tempted by the grappa.

Preparing for the Class

If you want to do some advance preparation for the class, I’ve written a series of articles on learning Windows Azure. You might like to have a look at the following links.

Hope to see you there.

Doug Rehnstrom

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