I recently took an exam about Cloud Computing from Rackspace, to test my knowledge in how Cloud Computing works, who the big players are, what the benefits are, and more. Since this is a topic I’m already extremely familiar with, I took it in a weekend and got a 90%. The exam focused on the different kinds of Cloud services offered these days: Platform as a Service (Paas), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and the much more well-known Software as a Service (SaaS). The goal was to demonstrate my knowledge of how they all work, as well as understand the new security challenges that the Cloud brings, and explain the differences between the Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud. Cloud Computing really is one of the most incredible recent technological breakthroughs and has allowed businesses of all sizes to take advantage of technology that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive to implement.
If you’re not exactly familiar with what Cloud Computing is (other than a basic understanding of how most businesses now store data “in the cloud,”), here’s a quick list of services that are what I would call Cloud services:
- Apple iCloud
- Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
- Amazon EC2 (Elastic Computing Cloud)
- Salesforce CRM
- Google Apps
These services have made it possible for small businesses to use what would otherwise be computing infrastructure, memory, and software that is far too complicated to deploy and far too expensive to maintain. I’ve been helping set small businesses up to use the power of the Cloud for several years, and it’s always rewarding when I see a client’s new ability to use technology to make his or her business faster, stronger, more competitive, and less expensive to operate. Sometimes, doing something as simple as implementing a Cloud sharing service like Dropbox can be life-changing. When a business owner finds a way to do business from any computer, anywhere on earth, at any time, and is no longer tied down to a desk or to paperwork, it’s liberating. That’s the power of the cloud.
As far as the certification goes, Rackspace has done an excellent job with their new CloudU program and I think the curriculum and exam are very well done. Rackspace is, in my opinion, one of the very best web hosting companies out there, and I’ve been using their hosting services almost exclusively ever since I started my website design/development business a few years ago. They’ve also recently come to the forefront of the Cloud Computing movement with their Cloud Sites, Cloud Servers, and their new Open Cloud offerings, and I think we’ll see them doing a lot more as we progress into the 21st century. Kudos to you, Rackers.