If you read the tech press, you would think absolutely everybody was moving to the cloud. But is that just hype, or is it really true? And if it’s true, what benefits are they getting from it?

The best way to answer that is to ask the decision-makers - which we do, on virtually every course we deliver. The answers we get are very varied, and include things like:

  1. Flexibility
    Organisations no longer have to worry about hardware specs. Cloud computing abstracts away most of the details of the underlying hardware - you aren't committed to a particular piece of kit for the next three years.
  2. Agility
    Provisioning a new server in a traditional infrastructure can take weeks, or even months; doing the same in the cloud takes minutes. Unused servers can be removed in minutes; you don't have to keep them and pay for them indefinitely. It's much easier to test out new ideas in a more agile environment.
  3. Pay as you go
    You only pay for the capacity you actually use. This makes it much easier to mix and match services - for example, storing data in a variety of different places.
  4. Elasticity
    Most services have peaks and troughs; in the cloud, we can spin up more capacity to cope with the peaks, and then spin it down again when it isn't required. We only have to pay for services when we're actually using them.
  5. Access to experts
    When a cloud provider offers a service, such as load balancing or data storage, they can employ an expensive expert in that specific field and amortize the cost across all their customers.
  6. Geographical reach
    It's much easier and cheaper to do high availability and disaster recovery in the cloud than it is to do it on your own premises. Most public cloud providers have datacentres around the world; if your customer base is global, then the cloud makes it easier for you to bring your services closer to them, for an improved user experience.
  7. Cost
    All of the above, when used properly, can save you a bunch of money.
  8. Managed Services
    In AWS courses, we refer to the dull things that everybody has to do - database backups, patching, that kind of thing - as "undifferentiated heavy lifting". These tasks require time, effort and mindshare and add no business value, because every business has to do them. Most public cloud providers offer managed services, which they are then responsible for feeding, clothing and watering, freeing you to concentrate on what adds value to your business.
  9. Opportunity cost
    How much does it cost not to take advantage of the cloud when your competitors are?

However, the main (and most common) benefit we hear from companies on our courses who have switched to the cloud is normally something along the lines of "…and then our employees didn't have to spend half their time thinking about all that stuff, and they could spend their time adding value to our business instead".

The current training demand

So what does the demand for cloud training look like from QA's perspective?

Waay back in 2013, AWS started offering official, public instructor-led training, and QA became one of the first AWS training partners in EMEA. We're still the leading source of official AWS training in the UK, and demand has been phenomenal. In the space of four years, we've gone from nothing to offering the full range of courses that AWS provide, with multiple courses running every week. We have 13 AWS accredited trainers delivering AWS courses and we are enabling another half-dozen. The delegates on these courses come from every kind of background - public and private sector, huge organisations and one-man shops, and every industry sector you can imagine.

Back then, AWS had 9 regions. As of February 2017, there are 16, with 2 more announced and coming soon.

So we can see that the move to the cloud isn't just hype - and if you aren't moving to the cloud, you can be fairly sure that many of your customers, suppliers and competitors are.

Find out more

If you're interested to find out more about the benefits of cloud computing, there are hundreds of case studies in every industry sector and for all kinds of use cases, available for browsing on the Amazon AWS website. If you're seeking hands-on experience with AWS from an instructor-led training course, take a look at our AWS training courses...

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About the author

Daniel joined QA in 2006, having previously worked first as a developer and then a trainer on the Microsoft stack. He is an Authorized Amazon Instructor Champion and holds all 11 of the current AWS certifications. As a Principal Technologist, Daniel focuses on creating and delivering courses about cloud services, service-oriented architectures, software development, DevOps and data engineering. Daniel also delivers our Google Cloud Platform courses, and holds 2 GCP certifications (Data Engineering Professional and Architect Professional). Other areas of expertise include; C#, .NET and agile development. His areas of interest include all of the above, plus Microsoft Azure, Python, sailing, skiing and cycling, although not necessarily in that order or at the same time.

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