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Mastering Terraform

If you are browsing this page, then probably you are interested in terraform and want to learn and master this skill. let us first give you a brief information about what is terraform and why should you learn and rather master it?

What is terraform?

HashiCorp Terraform is an infrastructure as code tool that lets you define both cloud and on-prem resources in human-readable configuration files that you can version, reuse, and share. You can then use a consistent workflow to provision and manage all of your infrastructure throughout its lifecycle. Terraform can manage low-level components like compute, storage, and networking resources, as well as high-level components like DNS entries and SaaS features.When comes to Infrastructure management, terraform is the number one choice for majority of the IT professional. Its powerful as it can be used to manage 1000s of different infrastructure tool ranging from VMware. Openstack, kubernetes, and AWS, Azure and many more. If you are still not convinced, then let us give you a walkthrough of its main features:-

Here are Terraform’s main features:

  • Infrastructure as Code: IT professionals use Terraform’s high-level configuration language (HCL) to describe the infrastructure in human-readable, declarative configuration files. Terraform lets you create a blueprint, a template that you can version, share, and re-use.
  • Execution Plans: Once the user describes the infrastructure, Terraform creates an execution plan. This plan describes what Terraform will do and asks for your approval before initiating any infrastructure changes. This step lets you review changes before Terraform does anything to the infrastructure, including creating, updating, or deleting it.
  • Resource Graph: Terraform generates a resource graph, creating or altering non-dependent resources in parallel. This graph enables Terraform to build resources as efficiently as possible while giving the users greater insight into their infrastructure.
  • Change Automation: Terraform can implement complex changesets to the infrastructure with virtually no human interaction. When users update the configuration files, Terraform figures out what has changed and creates an incremental execution plan that respects the dependencies.

There are three reasons why Terraform is an essential tool for developers and is superior to other IaC resources.

  • It’s open-source: Terraform has many contributors who regularly build add-ons for the platform. So, regardless of the platform you’re using, you will easily find support, extensions, and plugins. The open-source environment also encourages new benefits and improvements, so the tool is constantly and rapidly evolving.
  • It’s platform-agnostic: Platform-agnostic means that the product is not limited to one platform or operating system. In Terraform’s case, it means you can use it with any cloud service provider, whereas with most other IaC tools, you are limited to a single platform.
  • It provisions an immutable infrastructure: Most other Infrastructure as Code tools generate a mutable infrastructure, meaning it changes to accommodate things like new storage servers or middleware upgrades. Unfortunately, mutable infrastructures are susceptible to configuration drift. Configuration drift occurs when the actual provisioning of various servers or other infrastructure elements “drift” away from the original configuration under the weight of accumulated changes. In Terraform’s case, the infrastructure is immutable, meaning that the current configuration is replaced with a new one that factors in the changes, then the infrastructure is reprovisioned. As a bonus, the previous configurations can be saved as older versions if you need to perform a rollback, much like how you can restore a laptop’s configuration to an earlier saved version.

If you are still not convinced then let us give you some reasons that shows why Terraform is a valuable DevOps resource.

Red Hat defines infrastructure as Code (called IaC for short) as “… the managing and provisioning of infrastructure through code instead of through manual processes.” When using IaC, users create configuration files that contain the infrastructure specifications, making it easier to edit and distribute configurations. Infrastructure as Code also ensures that you consistently provision the same environment each time. In addition, IaC helps make configuration management easier by codifying and documenting configuration specifications and helps avoid undocumented, ad-hoc configuration changes.

Thanks to using IaC for infrastructure provisioning automation, developers don’t have to manually manage operating systems, storage, servers, and other infrastructure components each time they deploy or develop an application.

Mastering vCloud Director

What is vCloud Director?

vCloud Director operates on a higher level and is an abstraction of vSphere and the hardware that it controls. VCD allows you to create virtual data centers. vSphere, instead, lets you create virtual machines in traditional data centers. 

No longer do customers have to raise tickets to adjust their virtual hardware. They can build new VMs, switches, and networks as needed within their virtual data center. 

What are the Top Features of vCloud Director?

1. Elastic and Secure Virtual Data Centers

This allows organizations to create and deploy multiple software-defined data centers (SDDCs) from a single set of physical resources. Storage, compute and network resources can all be allocated to vApps and virtual machines dynamically and managed at the organizational level. These resources are secured by isolated virtual resources and role-based authentication.

2. Multi-Site Management

VMware vCloud Director lets you manage your various data centers from multiple locations through a single user interface. It has reporting and monitoring to ensure services are running smoothly.

3. ISV Ecosystem

Both VMware VCD and VMware vSphere can be expanded in functionality through their extensibility frameworks. You can add your own or use one of many ISV (Independent Software Vendors) built for them These custom solutions span multiple industries. VCD and vSphere span multiple industries including backup, cloud, DRaaS, and security.

4. DRaaS Workload Protection

In an uncertain world where systems fail, recovery is critical to any organization. DDraaS is a powerful addition to vCloud Director that enables disaster recovery and data protection as a service.

5. Cloud Migration

Enable easy lift and shift migrations with the VMware VCD Availability plugin. With this, customers can perform self-service cold or warm migrations with ease. Cold migrations are when a VM is powered off during the migration, while a warm migration is when the VM is active during the migration. 

You can clone your infrastructure so you could have a test and production environment. Everything from the VMs, networks, switches, and routers would all be cloned at once. This helps with rapid deployments and migrations. 

6. Automation

With vCloud Director, you no longer have to open tickets to create virtual machines or manage your infrastructure or use complicated automation scripts. With the VCD Administrator power user, you can make these changes as needed. vCloud Director enables automation through a point and click interface. Behind the scenes, vCloud Director generates a script and vSphere executes the script. This not only simplifies automation, but it also brings with it new kinds of automation that might not otherwise be possible. The VMware template feature is also very handy allowing you to rapidly deploy virtual machines.

7. Application Platform-as-a-Service

You can service your customer’s needs by creating applications for vCloud Director that extend its capabilities. There are also a bunch of already built applications for vCloud Director available on the VMware Cloud Marketplace. They are certified to be compatible and ready to use.

8. Resellers

VCD can be used for value-added hosting resellers who build their own data centers virtually in software and then sell the various virtual machines to end users. It can also be useful for service providers in allowing customers to self-service their infrastructure.

What are the Business Benefits of Using vCloud Director?

Operational Efficiency

Multi-tenancy infrastructure can be managed, cloned, and automated through an easy-to-use interface. Self-service virtual data centers are secure, isolated, and easy to use. Finally, monitoring of your VDC allows for efficient allocation of resources as they are needed by various vApps and virtual machines.

Monetization

Self-service data centers allow for extreme monetization. Your customers can trigger workflows that automate the building of VMs and network devices in their data center. The reselling potential of data centers and VMs within that data center is phenomenal. Many companies integrate virtualization into their systems by hiring developers to build a management platform. 

Scalability and Security

vCloud Director is built for growth. You can clone data centers or configurations and deploy them to multiple customers. Ensure these deployed systems stay safe with Next Generation Firewalls able to protect all layers of the TCP stack. With tools like the NSX Distributed Firewall and other NSX tools, not only can you filter packets, you can inspect the data in the packets and protect against malware and advanced attacks. Also, load balance your workflows and build your VMware clusters out as needed.

Mastering Git

 

What is Git?

Git is an open-source programming tool that allows users to effortlessly track the changes made during the early stages of software development. It allows individual programs to keep a record of the changes that they have made to easily restore or back-up earlier versions of their code and it allows teams of developers to record the changes that individual members make to a file or program. Designed to support distributed non-linear workflow, Git allows programmers to create non-linear histories and branched records of how a program has been developed over its time in Git.It is world’s most commonly used application for documenting and archiving version histories of source code with Git. Gain proficiency as a software developer, enhance your coding efficiency, and become a desirable candidate for various careers such as Front End Developer, Software Engineer, and Software Project Manager.

Developed in 2005 for Linux, Git has since become one of the most commonly used distributed version control software. In 2022, nearly 94% of computer programmers report using Git as a vital part of their regular programming activities. This means that learning Git is an important skill for anyone hoping to undertake collaborative development projects, particularly in open-source communities where it is expected that many development histories will be documented using Git.

What Can You Do with Git?

Git can be used to ensure that you have a detailed record of all the changes being made to a file of code. Individual users can take advantage of this documentation to quickly restore or reconstruct prior versions of code or to see where specific changes were made if those changes came with unintended consequences. Groups of developers can use Git to collaborate more effectively on a shared file as the system will keep track of all the changes made independently, providing a stable record of how each developer impacted the file over time.

In addition, thanks to the prevalence of Git Hub, learning Git will significantly expand a developer’s ability to store and share their software. Since each instance of Git on a computer stores its own directory and history, the documentation on your programs is not operating at the whims of an external source or mainframe, making the histories far more stable. In addition, GitHub lets users publish and share code effortlessly, making community-driven collaboration all the more productive. Git and GitHub help fuel community-driven software development, and learning how to use these tools will ensure that you, too, can participate in these projects.

Common Professional Uses for Git

Recent self-reporting surveys suggest that 95% of all developers and programmers utilize Git to document their code. In addition, GitHub has nearly 83 million users, making it an important tool for professional web development collaboration projects. However, since Git is a documentation tool, it doesn’t allow users to produce anything on its own. This means that no career path will strictly utilize Git. Rather, they will use Git to improve their workflow as web and software developers. A few careers that commonly make use of Git include:

Front End Developer: Front End Developers are responsible for building the client-facing aspects of a web application or webpage, such as interactive elements, visual designs, and e-commerce applications. They will use Git to collaborate with other developers, as most modern web applications are built by teams of developers rather than by individuals. In addition, many Front End Developers will be tasked with maintaining webpages and applications, meaning that they will use Git to track changes made if they need to return to a prior version of their code.

Software EngineerSoftware Engineers, as the name implies, build software and other applications using a wide array of coding languages. Given the ubiquitous nature of computers in our daily lives, Software Engineers work in virtually every field. Software Engineers typically work in a deadline-focused environment, ensuring that projects are completed as quickly as is reasonable. They will use programs like Git to ensure their work is as efficient as possible. Unlike Web Developers, Software Engineers will be tasked with learning many different coding languages, but the scope of their projects will be more expansive.

Software Project Manager: Most software development projects, as well as most web development projects, are the work of multiple teams of dozens to hundreds of designers and developers working together to complete a project. These teams will be managed and overseen by Software Project Managers who work to ensure that the project runs smoothly and the project is delivered on time. They will utilize Git as a vital efficiency tool, ensuring that multiple, nonlinear histories of their work is documented. They will also be tasked with coordinating the human element of the design process.

Improve Your Coding Efficiency

Since Git is itself an efficiency tool, even amateur programs will be able to take advantage of it reasonably quickly. Git lets users build an archive of their work and make changes more quickly and easily since everything is documented. It also lets users start the process of shared source code collaboration by allowing teams of developers to work with each other more efficiently across multiple devices. 

While learning Git won’t be a substitute for the complex process of learning to code, it will significantly improve your ability to work with complex projects and source codes early on in your coding training. This will ensure that students are on track as they advance in their training since learning efficiency tools can be as important as learning fundamentals, particularly when the tool sees as much use as Git.

Archive Data

Git is also a very popular tool for archiving source code. The development of Git prioritized data security as an essential design feature and the protections surrounding Git have only improved over the last decade and a half. This means that learning Git will help keep your code protected from outside parties, which can be incredibly important for high-profile projects. Plus, Git tracks all changes made, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally losing a version of the program because of human error.

Git is also a distributed system, meaning that every instance of Git running on a separate machine keeps its own archive and directory. This means that all of the version histories are stored locally and can be accessed from that device, ensuring that your data history isn’t subject to the maintenance of a database somewhere else that your machine needs to access. All of your work is directly stored within the Git repository, ensuring that it won’t become lost due to database failures.

Utilize GitHub

One of the main reasons that Git has become so popular is its integration with GitHub, an open-source public archive for sharing and distributing Git files. GitHub is a platform that allows users to upload, share, and collaborate on source code files with tens of millions worldwide. Through Cloud computing technology, GitHub lets users collaborate almost instantly, synching up various Git repositories and automating significant aspects of the coding process. GitHub is, on its own, a significant efficiency tool for professional and amateur programmers.

Mastering Rancher

What Is Rancher? 

Rancher is an open-source container management platform that simplifies the deployment, scaling, and management of Kubernetes clusters. It provides a user-friendly interface, advanced features, and integrations with popular DevOps tools, making it easier for developers and administrators to manage and orchestrate containers in a Kubernetes environment.

Kubernetes vs. Rancher: What Is the Difference?  

Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. It is a powerful, yet complex system.

Rancher is an open-source container management platform built on top of Kubernetes. It simplifies Kubernetes cluster management, access control, and application deployment with a user-friendly interface and additional features.

Essentially, Kubernetes is the core orchestration platform, while Rancher is a management layer that enhances the user experience of working with Kubernetes. They are complementary technologies.

Learn more in our detailed guide to Kubernetes vs Rancher (coming soon)

Rancher Platform Features  

Infrastructure Orchestration

Infrastructure orchestration in Rancher refers to the process of automating the provisioning, management, and configuration of the underlying infrastructure that supports Kubernetes clusters. 

Rancher simplifies the setup and management of Kubernetes clusters across different cloud providers and on-premises environments. It supports popular cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and VMware, as well as custom nodes and clusters, making it easier to manage and scale infrastructure resources.

Container Orchestration

Rancher integrates with Kubernetes to provide an enhanced container orchestration experience. It streamlines the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications, abstracting the complexities of Kubernetes through a user-friendly interface. 

Rancher enables users to manage multiple Kubernetes clusters, deploy applications using Helm charts, and monitor the health of their clusters and workloads. It also simplifies the management of networking, storage, and load balancing for containers.

Application Catalog

Rancher’s Application Catalog is a repository of pre-built application templates, including Helm charts and Rancher-specific templates, which simplify the deployment of containerized applications. 

Users can browse, configure, and deploy applications with just a few clicks, without needing to manually create and manage Kubernetes manifests. The catalog helps easily share applications across teams and organizations, improving collaboration and promoting best practices in application development and deployment.

Rancher Software

Rancher provides a suite of tools and services that complement the core Rancher platform to provide a comprehensive container management solution for Kubernetes environments. Some of the key software components include:

  • Rancher: The primary component, Rancher is the container management platform built on top of Kubernetes. It simplifies cluster management, access control, and application deployment, providing a user-friendly interface and advanced features to streamline Kubernetes operations.
  • RancherOS: A lightweight Linux distribution designed specifically for running containers. It minimizes the operating system (OS) footprint by running system services as containers, making it ideal for container-based environments. 
  • Longhorn: A cloud-native, distributed block storage solution for Kubernetes. Longhorn provides highly available and reliable storage for containerized applications, complete with automated backups, snapshotting, and replication capabilities. 
  • K3s: A lightweight Kubernetes distribution designed for edge computing, IoT, and resource-constrained environments. K3s is a fully conformant Kubernetes distribution that simplifies the deployment and management of Kubernetes clusters in scenarios where traditional Kubernetes may be too resource-intensive.
  • RKE (Rancher Kubernetes Engine): An enterprise-grade Kubernetes installer and management tool. RKE simplifies the process of deploying and upgrading Kubernetes clusters by automating much of the configuration and management tasks, making it easier for teams to maintain and operate their Kubernetes infrastructure.

Mastering kubernetes

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is an open-source platform for deploying and managing containerized applications. At a high-level, Kubernetes is two things:

    1. A cluster

    2. An orchestrator

A Kubernetes cluster has one or more machines that provide CPU, memory and other things required to run applications. The orchestration element implements the intelligence to manage applications.

A brief history of Kubernetes

Kubernetes started life inside of Google where it was designed as a container orchestrator building on lessons learned from other internal Google technologies such as Borg and Omega.

Kubernetes was released to the community as an open-source project in the summer of 2014.

In March 2018, Kubernetes became the first project to graduate from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Graduation signifies strong project governance, maturity, and that a project is considered ready for production.

Kubernetes is now a mature technology that averages three releases per year. Releases are backwards-compatible with well-established policies for adding and deprecating features.

2020 was a major year for Kubernetes adoption. Most of the major clouds offered managed Kubernetes services designed to make it as easy as possible for individuals and organizations to get started with Kubernetes.     

As a side note, the original founders of Kubernetes wanted to call it “Seven of Nine” after the Borg drone from Star Trek Voyager. However, due to copyright restrictions, the founders decided to call it “Kubernetes” based on the Greek word for helmsman. However, they gave the Kubernetes wheel logo seven spokes, instead of the traditional six or eight, as a subtle reference to “Seven of Nine.”

What is a Kubernetes cluster?

A Kubernetes cluster is one or more nodes working together to run containerised applications. Control plane nodes implement intelligence such as scheduling, self-healing, and auto-scaling. Worker nodes provide the CPU, memory and networking required to execute user apps.

What is a Kubernetes node?

Kubernetes is a cluster of nodes that host user applications. Nodes are either control plane nodes that implement Kubernetes intelligence, or worker nodes that host user applications. Both types can be physical servers, virtual machines, cloud instances, and even things like Raspberry Pis.

Control plane nodes

Control plane nodes (formerly called masters) run the control plane services, which can be thought of as the brain of Kubernetes. These services include the scheduler, the API server, and the cluster store. You should deploy three or five control plane nodes and spread them across fault domains for high availability.

Worker nodes

Worker nodes are where user applications run. The size and number of worker nodes in a cluster will depend on application requirements. However, you should also spread them across fault domains so that application high availability can be maintained.

The pod network

Every Kubernetes cluster implements a special network called the pod network. This is a large flat network, often a VXLAN overlay network, that spans all nodes in the cluster. Every application pod is deployed to the pod network, meaning every application pod can talk to every other application pod. Out-of-the-box the pod network is usually wide open with no security. In production environments you should use Kubernetes network policies and other technologies to secure it.

What is a pod in Kubernetes?

A Pod is the smallest unit of deployment in Kubernetes. For example, if you have a web container that you need to deploy to Kubernetes, you have to deploy it inside a Pod. If you need to scale the web service up or down, you add or remove pods. The simplest Pods run a single containerised app, however, more complex patterns exist where a single pod runs multiple complimentary containers.

What is “managed Kubernetes”?

Building your own Kubernetes clusters can be hard. For example, you have to size them for high availability and application performance. You also have to take care of day-to-day operational tasks such as updates, patching, certificate management and more.

Managed Kubernetes is a model where a cloud provider hides all of this complexity from you and provides you with a secure API endpoint for you to just use your cluster.

You pay a premium for managed Kubernetes, but it’s as close to zero-effort Kubernetes as you’ll get.

What is kubectl?

Kubectl is the official Kubernetes command-line utility. It’s used to manage elements of Kubernetes infrastructure as well as deploy and manage user applications. It’s available on Windows, Linux, macOS, and other platforms and is typically installed on a machine outside the cluster such as an admin laptop.

What are the benefits of Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is often referred to as the “OS of the cloud”. This is because it abstracts infrastructure in much the same way as a traditional OS like Linux or Windows. There are a lot of benefits to running Kubernetes, including infrastructure abstraction, orchestration at scale and a common API.    

Consider how an operating system works. Developers can write applications to run on Windows without having to care about the specifics of underlying server hardware. Servers and VMs can even be upgraded or swapped out without the app developer having to change the app.    

It’s much the same with Kubernetes. As long as apps are designed to run on Kubernetes, it’s possible to change the underlying cloud or hardware platform without having to change the app. This abstraction of underlying infrastructure can simplify the process of migrating apps from one cloud to another.

Kubernetes also implements features such self-healing and dynamic auto-scaling that enable management of containers at scale.

The popularity of Kubernetes has created an environment where many new products and technologies come to Kubernetes first and are often designed specifically for Kubernetes. These are often exposed via the Kubernetes API so they strongly resemble native Kubernetes features.

What are the limitations of Kubernetes?

Two of the most common limitations associated with Kubernetes are the steep on-ramp and its container-centric view.

Kubernetes is notorious for having a steep learning curve and on-ramp. Still, Kubernetes has become significantly simpler in recent years. The core Kubernetes project itself is easier to install and maintain, while major cloud platforms and their managed services take much of the effort out of using Kubernetes.

While Kubernetes can orchestrate virtual machine workloads, serverless workloads, and WebAssembly workloads, much of its DNA is tuned to work with containers. For example, WebAssembly workloads start incredibly fast and enable true scale-to-zero event-driven architectures. However, Kubernetes was built to manage containers that have significantly longer start times and aren’t well-suited to scale-to-zero or true cold starts. 

That said, Kubernetes is under constant development and there’s no reason to believe it won’t adapt to be better suited to new technologies and patterns.

What is Kubernetes used for?

Kubernetes use is on the rise across almost all verticals thanks to its stability and maturity, as well as the many tools that enhance it. In very broad terms, Kubernetes simplifies scalability and productivity for enterprise applications. In the past couple of years, it’s become more common for organizations to lead with Kubernetes as their orchestration platform of choice.

One area where Kubernetes has seen slower adoption is edge computing and other resource-constrained environments. This has been primarily due to containers being too big and resource intensive. 

However, more powerful edge devices and smaller Kubernetes distros are changing this. For example, it’s becoming more common for lightweight Kubernetes distros such as K3d, KubeEdge, or MicroK8s to deploy and manage small containerised applications to edge and IoT devices.

AWS fundamentals

What is AWS?

AWS stands for Amazon Web Services, it needs no formal introduction, given its immense popularity. The leading cloud provider in the marketplace is Amazon Web Services. It provides over 170 AWS services to the developers so they can access them from anywhere at the time of need. 

AWS has customers in over 190 countries worldwide, including 5000 ed-tech institutions and 2000 government organizations. Many companies like ESPN, Adobe, Twitter, Netflix, Facebook, BBC, etc., use AWS services. 

For example, Adobe creates and updates software without depending upon the IT teams. It uses its services by offering multi-terabyte operating environments for its clients. By deploying its services with Amazon services, Adobe integrated and operated its software in a simple manner. 

Now, before getting started with what is AWS, let us first give you a brief description of what cloud computing is.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the delivery of online services (such as servers, databases, software) to users. With the help of cloud computing, storing data on local machines is not required. It helps you access data from a remote server. Moreover, it is also used to store and access data from anywhere across the world. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform provides more than 200 fully featured services from data centers located all over the world, and is the world’s most comprehensive cloud platform.

Amazon web service is an online platform that provides scalable and cost-effective cloud computing solutions.

AWS is a broadly adopted cloud platform that offers several on-demand operations like compute power, database storage, content delivery, etc., to help corporates scale and grow.

History of AWS

  • In the year 2002 – AWS services were launched
  • In the year 2006- AWS cloud products were launched
  • In the year 2012 – AWS had its first customer event
  • In the year 2015- AWS achieved $4.6 billion
  • In the year 2016- Surpassed the $10 billion revenue target
  • In the year 2016- AWS snowball and AWS snowmobile were launched
  • In the year 2019- Released approximately 100 cloud services

Moving forward, we will learn more about AWS services.

How Does AWS Work?

AWS usually works in several different configurations depending on the user’s requirements. However, the user must be able to see the type of configuration used and the particular server map with respect to the AWS service. 

Advantages of AWS

What Services Does AWS Offer?

AWS avails its services to businesses through dozens of data centers in Availability Zones (AZs) that are spread in different regions across the world. Each area has multiple AZs, which in turn have several physical data centers. The regions and AZs are all connected by low-latency network links that create a pool of highly reliable infrastructure resources that are resistant to failures of entire data centers or individual servers.

Some of the services in the AWS portfolio by category include:

  • Storage

    Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon S3 Glacier, Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), Amazon Elastic File System (EFS), AWS Snowball and Snowmobile, and AWS Storage Gateway.

  • Compute 

    Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), Amazon Lightsail, AWS Lambda, and AWS Elastic Beanstalk.

  • Networking

    Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), AWS Route 53, Cloudfront, API Gateway,  and AWS Direct Connect.

  • Mobile Development 

    AWS Mobile Hub, AWS Device Farm, AWS Amplify, AWS AppSync, and Amazon Pinpoint.

  • Messages and Notifications 

    Amazon Simple Queue Service, Amazon Simple Email Service, and Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS).

  • Databases 

    Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon ElastiCache, Amazon Redshift, and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), which includes options for SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, Amazon Aurora.

  • Migration

    AWS Migration Hub which contains several tools to help users migrate data, databases, applications, and servers.

  • Management and Governance

    AWS Config, AWS Trusted Advisor, AWS CloudFormation, AWS OpsWorks, Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and AWS Personal Health Dashboard.

  • Development Tools and Application Services

    AWS Command Line Interface, Amazon API Gateway, Amazon Elastic Transcoder, AWS Step Functions, AWS CodePipeline, AWS CodeStar AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodeDeploy, Amazon Athena for S3, and Amazon QuickSight.

  • Big Data Management and Analytics

    Amazon Elastic MapReduce, Amazon Kinesis, and Amazon Elasticsearch Service

  • Artificial Intelligence 

    Amazon AI, AWS Deep Learning AMIs, Amazon Polly, Amazon Rekognition, and Alexa Voice Services.

  • Security and Governance

    AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), AWS Directory Service, AWS Organizations, and Amazon Inspector.

  • Other Services 

    Amazon Chime service, Amazon WorkDocs, Amazon AppStream, AWS IoT service, AWS Greengrass, etc.

Oracle cloud fundamentals

What is Oracle cloud?

Oracle Cloud is a cloud computing service offered by Oracle Corporation providing servers, storage, network, applications and services through a global network of Oracle Corporation managed data centers. The company allows these services to be provisioned on demand over the Internet.

Oracle Cloud provides Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Data as a Service (DaaS). These services are used to build, deploy, integrate, and extend applications in the cloud. This platform supports numerous open standards (SQL, HTML5, REST, etc.), open-source applications (Kubernetes, Spark, Hadoop, Kafka, MySQL, Terraform, etc.), and a variety of programming languages, databases, tools, and frameworks including Oracle-specific, Open Source, and third-party software and systems.

This post will give you a high-level overview of this cloud computing platform. We’ll talk about what Oracle Cloud is, how OCI fits in with the other cloud players, and why you should care about it. We’ll explain how its infrastructure can help support OLTP applications and data transfer intensive workloads, and look at how you can take your learning further with Oracle Cloud.

We’re going to focus on two different viewpoints:

  1. You as a potential Oracle Cloud business user.
  2. You as a student, thinking about getting Oracle Cloud certified. 

Let’s get started!

Oracle Cloud vs other cloud platforms

Starting at the end of 2016, Oracle Cloud is one of the newer players in the field. There are basically two different groups of cloud right now: industry leaders and niche players. Gartner has a really nice graph that explains the details and gives you a rough outline of the lay of the land. Graph, ahoy!

 

As you can see, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud (GCP) are the leaders in this space. While Alibaba, Oracle, IBM, and Tencent find themselves in the “niche player” section. 

Although Oracle is currently listed as a niche player, they have the customer base and the desire to grow into an industry leader like the big three. 

When looking at the graph, it’s important to understand that niche doesn’t necessarily mean second tier. In fact, these platforms might offer the best option for you — depending upon your specific needs. 

With that in mind, we’re going to grab waders and head on into some deeper water. I’m going to talk to you now about the services that Oracle Cloud provides and what the most likely use cases are.

Oracle infrastructure, services, and data regions

To start off with, we’ll take a look at reliability and data regions. 

How many data regions does Oracle Cloud have?

Oracle calls its data regions “cloud regions.” Oracle has currently over 30, including government. Basically anywhere you need to be, Oracle is there. 

This is reinforced with Oracle’s partnership with Microsoft. There are currently multiple regions that share an interconnection between Oracle Cloud and Microsoft Azure. This allows customers to move easily between applications in the cloud. 

 

How reliable is Oracle Cloud?

As far as reliability, Oracle has a reliable infrastructure that is backed by a very thorough end-to-end SLA that covers performance, availability, and manageability of services.

What are Oracle Cloud’s strengths and weaknesses?

While there are a ton of services that we can talk about in Oracle Cloud. I’m going to focus on a few of Oracle’s strengths.

Oracle Bare Metal Cloud

Oracle Bare Metal Cloud is a collection of cloud services that let you build the environment that you need. 

Bare metal services means no hypervisor, just physical compute nodes. This is extremely helpful in the following situations:

  • You want high performance (which usually means something to do with databases). 
  • You want greater control.
  • You want better cost management. 

Basically you have more freedom to do what you want. The cost of this comes in the form of more skills and time required to configure the system as you like it. 

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If you find yourself unfamiliar with the concepts of bare metal servers, hypervisors, and the like, you probably will find that Oracle Cloud is a weaker fit than some of the big three cloud providers as Oracle, in general, requires more cloud knowledge. 

Oracle Cloud Databases

Speaking of databases, let’s talk about Oracle Cloud database options. These are absolutely the greatest strength of Oracle Cloud, which shouldn’t be a great surprise seeing as Oracle’s largest customer base is database driven. 

Oracle Exadata, for instance, is a computing platform optimized for running Oracle Database. It excels at online transactional processing (OLTP) applications that are running simultaneously.

Of course, any review of Oracle Cloud wouldn’t be complete without a discussion of its famous Autonomous Databases, which are well suited for OLTP. An Autonomous Database is a mixture of a traditional database with machine learning to provide a host of advantages — it offers automated patching, optimization backup, and it’s self-repairing

Oracle on-premises and hybrid environments

Finally, let’s talk about on-premises. Oracle Cloud, especially excels at migrations and support of hybrid environments. 

Oracle designs its cloud environment with one of their primary targets being their existing user base. That user base is almost exclusively on-premises. With that knowledge, Oracle has designed many helpful features for users to migrate into the cloud. They also have a very robust support model for hybrid environments. 

Oracle Cloud weaknesses

While Oracle is clearly growing at a massive rate, their biggest weakness at this stage is once you step outside of that core use case and into the lower-end offerings or more edge cases, the features don’t match up well against larger competitors like Microsoft Azure or AWS.

What are some Oracle Cloud use cases?

Let’s take a look at what I would see as an ideal customer for Oracle Cloud by looking at two use cases. 

  1. Zoom — Zoom is a massively popular platform for online meetings. One of the main reasons Zoom chose Oracle over other cloud providers is because of price. Zoom has hundreds of thousands of terabytes of traffic flowing through the cloud every month and Oracle Cloud charges significantly less for data transfer pricing. If you need a massive amount of data transfer or storage, it could make Oracle Cloud a great choice over other cloud providers due to their competitive price offering. 
  1. Oracle Database users — If you’re an Oracle Database user, you’ll find that Oracle has built their cloud with this use case in mind. From pricing to support the database options to hybrid, and on-prem, there’s a ton of things to like about Oracle Cloud for existing Oracle users. 

Oracle has definitely targeted large-scale database users with high traffic and storage requirements and their current customers as ideal targets for Oracle Cloud. 

This is not to say that there aren’t other use cases. Oracle is absolutely growing in leaps and bounds in their offerings, and — based on their partnership with Microsoft and its almost doubling of cloud regions in 2020 — this is a trend that’s expected to continue.

Oracle Cloud offers free trials and has a pretty robust cloud cost estimator. I would absolutely suggest that you check that out and poke around a little. 

 

Learning Oracle Cloud

You might find yourself thinking, “Will getting an Oracle certification help me in my career?” The answer is a resounding yes!

There is an immense value in understanding competing platforms. It makes you a more sought after candidate, provides you with greater insight into where a potential customer may be coming from, and it broadens your understanding of cloud concepts.

I highly suggest anyone in cloud take some time to learn a couple of different platforms. And I would specifically call out the Oracle Cloud Foundations or Oracle Cloud Architect Associate certifications as great targets that will help give you a foundation into Oracle Cloud.

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