Is hybrid cloud certification right for you?

Hybrid cloud training can help enterprise IT professionals who are trying to optimize private and public cloud resources.

After years of shifting applications to the public cloud, enterprises realize it’s not the right fit for every app and are pulling some of them back to private clouds, forcing the businesses to adopt a hybrid strategy. But it’s not an easy process and one that may require formal training and certifications for the  IT pros tasked with this important transition.

“A huge desire to move to the cloud, and pressure from lines of business to move to the cloud, have created an experience gap that has led to serious missteps and forced IT teams to repatriate workloads they had put in the cloud back into the data center,” says Scott Sinclair, senior analyst at IT research firm ESG. “IT’s level of competence, experience, and education in how to integrate with the cloud is woefully inadequate.”

An ESG study from 2018 found that 41% of organizations have pulled back at least one infrastructure-as-a-service workload due to satisfaction issues. In a subsequent study, ESG discovered among respondents who had moved a workload out of the cloud back to on-premises, 92% had made no modifications or only minor modifications to the applications before moving them to the cloud. The applications they brought back on-premises ran the gamut, including ERP, database, file and print, and email. A majority (83%) called at least one of the applications they repatriated on-premises “mission-critical” to the organization.

Had IT teams learned the requirements of the hybrid cloud, the best way to manage them, and best practices for data security, they would have fared far better, according to Sinclair. “I’m a big believer that cloud adoption should not be taken lightly, and that people should be trained as much as humanly possible in hybrid cloud environments,” he says.

With certifications available from vendors like Microsoft, NetApp, and Red Hat, as well as third parties such as the Cloud Certificate Council and Global Knowledge, IT pros have plenty of opportunities to pursue targeted training in the hybrid cloud.

Where to go for hybrid cloud certifications

Lynne Williams, professor at the School of Business and Information Technology at Purdue University Global, which includes instruction on hybrid cloud in its cyber security and IT master's degree programs, says training and certification are essential for larger organizations and those that fall under regulatory oversight.

“IT pros working for a smaller organization or an organization that doesn’t have to comply with governmental regulations may be able to provide reasonable hybrid cloud solutions to the organization with just their personal expertise and some research into what best suits the business focus. However, larger, enterprise-sized organizations may benefit from IT pros having certifications that target their particular needs,” Williams says.

For instance, if an organization has roles such as database managers, developers, information security managers, and network architects, then it is a prime candidate for training and certification. “If the enterprise is large enough to require this type of specialized role from its IT support people, it may be useful or even required that personnel in these roles are certified in hybrid cloud environments,” she says.

While Williams considers real world learning useful to teach IT pros how to perform various tasks, certifications cover big-picture concepts that may not be obvious in hands-on learning. “Rather than saying real-world learning is better than certification or vice versa, it’s more useful to consider a blend of the two for the most effective learning experience,” she says, emphasizing that real-world learning teaches how to do something, and certification will teach them why they’re doing it. 

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