Understanding the Cloud (Self-Guided)

Understanding the Cloud (Self-Guided)

Learn everything you need to truly understand the cloud—including how it works, what drives it, why it's so popular, and how to make the cloud work for you.

3 Months Access / 24 Course Hrs
  • Details
  • Syllabus
  • Requirements


What is the cloud? If you have trouble answering this question, you are not alone. In this course, you will explore how the cloud works, what drives its incredible growth, and how you can use cloud services. You will start by looking at the building blocks of the cloud, where it started, and how it transitioned. You will gain a clear understanding of IaaS (infrastructure), SaaS (software), and PaaS (platforms), and examine why each may be attractive to some businesses, but not to others. You will learn about the different kinds of clouds (public, private, and hybrid).

You will also look inside the engine rooms of the cloud: data centers. You will examine the concept of big data and how the cloud infrastructure enables data to zip across the globe at lightning speed. You will look at how Facebook and Twitter contribute to the cloud, and how apps go from idea to app store. You will gain an understanding of how mobile devices and major mobile ecosystems continue to shape the cloud. Whatever your technical background, by the end of this course, you will be thoroughly cloud-savvy.

Enrollment Options:
3 Months Access Course Code: T9845
No Instructor, Start Anytime
$250.00 USD


What the Cloud Is

Confused about the cloud? You're in the right place! This first lesson will clear up some confusion and start with the basics. It will explain the building blocks of the cloud, and that will lead you to a durable definition of the cloud that you'll use as a foundation for the rest of the course. The lesson will also discuss what the cloud means to you, its impact on your life, and why it'll be helpful for you to understand how it works.

How the Cloud Started and What It Solves

So how did the cloud get started? In this lesson, you'll learn the history of the cloud and how it was a natural evolution of networked computers and Internet connectivity. The lesson will also discuss why the cloud is so important, and then you'll look at the business challenges and opportunities that the cloud addresses. By the end of the lesson, you'll have a solid understanding of how this technology got to where it is now and how business computing operated before the cloud.

Different Kinds of Clouds: Public, Private, Hybrid

Ever wonder why some people believe the cloud is simple, while others believe that it's complex? In this lesson, you'll learn why they're both right—and you'll learn how to think about the cloud from two perspectives. The lesson will also discuss the different types of clouds: public, private, and hybrid. You'll get a glimpse inside the big business technology world and find out why the cloud can be such a compelling move for large organizations.

How the Cloud Grows

What's the difference between the cloud and a collection of computers? A bunch—and much of that comes down to virtualization. In this lesson, you'll learn what virtualization is and why it's so fundamental in how the cloud operates. The lesson will also discuss scale and how it relates to virtualization. Finally, you'll see how endpoints make all the connections work.

Cloud Services

As you'll recall, "services" is one of the five building blocks in the definition of the cloud. In this lesson, you'll look at those services. Specifically, you'll look at three categories of cloud services: infrastructure (or Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS), platforms (or Platform as a Service, or PaaS), and software (or Software as a Service, or SaaS). The lesson will discuss how these three categories compare and individuals and business can take advantage of them.

Data Centers: Where the Cloud Computes

All the computing power of the cloud needs to live somewhere, and it's not in the atmosphere. In this lesson, you'll learn all about data centers—how they operate, what they look like, where they're located, and what makes them tick. You'll also learn what makes one data center more efficient than another, and you'll get perspective on what it costs to make them operate. It's a fascinating tour, with a lot to learn and even more to explore!

Understanding Data, Including Big Data

Your experience in the cloud includes the storing and transmission of data, either across the hall or across the world. In this lesson, you'll understand how to think about data in terms of its importance in the cloud and learn why companies often leave worrying about data to someone else. The lesson will discuss how all the data in the cloud moves across continents, across the ocean, and over airwaves. Finally, you'll look at a clear definition of big data and see some examples of where big data may be headed.

Understanding Cloud Providers

Making sense of how cloud providers offer their services is an important step in truly understanding the cloud. In this lesson, you'll see how a well-established cloud provider organizes and presents its offerings. You'll go through each group of the cloud provider's offered services and map them to what you've already learned about the cloud and the categories you're familiar with.

Cloud Providers and Big Platforms

In this lesson, you'll learn where websites fit into the cloud and what other elements, offerings, or activities are driving the adoption and popularity of the cloud and its varied services. The lesson will also cover what it means to be a big provider, and you'll examine the largest platforms—and largest overall service providers—that are in the cloud today.

Getting Into the Cloud

Learn about what goes into creating a cloud app, and how the three (plus one) ecosystems dominate the world of cloud applications. In this lesson, you also learn about the different types of devices, how they are categorized, and how they align to the types of cloud apps that are available. You'll also learn about ecosystems, and why they define how cloud apps are created, distributed, and sold.

The Cloud and #You

In this lesson, you'll look at how social network sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter work in the cloud and how users and organizations can create apps that connect with their huge base of users. You'll learn how social media sites let software developers interact with their sites, create apps and games that operate within and outside their sites, and why they do this. Also, you'll learn about social media tools on Facebook and in Twitter, including why the hashtag was created (#), how it's used, and how to use these sites yourself.

Conclusions, Connections, and the Future of the Cloud

This lesson ties together everything you've learned in this course. You'll learn how you can view the cloud from two primary perspectives—consumer and business—and about the primary benefits (and drivers) that have propelled cloud adoption from participants of both perspectives. The lesson will also discuss where these two perspectives share a common, clear force that continues to be the biggest benefit of the cloud. Finally, you'll look into the future of what the cloud may hold and what that future might mean.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.