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Author's profile photo Bruno Ranchy

Training and Cloud Computing

Training is an essential part of a successful implementation. Sometimes it can be delivered electronically, or virtually, but hands-on training with an instructor is often more effective.

This can take place in a dedicated training facility that has a fixed number of seats and a rather complex infrastructure that is precisely tailored to the class and the topic. This is perfect for training on topics that reach a very wide audience, for example end users of a very widespread software. The numbers of potential students will quickly offset the costs of such infrastructure

Now imagine having to train implementation consultants on a more complex product. The audience is usually geographically diverse, and flexibility in delivering the training in various locations to groups of various sizes will be the key to success. One week you might have 10 students, and another week you might have 100 students, in a different location. Also, as with any hands-on software training, the content has to be reset after each class, so that the next students practice on a fresh copy of the training environment. You might also have to teach this particular topic only several times in the year.

How do you deal with the mobility and the scalability?

You could invest in some servers in a data center, sized large enough to accommodate the largest classes. This is a traditional approach, it works well but it is expensive as most of the time it will be underutilized. Refreshing the content after each class is usually just a matter of running some script but that is not trivial.

You could also have a somewhat portable environment, and desktop-based virtualization products have made this a realistic approach in some cases. But the architecture of desktop computers limits this approach to products that don’t require large servers.

A more recent technology is Cloud Computing. The idea is that you don’t really know where the servers are and that it does not really matter. You setup your servers on the Cloud and run the clients on a terminal server to which the students log in over a secured connection.

A training facility can be easily improvised where it makes sense. A conference room large enough to accommodate the students, with a dependable connection to the Internet is all you really need. In many cases the students will even be able to use their own laptop computers.

You can design an environment that can accommodate a certain number of students. You start with a cloud-based environment, on which you install all the software that is required for the class. Once it is ready and tested, you can save that environment as a template.

Let’s say you sized the cloud-based environment for 20 students, and your upcoming class has 18 students. Perfect! You create a new instance of the training environment, from the template that you previously saved, and you are ready to deliver the training.

The following week, well, more people have registered for your class, and you have close to 40 students… With a traditionally hosted environment you would have to call the hosting provider and see if there are any possibilities of adding memory, or whatever is necessary to scale up to the number of attendees. Not always possible, and not always easy. Or hopefully your hosted environment was large enough but then last week you were spending money on an oversized system.

With the cloud-based environment, you simply create a second instance of your environment, from the template. Both environments can run side-by-side.

Need to teach to 60 students? You can start 3 instances… etc…

OK, but what about the cost… well, not only is the cost of a cloud instance very competitive, but you pay only for the instances that you are using, and you are not paying for the days where no training is taking place!

While using the cloud for training infrastructure is not necessarily a solution to all training needs, it certainly is very promising concept.  

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      Author's profile photo Tom Cenens
      Tom Cenens
      Hello Bruno

      I know cloud computing is a hot topic but at the moment, in my opinion training is one of the few things for which cloud computing works well at this moment.

      I don't except anyone to start using it for productive actions.

      I'm eagirly awaiting to see some other use cases where it proves to be very useful.

      Even then I have some concerns like what data is included in the SAP system delivered by the cloud. If I want to give a demo on SAP Solution Manager but I need 200 SAP systems in SMSY (landscape maintenance), will I have to first perform lots of actions myself before I can start the training.

      Perhaps this can be solved by prefilling some data but then you still don't have the interaction between other SAP system. For example a connection to a Wily Introscope or diagnostics agents that need to be connected to that Solution Manager to show/train the diagnostics scenario.

      There are possibilities outside cloud computing to perform scalability which cost less than the more expensive hardware solutions (using Linux for example).

      Kind regards


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      I would like to learn Cloud Computing for SAP CRM.

      May I know the best place to learn and get in good platform please.

      Please do the needful.

      how will be the future if I learn cloud computing for SAP CRM?