Earlier this week, we explored security at the North Pole. As you might have guessed, a hundreds-of-years-old system like theirs had plenty of unpatched vulnerabilities (which are finally being fixed this year!). Today, we want to examine arguably the biggest factor in Santa’s decision to migrate to the cloud… How would he pay for it?

Opening the Toy Chest

Infrastructure can be a major cost center at large enterprises. AWS, to name just one cloud provider, brought in more than $10 billion dollars through the first three quarters of 2017. Even divided among thousands and thousands of customers, that’s a ton of money paid for hosting and other cloud services.

It’s obvious that cost control is a major factor in a successful migration to the cloud. But to manage service billing, businesses need to ensure they’re using the cloud in the most efficient ways. There are dozens of ways to manage costs, but they all boil down to one thing – knowing the platform you’re using. And that’s where training comes in. After last year’s Christmas debacle, Santa was forced to pry open his toy chest full of cartoonish gold coins (which are one of two official currencies at the North Pole – the other being gingerbread) and create a training budget.

Creating a training budget isn’t always easy, especially for organizations that are drastically expanding their architecture. Even Alby Snowball, CTO at the workshop, had very little experience with cloud technology, and had no clue where to start. Luckily for Santa, what Alby lacked in knowledge, he made up for in research skills.

He started by looking at in-person classroom training. There were plenty of vendors and providers to choose from, but he quickly realized this would not be a viable option. Not only was the cost extremely high, but there was no way the elves would be able to sit still for a weeklong training session. The leadership team had a hard enough time getting them not to throw snowballs in quarterly results meetings – a full week of immersive cloud training was simply out of the question. Elves, like humans, have a limited capacity to absorb new information. Expecting them to pick up a complex cloud ecosystem and master it with only seven days of instruction was not realistic.

Alby looked at training books and practice exams, which were much cheaper, but he found similar problems. Not only would elves fail to stay engaged throughout 500+ pages of – let’s face it – dry technical material, but the cloud is changing faster than publishers can print books. And that’s not hyperbole – AWS often pushes changes and releases new feature multiple times per day. Buying even one hundred books to be shared among the team might be a great supplement to other training materials, but it certainly wasn’t a solution by itself.

As the deadline to submit his budget proposal drew near, Alby began to worry. After seeing several ads on ElfBook, he began to research online training providers. Dozens of online cloud training platforms exist, and Alby was lost in a sea of information. Some offered thousands of hours of video, while others offered one-on-one instructor mentorship. A few even offered hands-on labs to test the elves’ skills as they learned.

Depending on the services he looked for, Alby found that prices varied quite a bit. He knew he’d need to make a good case for whichever training provider he chose, so he wanted to be sure he allocated enough cost to cover theĀ right training, not just the cheapest.

Alby’s budget proposal was approved, and with it, he was able to find exactly what he needed in Linux Academy. We’ve always believed in providing high quality hands-on training at an affordable price, and that’s what we were able to give to Santa Claus this year (we hope he returns the favor come Monday). While price was a factor, like it is in any purchasing decision, the North Pole ultimately chose us as a training partner because we had the right features to bring them from elf-magic systems to the cloud. And this year, they’re poised to use their new infrastructure to process more letters to Santa, deliver more presents, and bring more Christmas joy to kids around the world.

Next week, we’ll show you exactly how this partnership changed Christmas forever. Stay tuned and follow the story from the beginning here.


About This Author

Phil Zona is an assessment architect for Cloud Assessments. When he's not writing, he enjoys web development, cooking (and eating), and watching videos of animals behaving like humans.

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