Cloud Foundry Releases Free Online Courses

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As an open source Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution, Cloud Foundry makes it extremely easy to focus on delivering services and apps without having to worry about the platform. However, it’s not always so easy for developers and administrators new to Cloud Foundry to quickly get up to speed on the technology.

Pivotal has created a wealth of courses to help developers and others who are interested in learning Cloud Foundry. So far these courses were available internally or were offered through Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF) events.  Pivotal donated these courses in August to the Cloud Foundry Foundation, and CFF is now releasing the community training and education material under the  Apache 2.0 license.

“This content is the same as we have used for the three courses offered at Cloud Foundry summits across the world for the last year or so,” said Tim Harris, Director of Certification Programs, Cloud Foundry Foundation in an interview.

These courses were developed by Pivotal, and now anyone can take the course online or use the materials for their own training programs. Not only can you use them, since they are available under the Apache open source licence, people can also contribute to them. Materials are available on GitHub.

“As Cloud Foundry becomes the de facto standard for deploying multi clouds, the need for skilled engineers becomes increasingly critical,” said Sam Ramji, CEO, Cloud Foundry Foundation. “We deeply appreciate Pivotal’s effort in developing the material and generosity in open sourcing it to benefit the community.”

Three available courses

Based on the three sets of content, the material spans from beginner to intermediate levels:  “Zero to Hero” (beginner), “Microservices” and “Operating Cloud Foundry”. The courses consist of slides, extensive lab exercises and some sample applications. Each course is meant to be one day long.

Zero to Hero
As the name implies, the course is targeted at people who do have experience with web-based applications, but have little or no Cloud Foundry experience.  Zero to Hero covers deploying and managing applications on Cloud Foundry. Meant for beginners it gives an “overview of Cloud Foundry and how it works, including specifics relating to services, buildpacks, and architecture,” according to the project page.

Microservices on Cloud Foundry: Going Cloud Native 
This course offers hands on experience with designing applications for Cloud Foundry. It’s targeting applications developers who are interested in deploying microservice-based systems into the cloud. The course gives an overview of CF and its tools. It talks about “how to architect polyglot applications for deployment and scaling in the cloud.”

Operating a Platform: BOSH and Everything Else

This course targets those who have experience with managing Linux-based systems, but are not well-versed with Cloud Foundry BOSH experience. The course helps in understanding “the basics of how to deploy and manage the Cloud Foundry platform as well as the stateful data services that power cloud-native applications. It includes an operational overview of Cloud Foundry and data services, and how these can be deployed with the cluster orchestration tool, ‘BOSH’.”

Get Hands-on

There is an abundance of online articles about Cloud Foundry, so what value does this educational material provide? Harris explained, “These courses are heavy with hands-on lab exercises, and hence will provide the Cloud Foundry community with a much more detailed experience than can be obtained by simply reading articles.”

These are typical web 1.0 courses where you consume them instead of interacting with instructors. When we inquired about follow-ups or further questions a new learner might have Harris said that CF will continue to offer instructor led courses at Cloud Foundry Summit events, where you can interact with instructors. There are two upcoming CF events where these courses will be offered: Sept. 26 at the Cloud Foundry Summit in Frankfurt, Germany, and also at the North American Cloud Foundry Summit in May of 2017.

There is clearly a need and demand for such courses that are developed and designed by the projects themselves, and CF is addressing that need.