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Cloud Computing

Cloud computing – vendor neutral certification options

I started researching about cloud computing in early 2011.  From that time, I have been exploring to get an entry level, vendor neutral certification.   This year (2012), I managed to find few certifications that met my requirements. 
Make no mistake – these certifications do not make you an expert in the field. But, at a minimum they will enable you understand the width of the domain, (in other words, how much you do not know!) and provide a common language to communicate among other practitioners. 

Award Certificate

I compare three certifications here:

  1. CloudSchool
  2. EXIN Cloud Computing
  3. CompTIA Cloud Essentials




Among these three options, I chose CompTIA Cloud Essentials (http://certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/cloud.aspx) , with  self-study path.

I sourced the Element-K  study materials from Appcon (www.appcon.com.au).

In this blog, I compare these certification and training options. Let us start with cloud school



The web site states:

The Cloud Certified Professional (CCP™) program is dedicated to excellence in the fields of cloud computing technology, architecture, security, governance and capacity. A collection of courses establish a set of vendor-neutral industry certifications for different areas of specialization. Founded by best-selling author, Thomas Erl, this curriculum enables IT professionals to develop real-world cloud computing proficiency. Because of the vendor-neutral focus of the course materials, the skills acquired by attaining CloudSchool.com certifications are applicable to any vendor or cloud platform

CloudSchool provides a wide range of certifications ranging from the basic “ cloud computing professional” to specialized streams like “ certified cloud virtualization specialist”,  “certified cloud capacity specialist” etc.

Training options:

The training options include on-side training, public workshops,  self-study (by purchasing a self-study kit).

Cost of certification:

The entry level certification with self-study option is priced at $399 USD (including pre-paid Prometric exam voucher) and $299 USD (without exam voucher)


Australian training providers:

Cloud school offers worshop throughout the globe provider SOA and cloud certifications. Please check the link for workshops in Sydney and Melbourne:



CloudSchool certifications are much more focused and in-depth than the other providers CompTIA and EXIN.  The training is built on the strength of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) expertise. It will suit Enterprise Architects who may like to specialize in cloud architecture.

This training is managed by a single service provider and their partners. This model is different from CompTIA and EXIN who are certification bodies. The certification bodies only set the syllabus and manage the training providers. They do not offer training directly.

EXIN Cloud Computing Foundations:

EXIN is a familiar name in IT Service Management circles. They are an independent certification body based at Netherlands, serving globally.  Their introduction to the cloud computing foundation certificate states:

The exam focuses to a limited extent upon Cloud technology. The main focus of the programme is the procurement, implementation and management of Cloud Computing, hence the slogan ‘Get into the Cloud – and stay in control’.”


Self study option:

There is an eBook, “EXIN Cloud Computing Foundation Workbook” available for  € 15,95 

Elearning option:

EXIN web site points to a provider “MountainView” – http://www.mountainview-itsm.com/.  At the time of writing this blog, I could not see the listing about “cloud computing foundations” e-learning offering.

Class training at Australia:

The class room training is provided by SimpliLearn. 


CompTIA cloud computing essentials:

As I mentioned earlier this was my chosen certification path. The trigger for the certification came through an email, that offered 15% discount to the exam.  (with 15% discount the cost of the certification was AUD 194.65). 

I checked the syllabus which was aligned to my needs – a bridge between technical and management, with more focus on business value, cloud transition. I believe the syllabus has gone through extensive piloting phase before it is rolled out:


I called the Australian office of CompTIA to get some pointers about the self-study option. They pointed in the direction of Appcon (www.appcon.com.au) .  Appcon promptly sent the element-K training material, power point slides and supporting training material. Of course, they too also offered me a discount! It costed me $90  ( $75 for the training material and $15 for the freight).

I found the element-K training material good value for money. It covered the syllabus well and included one or two assessment questions at the end of chapter.  The content is a pitched at the right level.

I took the exam through a  PearsonVUE  testing center at Adelaide.   It was 1 hour exam and result was known immediately.

E-learning and class room training options:

If you want to spend some more money there are elearning/class room training options available through the provider ITpreuners  (http://www.itpreneurs.com/en/it-best-practices-training/emerging-technologies/cloud-computing/available-cloud-courses/cloud-essentials)

Comparison of syllabus

Provider Syllabus Target audience
CloudSchool Fundamental Cloud Computing
  • Brief History of the Business and Technology Drivers that Led to Cloud Computing
  • Fundamental Cloud Computing Terminology and Concepts
  • Horizontal and Vertical Scaling
  • Basics of Virtualization
  • Specific Characteristics that Define a Cloud
  • On-Premise Services vs. Cloud Services
  • Understanding Elasticity, Resiliency, On-Demand and Measured Usage
  • Benefits, Challenges and Risks of Contemporary Cloud Computing Platforms and Cloud Services
  • Understanding How Cloud Consumers and Cloud Providers Relate
  • Cloud Resource Administrator and Cloud Service Owner Roles
  • Cloud Service and Cloud Service Consumer Roles
  • Organizational and Trust Boundaries as They Pertain to Cloud Consumers and Providers
  • Cloud Delivery Models (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS)
  • Combining Cloud Delivery Models
  • Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud and Community Cloud Deployment Models
  • Measuring the Business Value and ROI of Cloud Computing
  • Business Cost Metrics and Formulas for Comparing and Calculating Cloud and On-Premise Solution Costs
  • Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for Cloud-based IT Resources
  • Formulas for Calculating and Rating SLA Quality of Service Characteristics
  • Optional Supplement: Cloud Computing & SOA Connection Points (for participants interested in using cloud computing and SOA together)


Enterprise Architects   
EXIN Cloud Computing Foundations
  • the principles of Cloud Computing;
  • using the Cloud;
  • security and identity management;
  • implementation and management;
  • and evaluation.


Service Management professionals
CompTIA Cloud Computing Essentials
  • Characteristics of cloud services from a business perspective
  • Business value of cloud computing
  • Technical perspective/cloud types
  • Steps to successful adoption
  • Impact and changes on IT service management
  • Risks and consequences


Managers, Service Management professional,  infrastructure engineers

Closing thoughts:

In my opinion, the educating cloud computing should not be limited to technical audience.  Among these there certification, cloud school has a defined target audience who are architects. The other two providers position their offering at a higher level – bridging between both technical and business managers. However, if a non-technical person goes through the training they will not be comfortable as there is substantial technical component.

There need to be a educational program, that should be targeted only for non-IT audience. It should expose the basic terminology of cloud computing, expose them to the available services in the market place, procurement options, cost evaluation and risks.  I am interested in hearing your views, opinions and any relevant pointers that will be useful to the readers. Thanks!

PS:  Yes, I have passed the CompTIA cloud computing essentials exam 🙂


About Murali Ramakrishnan

Murali is the Managing Director of the boutique consulting firm "Process-Symphony". Process-Symphony specializes in IT enabled business process orchestration. http://www.process-symphony.com.au http://www.kloudax.net.au


2 thoughts on “Cloud computing – vendor neutral certification options

  1. Very good n indepth analysis..thoughtful and definitely distinguished the differences clearly..Thank you Murali

    Posted by Shyam | June 3, 2013, 1:00 am
  2. Thank for posting this information. I was looking for some advise on what certification to for. As of now there are ~40 certifications available , so it becomes very difficult to decide which is the best one to start with. I am also thinking of passing CompTia Cloud Essentials eaxm followed by some vendor specific certification..

    Posted by Umesh | February 18, 2014, 4:00 pm

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