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For my last track, I chose Planning, building and managing a private cloud.

This is organised into three modules: Introducing a private cloud; Planning a private cloud; and Managing a private cloud.

The first module provided a very good overview of what cloud computing is, and more specifically the benefits of building a private cloud. It gave an overview of the different "as-a-service" categories of cloud computing and touched briefly on hybrid and public clouds.

But the message that cloud computing will not cost us our jobs is a bit awkward for me for a couple of reasons.

The first was that the module fell into the all too common trap of reaffirming the current industry line, "If you become really awesome at cloud computing, then you’ll be the guy they don’t fire!"

The second was that I sit in the category of IT professionals who are perhaps most concerned by cloud computing: small and medium enterprise sysadmins. Microsoft’s cloudy vision of the IT universe may preserve the total number of IT jobs across the industry. At the same time the job I currently occupy may become irrelevant. The kind of companies I work for are precisely the kind of companies the industry expects to see turning to the cloud.

Still, technically, Planning a private cloud is a great course. I got a wonderful idea of how to plan a Microsoft private cloud - for a company five times the size of the one I work for (and with eight times the budget). Caveats aside, the information in the planning module was comprehensive and I feel I am entirely up to the task should I ever need to plan such an environment.

The third module is all about Microsoft’s System Center suite of tools. This was a wonderful demo for me, because I don’t get to use these tools often. Sure, I’ve played with some of them, but I simply don’t work for the kinds of places that could afford the full blown suite of MS configuration tools.

That is the real focus of the module; the config tools. They certainly are nice. It’s quite amazing what you can do when you have the budget to do it right, and this module shows you just how far Microsoft’s virtualisation and configuration capabilities have come.

Professional interest in the subject matter aside, my experience with this track was tainted by my concern at the future of IT being intent on eliminating my job. But still, this track left me wanting more.

Trevor Pott is sysadmin based in Edmonton, Canada.

The Register is a media partner of Microsoft Virtual Academy.

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