When looking for a cloud-based solution for your virtual training sessions, you will be presented with a lot of options, but before you can narrow it down, you have an important decision to make:
Should you choose a premium cloud solution or a general cloud service?
Premium vs General
When we talk about 'premium cloud solutions', what exactly are we saying?
This refers directly to a cloud product, software service or solution that can be instantly deployed for use. This ease-of-provisioning enables any enterprise to quickly leverage functionalities and services from the cloud, such as these features and tools needed for a virtual training lab:
- Built-in instructor support capabilities (over the shoulders thumbnail view)
- Built-in student support capabilities (environment refresh stop, chat, etc.)
- Instructor screen sharing
- Flexible training functionality
- Environment customization
Premium cloud solutions generally do not require any pre-installation by the user, and the only real requirement is a stable internet connection and a standard browser.
General cloud services are like what Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure provide -- a cloud skeleton for developers and IT teams to build, deploy and manage programs and applications. Nothing comes preconfigured.
The difference between premium and general cloud solutions is clear, but how can you decide which one is right for you?
When it comes to virtual training purposes, there are four main reasons why premium cloud solutions win, hands-down, over general services:
1. Quick and easy
While general solutions may be able to provide the virtual environment quickly, getting the lab component set up can take a much longer time. Premium cloud solutions, on the other hand, have customizable templates that can get your virtual laboratories operating within minutes without any IT support.
2. Hands-on interaction
Users will be able to engage with your system with hands-on demos that enable them to experience your product in a practical environment. Real-time collaboration and communication tools enable trainers to effectively guide users and answer queries and concerns as they arise.
Even though general cloud services, such AWS and Microsoft Azure, are flexible to a degree, a good deal of training-specific functionality is missing and needs to be added to make them useful for training purposes. If you are trying to set up a virtual laboratory, for instance, class management features and virtual interaction tools need to be integrated before you can derive full benefit.
While general cloud services can provide what you need on demand, premium cloud solutions automate the entire process, set up virtual environments and provide all the functions necessary for training and demonstrations.
4. Taking care of business
Knowing that premium cloud solutions offer you so much flexibility and depth, you can focus more on your business; worry less about setting up and configuring infrastructure, and hone in on delivering solid content and fostering relationships with your customers.
Using premium cloud-based services for virtual training purposes is simply the logical decision.
The next big question is: 'Which premium cloud provider should I choose?'
What to look for
The first test is whether the providers on your short list have these three essential characteristics:
1. SaaS architecture that is 100% cloud-based
2. A solution that is dedicated to virtual training
3. A solution that offers a way to clearly measure ROI
Once you narrow down the options based on these characteristics, there are a few more qualities to look for in a premium solution that would make it effective and worthy of your business.
- It should empower training managers to bring their on-site training environments to the cloud -- in less than 60 seconds.
- It should give training managers immediate access to virtual infrastructure resources including virtualized hardware, servers, networking, storage, pre-installed operating systems, and licenses.
- It should enable trainers to instantly create, provision, replicate and share their training environments with their students.
- It should provide virtualization templates to facilitate rapid deployment of multiple virtual machines and environments. Furthermore, the templates should be customizable, and even better still, have the licensing built right in.
Now that you more clearly understand the differences between premium and general cloud-based solutions and what to look for in a provider, you can more effectively choose which is best for your virtual training platform. Keep these points in mind and do your due diligence, and you will end up with the solution that fits your needs and helps you improve your virtual training efficiencies.