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Is AWS easy to learn if you know Azure?

What happens when an Azure user tries their hand at tasks in AWS? We challenged an Azure super-fan to go to the dark side in an AWS challenge.

Jun 08, 2023 • 6 Minute Read

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What happens when a die-hard Microsoft Azure user goes to the dark side and tries their hand at some AWS tasks? Can an Azure user get by in AWS? Can you wing your way through multi-cloud madness? How far can knowledge of one cloud carry you in another cloud?

To find out, AWS aficionados Scott Pletcher and Mattias Andersson challenged Microsoft MVP and resident Azure fan supreme Lars Klint to work through a scenario he’d never seen in AWS, a cloud platform he knows (almost) nothing about. Here's what happened . . .

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The challenge

To put Lars to the test, we presented him with a novice-level ACG Hands-on Lab on Reducing storage costs with EFS (Elastic File System). While our Hands-on Labs typically guide you through an activity, we cranked up the difficulty and had him try the lab in Challenge Mode. This meant no prompts or direction. Just an Azure kid turned loose in an AWS candy store.

The objective? To create an Elastic File System, mount it, test it, create a directory with copied date, and remove the old data.

During this challenge, Lars had the ability to phone a friend or ask for help from the community in chat if he got stuck.

Was he was up to the challenge? Check out the video below and see for yourself! For an extra challenge, follow along with Lars as you complete the same lab. Be sure to catch the user tips in the chat replay, too!

Why Challenge Mode for Hands-on Labs?

While we did this to Lars for entertainment purposes, Challenge Mode for Hands-on Labs is a powerful tool for learning by doing.

One of the best ways to learn when studying anything — be it cloud, math, or how to speak Na'vi — is to challenge your brain. If you're not being challenged and your brain starts to tune out, you can’t remember, understand, or learn the necessary information. And ultimately you won't gain skills that you can actually apply independently. But, when you actively challenge your brain and get your hands dirty, you engage more with the material and it sticks.

Get an An AWS user’s guide to Azure
Familiar with AWS but looking to take the plunge with Azure? Check out Lars' guide to Azure for AWS users.

Does an Azure background help with learning AWS?

So did Lars’ decade plus of Azure experience make his AWS challenge any easier? Sort of!

The more . . . “creative” naming conventions used by AWS slowed him down. But Lars found that while AWS names were a bit confusing at first glance, his deep knowledge of Azure’s more straightforward naming helped him make accurate guesses about components in AWS. He also found the console structure to be similar between the two, with both featuring left-hand menus.

What helped Lars most in the AWS lab was constantly relating all the new AWS information he was working with to anything similar that he already knew from Azure in order to help himself grasp AWS more quickly. In his own words:

“I’m relating everything I’m seeing in the lab back to something I do know: Azure. So I’m constantly going, “Oh, this is like the thing I already know.” That’s really important when you're learning a new concept and trying to remember it — just relate it back to a different concept that you already know and enjoy."

If you're looking for a decoder ring to the cloud provider naming puzzle, check out Cloud Comparisons, our free video series that helps you learn the naming and structural conventions of each particular cloud.

Learning new cloud skills?

Are looking to level up your cloud skills? Whether you're just beginning your cloud career in 2022 or are climbing up that cloudy ladder to the top-paying jobs in tech, our Hands-on Labs are a great way to pick up skills. And our panel from the Azure challenge offered up a few tips for getting the most out of them.

Hands-on Labs pro tips

Whether it’s your first lab or your 50th, these tried-and-true tips are sure to make your experience smoother.

1. Watch the intro

Always watch the intro video before you start the lab. It will provide you with a handy overview of the lab’s objectives and sequence.

2. Be precise in naming and settings

Follow the naming conventions in the objectives exactly–this will allow ACG internal systems to properly assess and give you credit for your work. When creating new assets, stick to default settings to avoid triggering any policy violations.

3. Try Instant Labs

Labs marked “Instant Lab” are the fastest way to get hands-on since they’re inside pre-created environments with logins to all the dummy accounts you’ll need to complete the lab.

4. If you mess up, just restart

One of the advantages of ACG's sandboxed learning environments is that the accounts you’ll use to complete the labs are all equipped with controls that prevent you from truly messing anything up or finding yourself in an accidental overspend pickle. If you do hit a snag, just restart and take it from the top. You’ll never be at risk of having your own wallet attached to the learning that you’re doing. (Just don’t tell Scott — all the accounts are linked to his!)

5. When in doubt . . .

Scott suggests: "Take out vowels — a Linux tip."

While Lars suggests you "press all the buttons."

6. Don’t be afraid to fail!

Even training architects fail from time to time. Just keep going until you get it right. Missteps can give a fuller understanding of how things work.

Keep up with all things cloud

To keep up with all things cloud, follow ACG on Twitter and Facebook, subscribe to A Cloud Guru on YouTube, and join the conversation on Discord.

Ready to learn by doing? Check out current free courses or start a free trial today.

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